How Background Checks Make the USCIS Interview Room a Nerve-Raking Place

The woman in Edvard Munch’s “Ashes” knows distress.

You probably already know that the FBI does background checks on applications and petitions filed with USCIS. But, you may not know all or even some of the other checks performed by USCIS–though your application or petition may get to know them.

We won’t look at every background check here; let’s look at a few.

Petitions may be checked against a USCIS fraudulent petition index in which a record is kept of prior petitions filed in which some element of fraud was involved.

And petitions may be checked against files already in existence for the petitioner and/or beneficiary to determine whether the information in the petition is consistent with previous statements made by either party.

Keep in mind that inconsistencies may serve as the basis for a further investigation into the facts. Any issues raised by these database checks will likely be called to the attention of the local USCIS office, where interviews occur. You may reasonably expect inconsistencies to play a role in how the interview will unfold.

What other checks? USCIS employees do check the names of foreign nationals seeking immigration benefits against the Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS). IBIS is a database of lookout information. IBIS includes data from NCIC (the FBI criminal computer record), the Treasury Enforcement Control System record of customs violators, the State Department’s Automated Visa Look-Out System, and the Customs and Border Protection Bureau’s Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Lookout System (a system which has the acronym of “NAILS”).

Are those all of the checks? No.