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Getting Your Live Scan Fingerprints

Here are basic Do's and Don’ts you should follow when being fingerprinted via Live Scan.


  • Bring your completed Request for Live Scan form.
  • If your Request for Live Scan form lists any billing numbers, be sure to give it/them to the person taking your appointment.
  • Use your legal name, the name on your ID, on your form and when making your appointment, Bring valid state or federal government issued identification. Gym membership cards, warehouse club cards, library cards, credit cards, etc. – even if they have your picture – are not acceptable forms of ID. High school or college IDs are not acceptable in most states. Some states require two forms of ID.
  • At facilities that accept appointments, make one – even if they take walk-ins.
  • If you are required to pay for your fingerprinting, be sure to bring a form of payment that the facility accepts.
  • Bring a wet-nap or baby wipes. If you don’t see clear, dark prints on the monitor when you’re being printed it probably means your fingers are too dry. If your prints don’t scan clearly they will most likely be rejected. For the average person, a small amount of moisture makes a world of difference.
  • Relax your shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers. If you’re tense it makes it a lot harder for the Fingerprint Technician to get your prints.
  • If you have dry, flaky skin on your fingers: exfoliate.
  • Let the Fingerprint Technician roll your fingers.
  • Smokers should wash their hands before being printed.
  • Be sure your fingers are free of paint, glue, dirt, etc.
  • Although this should be obvious: bathe before you go!
  • Bring an interpreter/translator if you don’t speak English.


  • Go get fingerprinted if you have a cold, the flu, pink eye or anything else that’s contagious. Don’t bring sick people with you either.
  • Press on the Live Scan machine. Let the Fingerprint Technician decide how much pressure is needed.
  • Arch your fingers. Your fingers should lay flat.
  • Move your fingers. Let the Fingerprint Technician roll your fingers.
  • Chomp gum. You’re standing next to another person and that sound is fairly disgusting.
  • Complain the facility doesn’t take the only form of payment you brought if you didn’t check before you got there.
  • Complain you have to wait in line as a walk-in while people that made appointments get printed before you – even when they show up after you.
  • Take off your shoes. Seriously. Don’t.
  • Bring a bunch of kids/friends/family with you. If you must bring a child or children with you, bring one adult with to watch them while you are being printed.
  • Have really curved fake nails.
  • Worry about any hand or finger deformities. Most professional Fingerprint Technicians have seen and printed a vast variety of different fingers.
  • Tell the Fingerprint Technician how to do their job.
  • Bring a check made payable to “Live Scan” as that is the type of service, not the name of the business. You don’t go to the grocery store and write a check payable to “grocery store” do you?


  • Each Live Scan fingerprinting company and Police/Sheriff department have their own rolling fees, on top of what the DOJ and/or FBI fees are. If a facility lists a fee of $20 for printing, that is on top of any other fees.
  • If a facility does not accept the only form of payment you brought, they will not make an exception just for you. Don’t expect them to and don’t pitch a fit when they won’t.
  • Typically, results are ready anywhere from three to thirty days from the day you were printed. Results take longer if you have any arrests or convictions.
  • When the Fingerprint Technician is printing your thumbs, do not curl up the rest of your hand. Keep your hand open.
  • If you have an open wound on your hand or finger, make sure it is fully and properly bandaged.
  • If your fingers are overly sweaty, you will have problems being printed. You might want to bring alcohol swabs or corn starch to help dry your fingertips.
  • Even if your record has been expunged of a conviction, the arrest will still show up.
  • Do not assume that since a certain amount of time has passed since your arrest or conviction that it will no longer show up on your record.
  • If you have an arrest or conviction for anything that falls under violence, abuse or neglect, don’t waste your time trying to get approved to care for or work with children or the elderly.
  • The terms “AKA” and “Alias” mean any other name or names you have ever used legally. This includes maiden names, previous married names, hyphenated names, names you used before you changed names through immigration, nicknames if they have been used on credit cards, bank accounts, etc. This does not include nicknames your friends call you, your significant other calls you, the guys at the bowling alley call you, etc.
  • A credit card number and expiration date, written on a piece of paper is not an acceptable form of payment.
  • If you’ve brought a check for payment and it’s made payable incorrectly, you cannot change it unless you are on the account from which the check was drawn.
  • A receipt from your state DMV or BMV is not an acceptable form of identification – even if it includes a little paper print-out of your picture.
  • If your Request for Live Scan form asks for the county in which you live, it’s not the US/USA as that’s the country.
  • This isn’t TV or the movies. Your fingerprints are not being instantly run against any national or international databases of criminals.
  • If you are an illegal or have a warrant out for your arrest, you probably don’t want to volunteer to be fingerprinted. But don’t let me stop you.
  • The correct way to write your height is, for example, 5’8? for a person that if 5 feet 8 inches tall. This is a basic thing, taught in most, if not all, grade schools. 508 is also acceptable.

Some common Live Scan form abbreviations:

  • DOB = Date of Birth
  • POB = Place of Birth
  • SOC = Social Security Number
  • SSN = Social Security Number
  • AKA = Also Known As
  • ATI = Automated Transaction Identifier
  • OATI = Original Automated Transaction Identifier
  • ORI = Originating Reporting Agency Identifier
  • HT = Height
  • HGT = Height
  • WT = Weight
  • WGT = Weight
  • DL = Driver’s License
  • PP = Passport
  • MAIL CODE = 5 digit code assigned by the DOJ. A Mail Code is specific to the agency which it is assigned. This is not a zip code.
  • Some of the states that use Live Scan:

    Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.