Why do I have to get fingerprinted again?

January 7th, 2017 by ArizonaLivescan

“I just did this for my CCW”…..We hear this question often! Fingerprint identification is based on two premises: persistence and individuality. Persistence is that basic characteristics of fingerprints
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Fingerprint identification is based on two premises: persistence and individuality. Persistence is that basic characteristics of fingerprints do not change over time. And again, we hear customers ask, “I got my fingerprints taken two years ago. Why do I have to do it again. They don’t change, right?” That is correct, the fingerprints do not change; however, quality prints do become more difficult to capture as people age and their fingerprints become worn. Now, the reason you have to get fingerprinted again has nothing to do with science but everything to do with process, procedure and the law.

In most cases fingerprints of non-criminals are not stored in some master database for any government agency to access. This does not apply to the military, but even so a state agency running a fingerprint-based criminal background check in order to issue a license for the AZ Board of Nursing is not going to have access to get your fingerprints from the U.S. Air Force where you were fingerprinted 6 years ago (nor do they have the right to do that–there’s a law that protects your privacy).

In most cases, when you are fingerprinted it is to compare your prints to fingerprints within AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Information System). After you are fingerprinted in our office your fingerprints are submitted to a state agency (either your licensing department like the AZ Board of Nursing or the AZ Board of Technical Registration) and then onto the AZ Department of Public Safety where your fingerprints are processed (either through the Fingerprint Clearance Card Team or Applicant Services). If they pass a state check then, in most cases, they are sent to the FBI where they are run through AFIS. If they do not pass a state check the process can end right there because the crime committed excludes you from the licensing. In most cases, no criminal history is found and the information travels back from the FBI to the originating agency (For example, AZ BON or AZ BTR). Eventually your license is approved.

That leads us to renewals. In some cases state legislation calls for annual or biannual renewals where fingerprint background checks are required each time. Hence, you are asking, “Why don’t they just use the fingerprints we sent them two years ago?” The right answer is…well, there can be many different answers depending on which state department (AZ BON, BTR, DHS, DOI, etc.) or process (nursing license, alarm agents, medical marijuana, insurance agents, etc.) you are following.

I hope this post shines some light on the topic and helps you to understand just why you have to get fingerprinted again! Remember to think of us as your fingerprinting experts and a resource when it comes to meeting your fingerprinting requirements!

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