Due to a new computer system, the FBI is processing clearance requests at a very slow pace and has suspended processing of all nongovernmental fingerprint requests until further notice.

Applicants should plan for lengthy delays and an ensuing backlog in the coming months. The FBI has said that the current wait time is approximately 12 weeks, an increase from the normal processing times of four to six weeks. The FBI has not said when it will resume civilian fingerprint requests. Currently, requests submitted via FBI-approved channelers are still being processed as usual. Channelers who are approved by the FBI may submit clearance requests on behalf of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents only. Individuals in nonimmigrant visa categories will not be able to use channelers and will have to endure the delays.

The disruption in service stems from the installation of a new computer system at the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Service division Sept. 7. The slowdown is affecting requests pending as of that date and possibly earlier. The FBI is asking that applicants refrain from calling to check on the status of their clearance requests until 12 weeks have elapsed.

BAL Analysis: Applicants should plan for the delays and expect a backlog to develop following resumption of services. Applicants considering using channelers should be aware that it is up to the discretion of immigration authorities or consular officers whether to accept channeler-issued FBI clearance certificates for particular immigration processes.

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