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How to collect your fingerprints outside the US?

Updated: Mar 1

When you request Identity History Summary Checks (or Criminal Background Checks) from the FBI, you'll need to submit your fingerprints. For applicants in the US, please check this post.

Collect Your Fingerprints Overseas

If you're currently outside of the U.S., you can submit the request online, but you still need to submit your fingerprints, in either of the two ways below.

Option 1:

You can take the fingerprints yourself by printing out the FD-258 on regular letter-sized paper and using an ink pad to mark the fingerprints. You can make multiple sets of fingerprints to avoid rejections caused by illegible fingerprints. Here are the FBI's detailed instructions on how to collect fingerprints properly.

If fingerprints are not legible, the fingerprint card will be rejected. This could cause delays in processing and could also result in additional fees. Note: The FBI recommends that red or purple ink NOT be used for fingerprinting. You may use black ink.

Option 2:

Please check whether or not the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country can collect the fingerprints, and whether or not their websites mention some local authorities could provide professional fingerprinting services. If neither is available, please refer to Option 1.

For example, the US consulates in Spain and Portugal list several places for applicants there to have their fingerprints taken. The US consulate in Ecuador suggests applicant request the service at a local enforcement agency.

Apostille or Authenticate Your FBI Background Check

If the FBI Background Check is used overseas, you'll need to obtain an apostille or authentication certificate for your document.

An "Apostille" is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. If the country of intended use does not participate in the Hague Convention, documents being sent to that country can obtain a Certificate of "Authentication".

An Apostille is a simplified form of Authentication and usually needs only one competent authority to be involved. Yet Authentication may go through a multi-step process to get the certificate from those foreign embassies or consulates in the US.

If the destination country is a Hague Apostille country/region (such as Germany, Spain, France, etc.):

  • Get an Apostille from the U.S. Department of State. No further certification is needed.

If the destination country is NOT a Hague Apostille country/region :

  • Get an Authentication from the U.S. Department of State.

  • Get a Legalization from the Embassy.

Simply place an order based on your situation and email us your electronic FBI Background Check (PDF version). We will contact the right people and departments to complete the process.

The apostille and authentication process can be complicated. If you don't want to spend a lot of time and energy getting into it, your best bet is to let a professional do it for you. Once we receive your order and document, it'll be processed as soon as possible.

Besides FBI Background Checks, we also provide apostille, authentication, and embassy legalization services for other personal documents and corporate documents issued in 50 states and DC.

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American Notary Service Center Inc. provides fair, fast, confidential, and professional document notarization and certification services for our clients. We also provide various assistance services to small businesses led by socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Our service helps small businesses obtain federal government contracts, gain a foothold in the market, and boost their sales. For more information, please visit our website at, and contact us by calling 202-599-0777 or by email at


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