NOTE: We are pleased to report that the Washington County Sheriffs Department will once again provide fingerprint services starting on August 17, 2023. Please call in advance to schedule an appointment and obtain directions to their new temporary location.
Identification Centers are specially designated law enforcement agencies whose staff have received special training for fingerprinting applicants. There is at least one Identification Center in each county. In order to obtain high quality prints on your first visit, it is strongly recommended that applicants go to an Identification Center for fingerprinting. Please note, other law enforcement agencies within your community may also be available to process applicant fingerprints, contact them directly with any questions.
What to Expect at The Identification Centers
- You may choose to go to any Identification Center.
- You should call the Identification Center for an appointment, if required. At many times during the year Centers are very busy. Be sure to call ahead for your appointment so you will not be disappointed. If you are unable to keep an appointment, please call the identification center to cancel your appointment.
- The Identification Center is first and foremost a law enforcement agency. Emergencies can sometimes delay your appointment. Bring some reading material, just in case.
- Leave Children and Infants at Home. The Identification Centers Do Not Have the Staff to Supervise Your Children While You Are Being Fingerprinted. You Will Be Refused Service If You Arrive for Your Appointment with Children or Infants.
- When you arrive at the Identification Center you will be required to show at least two pieces of identification - one of which must be a current government issued photo ID. There is no exception to the photo ID requirement.
- In order to transfer the ridges on your fingers to the fingerprint card, the technician will roll your fingers in ink and then roll them on a card. If necessary, you will be provided with a special cleaner to remove the ink from your hands before you leave. Some Identification Centers are equipped with electronic fingerprint scanning equipment which negates the need for inking the fingers.
- If you have any open cuts or wounds on your fingers the Center will not be able to fingerprint you due to the chance of infection from contact with the ink or equipment.
- Getting a set of fingerprints of sufficient quality for the FBI to process can be difficult. The ridges from all ten fingers must be recorded clearly. Additional sets of fingerprints may have to be taken if the technician is having trouble getting a clear set of your prints. If the ridges on your hands are badly damaged the technician may be unable to take a suitable set of prints during your visit. The technician may direct you to return in two weeks after following a treatment program designed to build up the ridge detail on your fingers.
- There is a fee of up to $35 which is payable at the time of service. When you make your appointment you should inquire whether the Center accepts checks, cash or both. There is no additional fee if more than one set of fingerprints must be taken in order to get a set of sufficient quality to send to the FBI.
- Promptly take the completed fingerprint card to the agency that is conducting your background check. Do not fold, staple, or spindle the card. Protect the card from moisture and dirt by placing it in a suitably sized manilla envelope. If your fingerprints were taken electronically they will automatically be transferred to the Vermont Crime Information Center for processing to the FBI. Instead of a fingerprint card you will be given a receipt which you should take back to the agency that is conducting your background check.
Acceptable Forms of Identification for Applicant Fingerprinting
In order to ensure the integrity of the background check program it is essential that applicants be correctly identified as part of the process. Applicants are required to show two forms of valid identification according to the lists below as a prerequisite for fingerprinting at an Identification Center. Staff at the Identification Center will verify the identity of the applicant by evaluating the forms of identification provided by the applicant. The Identification Center will refuse to fingerprint applicants if there is any question as to the true identity of the applicant.
Identification Form Lists
Applicants must show two forms of valid identification in either of the following combinations:
- Two forms of identification from the Primary List.
- One form of identification from the Primary List and one form of identification from the Secondary List.
Note: Two forms of identification from the Secondary List are NOT acceptable.
- Valid Driver’s license issued by a state or possession of the United States, provided it contains a photograph and other identification information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color or address.
- Valid Non-Driver ID license issued by a state or possession of the United States, provided it contains a photograph and other identification information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, or address.
- Valid government ID card or Passport issued by a municipality, county, state, or possession of the United States including the federal government of the United States and the federal government of Canada, provided it contains a photograph and other identification information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, or address.
- Valid credit card with signature
- Valid Student ID issued by a school located in a state or possession of the United States provided it bears the name and signature of the applicant.
- Check Cashing Card with signature
- Valid document or card which contains the applicant’s name and signature and is satisfactory to Identification Center staff.
Acceptance of Applicant Fingerprints at The Vermont Criminal Information Center (VCIC)
- VCIC will only accept applicant fingerprint cards that were taken by Vermont criminal justice personnel who have been certified to take fingerprints by the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council, and who have been subject to a national fingerprint supported criminal record check through VCIC.
- The official taking the fingerprints must be doing so under the auspices of a criminal justice agency and as part of his or her regularly assigned duties as an employee of that agency.
- The only exception to this policy will be those civilians that were trained by VCIC to take fingerprints prior to the creation of the Fingerprint Identification Centers.
- If an applicant must be fingerprinted out of state, the prints must be done by a law enforcement agency. The fingerprint card must be the Federal Applicant (FD-258) fingerprint card, and should have that agency's ORI stamp in the ORI block. If the ORI block is blank, the agency providing the fingerprinting service MUST include ORI and address information on the back of the fingerprint card for verification purposes.
Tips for Good Prints
- Examine your fingers prior to making an appointment with the Identification Center. If they are badly chapped, cracked, dry, lacerated, or injured it will be difficult to obtain an acceptable set of fingerprints. Fingers where the ridges have been worn away due to extensive contact with rough materials, water, chemicals or paper are also difficult to print. If any of these conditions describe your fingers, you should apply hand cream several times a day to your skin for a week to ten days prior to your appointment. It may be necessary to wear gloves during the day to protect your hands prior to your visit. These strategies will build the ridges on your fingers and increase the probability that a quality set of prints will be taken during your first visit.
- Cut your fingernails. Long nails (real or artificial) make it difficult for the technician to control your fingers during the rolling. When fingers slip on the card they smudge the fingerprint rendering the image useless.
- Be relaxed. If you are tense, it will be difficult for the technician to roll your fingers smoothly across the fingerprint card.
- Don't try to help the technician. Let the technician guide your fingers. Do not try to press down on the card.
It is everyone's goal to obtain high quality prints during your first visit. However, in some cases, despite the best efforts of the staff at the Identification Center, your fingerprints may be rejected by the Vermont Crime Information Center or the FBI because the fingerprint images are not of sufficient quality to process. Rejected fingerprints occur less than 10% of the time when taken by an Identification Center. If this happens to you, your fingerprints will be returned and you will need to return to the Identification Center for reprinting. There is no charge for reprinting provided that you return to the same Center that took your fingerprints initially. Reprinting will delay your application process so it is important to follow the suggestions in the Tips section to increase the probability that a good set of prints can be taken on your first visit.
If you have further questions about the fingerprinting process, please contact your local Identification Center. Questions regarding the record check process or the status of your application should be addressed to the agency who is conducting your background check.