Spain Student Visa Step .5 and 1: Fingerprinting and a Background Check

As I announced, I have been accepted to the Spanish Auxiliares de Conversación program to teach English in Madrid.

To legally stay to Spain, I have to apply for a student visa before leaving for Spain. The visa requirements vary by consulate, mine being the one in Los Angeles. To get the visa, one needs the items listed on this page. As you can see, the consulate asks for a background check, which is usually issued by your home state.

One problem: my state (Arizona) does not issue background checks for these purposes. Oh no!! The alternative is to get an FBI Background Check but those take 13-15 weeks to process + extra time for the Apostille certification. Yikes!

So what’s the alternative? An official FBI channeler, which costs a little more but takes MUCH less time. I am going through Because I was a little hasty in April, I requested a background check early. Unfortunately, it will expire before my visa appointment, but the silver lining is now I know exactly how to acquire the background check.

So that my new background check is good for as long as I should need it, I am going this week to get my fingerprints and send off my next background check request. Because of Arizona’s non-issuance of background checks, it is difficult to find a place that will fingerprint you for these purposes. This website lists the 2 places in Phoenix that supposedly do the system. My first try I tried the Phoenix Police on Grant Street but they were closed because it was Cesar Chavez Day. I found the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department downtown and went there instead. Because I know that this worked last time, I will return there this week to get fingerprinted for my second background check.

The takeaway:

For Arizona Auxiliares (especially located in Phoenix):

  • Get fingerprinted at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department (take $8 cash).
  • Fill out’s order form and mailing checklist and get a money order for your order amount/fill out the credit card authorization. You can pay extra for faster shipping but my first check came back about a week after sending without any requested rush.
  • Put your fingerprint card, order form, mailing checklist and money order/credit card authorization into a flat envelope (so that your fingerprint card is not folded) and mail it to the designated address on the order form.


  1. I also used and they got my background check to me faster than I could have imagined. I also decided to go through a 3rd party for the apostille and I received that back in less than two weeks. I think the channeler is a good way to go if you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.I think the hardest part is just having to sort through all the information that’s given on how to go about doing it.


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