Deployment of Ten-Fingerprint Biometric
Applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the United States are required to submit 10 electronic fingerprint impressions (rather than the 2 fingerprint impressions previously required) along with other application documentation. There is no change in the requirements for categories of applicants who must provide fingerprints at the interview. As before, applicants for diplomatic or official visa cases, applicants under 14 or over 79 years of age, and medical emergency cases are exempt from the requirement.
The electronic fingerprinting process, which is done at the Consulate's Visa section when applicants arrive for their visa interviews, is done digitally; it is a clean, ink-free procedure. The entire fingerprint collection process takes only one or two minutes on average. The additional time required to take ten prints should not significantly change interview wait times.
BACKGROUND: The Homeland Security Council decided on June 7, 2005, that the U.S. government (USG) standard for biometric screening of foreign nationals coming to the U.S. should transition from two fingerprints to ten fingerprints. This will enable the two major USG fingerprint identification systems, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) "IDENT" system and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) "IAFIS" system, to establish interoperability. The transition to ten prints will enable DHS and State to clear visa applicant fingerprints against the FBI IAFIS system, which will allow consular officers to screen out applicants who are ineligible due to criminal history records more efficiently and effectively. The State Department is now moving to worldwide deployment of the ten-print collection process for immigrant and non-immigrant visa applicants.
Last modified: June 25, 2008