Background and Fingerprint Checks for VAWA Applications in Maryland

A background check is necessary when submitting a VAWA application because one of the requirements to prove a VAWA case is that the applicant has to show that they are a person of good moral character.

In addition to providing background checks,the applicants will have to take fingerprints once the application is received by USCIS. The USCIS will issue a fingerprint notice and that will be another FBI based background check that will be done and this will also include a check of their immigration record.

Forms to be Completed

The forms to be completed to get a background check vary depending on which jurisdiction they are applying in. Basically, a person needs to check with the police department in the areas that they have lived in the past three years and ask them what needs to be done in order to do a criminal background check.There’s a different process in every state.

The USCIS provides guidance for this with a list of certified background check organizations throughout the country, but you need to check with the individual jurisdiction in which you’ve lived.

Entity Conducting Checks

The government background check is basically an FBI background check, but it’s completed by the police department in the area in the applicant lived.

Sometimes there can be a third party entity involved like in Maryland. There are different fingerprinting services that are independently licensed by the State of Maryland to take the fingerprints and then the applicant will send it into the background check department in Maryland and they will process the fingerprints. So it depends on the area in which the individual is applying.

For the USCIS fingerprints, a person will receive a notice which states the exact place and time that they’re supposed to go. It will be in the ASC Service Center which is a division of the USCIS and it’s a very simple process. The individual will need some sort of government issued identification and their original fingerprint notice which has a barcode on it and then they will take the fingerprints in order to continue the adjudication process.


In order to meet this requirement, the applicant needs to submit police clearance reports from every jurisdiction that they have lived in for six months or longer during the past three years.

It is just an initial threshold requirement but can also supplement the good moral character evidence with character reference letters, such as people who can attest to the fact that an individual is a good person and deserving of a favorable exercise of discretion.