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Background Check if you've lived abroad?

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  • Background Check if you've lived abroad?

    Hi guys,

    I lived in the US for the first 18 years of my life (I'm a natural-born citizen), but I went abroad for college. I'll be finishing in a few years and going back to the US to become a police officer. However, I'm worried about the background check. I'm worried that there'll be too little information about me, and that will disqualify me or make my application much more difficult. Off the top of my head, the only things they'd really find out about me is that I haven't got any tickets, I have no criminal record, and I registered for voting and selective service. Would not having credit cards or a significant job history (ie. I only had jobs while I was in high school) in the US be a problem?

    Were any of you in a similar situation? Am I worrying for nothing?
    Last edited by chelovek; 09-04-2008, 06:40 PM.

  • #2
    Having lived abroad is not grounds for DQ. However, it can severely prolong the amount of time it takes to get your background done. I once had an applicant who lived in Morocco for years. Sadly, my agency laughed when I asked for a plane ticket and an an advance on per diem to fly over there and do the background. Back then we sent it over to their Nation Police and had them do it for us.

    Whoever you apply to will probably ask the local police in that country for assistance in doing your background, or seek help from the law enforcement liaison in the nearest US embassy.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      I've been mainly in Canada actually, so that shouldn't be too hard for them to do a check, I'd imagine. At what point would they actually care enough to check your background in a country you've been to? That's to say, I like to travel and have traveled around a fair bit, though the longest trip was around 2 months. Would that be of concern during a background check?

      Thanks

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      • #4
        This is kind of a different situation, but I studied abroad for 7 months in Eastern Europe, and travelled around to 15 different countries while doing so. They were mostly 1-5 day trips, but I still marked them all down on my paperwork for my BPA app. Since then it hasn't been a problem it all. First, I had send in extra paperwork verifying from my University that I did indeed go abroad and got credit (it's a requirement for CBP that you live in the country at least for three years with exceptions). I think what would be helpful is if you keep a list of people that you knew while abroad, and have some contact information handy. They prefer US citizens, so see if you can keep contact with those people as well (even though I provided information of a Serbian national that was able to vouch for where I was living for those 7 months. He spoke perfect english, so it was no big deal). I don't think they ended up contacting any of these people, and the only other time I was asked about was when I spent four days of my traveling in Russia. Other than that everyone I've talked to from IA always has asked "hey you must of really enjoyed Europe!" or something.

        In closing, no biggie. Although this is probably because of my purpose of being there (studying), so it might be different for you. My advice is just to have contact information of people you knew while you were out of country to help vouch for you.
        "Officer, you are kinda hot."

        "And you are kinda intoxicated."

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        • #5
          I lived in Germany for 2 1/2 yrs and never had a problem. i would think that it would be a plus considering that you can adapt to live in a different country with no problems. I applied from out of state and they asked me if I would have a problem moving away from my family. I told them Germany was pretty far away, so If I could drive home in one (long) day, it was close to me. They seemed happy with my response and hired me.
          Work harder! Millions on welfare depend on you...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by chelovek View Post
            I've been mainly in Canada actually, so that shouldn't be too hard for them to do a check, I'd imagine. At what point would they actually care enough to check your background in a country you've been to? That's to say, I like to travel and have traveled around a fair bit, though the longest trip was around 2 months. Would that be of concern during a background check?

            Thanks
            As L-1 noted, residence abroad will slow the Background Investigation down a little. My guess is that if the majority of your out of country residence was in Canada, your investigation wouldn't be slowed too much. The length of time you spent in other countries could have the bearing my colleague noted, and would be handled in the manner he described. What I feel is going to be very important in your situation, is your very accurate reporting of addresses you resided at while abroad. Take the extra time to fill out your PHS as completely as possible. If you don't, your file will sit at the bottom of a Legal Attache's "To -do" box for a long period of time.

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            • #7
              Grew up in Europe and I have been employed by the USGov with high clearance for a long time now. Foreign residency should not be a problem at all. And Canada, well they are our brothers therefore it doesn't even matter...
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