Have you ever failed a background check because of your eczema?
I have FOUR times!
It’s something I never even considered would be an issue but it definitely happened to me.
My eczema has always been the worst on my hands. It is rare for me not to have at least a few cracks on my hands, and during the winter sometimes the cracks are in so many places, it can be painful to do simple tasks like typing, opening cabinets, etc. Thanks to all these cracks, my hands are scarred and wrinkled including on my finger prints.
For one of my first jobs I was finger printed for a background check. They couldn’t read my finger prints so they used another method to check to make sure I was safe to work. I didn’t think much of that until a few years later.
I lived in Australia for several years and had the opportunity to apply for permanent residency to be able to stay there longer. Part of the application was a background check in my home country – they wanted to make sure I was safe to live there.
Unfortunately for me that was the most complicated, drawn out part of the permanent residency process and all because of my eczema.
In order to get a background check in the US, I had to go to an Australian police station, have them dig out their ink out of a drawer since it wasn’t something they used there anymore, and complete my finger prints so I could send them to the FBI in the US.
The first background check came back 3+ months later saying it failed because there were not enough points on my finger prints that they could verify, so I had to do it again. The second time took another 3 months to get another failed result. Unfortunately for me Australian immigration made me submit the check 3 times before they would give me another option, so needless to say my third round of finger prints did not pass either.
Eventually I had to get proof from each US state I lived in previously that I wasn’t a criminal…and I had to do it all while living in Australia.
Overall my permanent residency application was delayed a year longer than it should have been all because of my eczema scars.
To say I was frustrated and disappointed by my eczema and my skin during that time period was an understatement. So much was on the line for me – being able to live in the country that I had learned to call home, being able to stay with my friends, and keeping my job that I enjoyed – and yet it was my eczema that delayed the whole process.
Every time I got the letter that said my background check had failed made me hate my skin even more.
Eventually I did get permanent residency and then went on to become an Australian citizen, and I was able to appreciate that so much more for how long it took to get there.
And this past summer I finally passed a finger print background check!
I was really hesitant to apply for a TSA pre-check because I wasn’t sure I would pass, but I gave it a go. They now use a digital scan option, which works so much better for hands like mine. It did take a few tries and they had to spray my fingers with water several times but eventually it worked. If I had to do it again, I would put on a lot of moisturizer on my fingers beforehand too.
Life with eczema has taught me to be resilient, and I relied on that resilience to get me through that year of uncertainty.
I hope whatever eczema challenges come your way you are able to overcome them too! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
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