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Parviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.

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  • Writer's pictureParviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.

Update Your FBI Background Check After a California Expungement

Updated: Jul 12

By Parviz Malakouti-Fitzgerald, Esq.

Believe it or not, sometimes California's not all palm trees and sunsets

If you’ve been convicted of a California misdemeanor and had that conviction expunged (per California PC § 1203.4), we can likely get your FBI background check updated for you.

Unfortunately, getting the update isn’t always simple. 

Article Outline 

At Malakouti Law, we’ve helped many people get their FBI background check updated after a California expungement. In this article, we cover:

  • benefits of the update,

  • how we do it for our clients, and

  • what exactly you get with the updated FBI background check

What Does the FBI Report Show After It's Been Updated?

At Malakouti Law, we see one question often: Can I update my FBI background check after a California expungement? 

Every case must be evaluated individually, but in most cases, the answer is YES, you can get your FBI background check updated. 

Usually, this will not result in the conviction information being removed entirely, but rather you’ll be able to get an important annotation added to your FBI background check that reads: 


This annotation signals that the conviction that you got expunged was dismissed, under the terms discussed in California Penal Code section § 1203.4. 

The line can be very helpful on its own when applying for a foreign residency or citizenship, based on how that foreign jurisdiction treats the dismissal. Oftentimes, updating the FBI report is also combined with other strategies to maximize the chances of getting a foreign mobility asset. 

Related: Book a consultation with Malakouti Law.  

Why People Want to Get the FBI Background Check Updated

Our clients have had us update their FBI background check so they could apply for citizenships by investment, residencies by investment, as well as “regular” visas like the Spanish non-lucrative residency visa. 

The problem that’s often faced is that they have an FBI background check that does not show that they got their California conviction expunged. Even worse, sometimes the FBI background check shows the arrest and charge information, but not the conviction. This is bad because it can leave an impression that the applicant still has a criminal case open. 

People hire us because they want their FBI background check to show complete, accurate information, including the expungement (i.e. the dismissal).

What Convictions Typically Qualify for Expungement 

In order to update your FBI background check to reflect a California expungement, you have to have obtained the said expungement first. 

Note: If you have not expunged your conviction yet, we can also handle the expungement for you. 

The following offenses are relatively common misdemeanors that are typically eligible for rehabilitative expungement 

The above list is not comprehensive. There are many other types of misdemeanor offenses that may qualify for an expungement. 

Our Step by Step Process

When you become our client, here is the step by step process we take the case through after your situation has been evaluated in a consultation with us and you've signed up as a client. 

Step 1: We prepare your application to get a CalDOJ background check including guidance on your fingerprints collection, and submit the application for you to the CalDOJ. 

Step 2: Once we receive your background check from the CalDOJ, we review it, and prepare your challenge packet for submission to the CalDOJ. 

Step 3: We obtain your appropriate signatures, and submit the CalDOJ challenge packet to the CalDOJ. 

Step 4: We respond to any communication or requests from the CalDOJ regarding your challenge, if necessary. 

Step 5: We receive, review, and analyze the final response from the CalDOJ regarding our challenge. 

Step 6: If the CalDOJ has stated they have made the changes we have requested, we guide you (the client) to get another FBI background check, for us to personally verify that the changes have been made to the FBI background check. 

Step 7: If all has gone well, the new updated FBI background check results will have data showing the final disposition of the misdemeanor, as well as an annotation underneath reading: 


Then we congratulate you and either send you on your way, or continue on with your case if you have hired us for additional services.

How Long Does This Whole Updating Process Take?

If you already have appropriate documents related to their expungement and conviction, and are very responsive, the entire process takes about 3-5 months in total. 

If you do not have those documents or you have not gotten your California misdemeanor conviction expunged yet, count on more time being necessary. At Malakouti Law, we can also help you with both of those issues - document collection and expungement of the misdemeanor. 

What You Need to Get Started 

To hire us to get their FBI background check updated, our clients should ideally have: 

  • An order of dismissal (“expungement”) 

  • “Minute Order” or “Final Disposition” or “Minutes of Hearing” from their California misdemeanor

  • Their FBI background check (identity history summary)

As mentioned above, if you are missing these documents, we can help you get them. Understand that these documents will be necessary before we proceed to apply to update your FBI background check.

Request Consultation with Malakouti Law 

To get started right away on seeing what can be done to clean up your FBI background check, click here to request a consultation with Malakouti Law. 

Each immigration and citizenship case is particular and you should consult with a qualified immigration and citizenship lawyer about your case before taking any steps. The Law Office of Parviz Malakouti does not guarantee the accuracy of information presented nor assume responsibility for actions taken in reliance of this information. The information in this page could become outdated. Attorney marketing. 

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