Faded Fingerprints

My dependent parent is above 80 years. The finger prints have got faded because of age. The finger prints do not get captured in biometrics.
Has anyone faced this issue. Does SEF have an alternative or give an exception in such cases.

Any guidance would be appreciated.

1 Like

You may want to see this post dealing with light fingerprints: GV spouse document requirements - #37 by Lourenco

1 Like

I was concerned about my too smooth finger tips, so I googled and googled some more for tips. Here is what I found. It worked for me.

Download and print the official FBI fingerprint form FD-258. Use white matte cardstock of the type used for business cards.

Plump up the volumn of your finger ridges with hand lotion. Most effective are those where the second ingerdient is glycerin (1st is always water). Corn Huskers Lotion is inexpensive and easy to find. For # of days before being printed, apply # of times a day. I saw rapid results from about a week of 2 a day applications, with the second done before going to bed. YMMV. Some suggest on the night before being printed, apply lotion liberally then wear gloves while sleeping.

In law enforcement and other situations they don’t have time to wait for your finger ridges to plump up. They use chemical ridge enhancers such as Ridge Builder Lotion and I.D. Enhancer Spray. I brought some to my fingerprinting session. Didn’t needed it, but I’d rather have it and not need it than the other way around. Shop online:


I have had this same problem with my mother. Her fingerprints are not legible. The FBI customer service told me I should go back to SEF and ask them what to do in this case. SEF offices were closed. I will ask SEF what to do when I have my biometrics meeting. I’m afraid I have had no joy solving this problem and my lawyers have not been able to help.

1 Like

Dan, thank you for posting this! My prints have been rejected three times by the FBI (2 were submitted digitally via LiveScan. The third set I had done at my local police station and it was also digital. The fingerprint technician there said my ridges are shallow). So I came on here to see if anyone in this forum has had similar trouble.

I will try your method with lotion and would love to know if you were printed digitally or with ink?

This is for the FBI background check I need to submit when I do biometrics at the SEF. (Lord knows how they will capture my prints…)


1 Like

You’re welcome.

With ink. If the digital method was available in my country of residence (Thailand) I was unable to find anything about it.

1 Like

Try Accurate Biometrics. (https://accuratebiometrics.com/nationwide/services/fbi-personal-background) They will have you go to a local UPS store for digital fingerprinting. The fingerprints will be reviewed on site by the technician prior to transmittal so you will know whether they were good.

Thank you. I am trying now to purchase the ridge builder lotion but the company says they will only sell to law enforcement agencies. Hoping to get a customer service rep to take pity on me.

Thank you for that suggestion! I’ve used Accurate Biometrics already and my prints (taken with Live Scan) have been rejected twice. I have been to two different UPS store locations. Unfortunately neither location had a particularly helpful technician. If anyone knows of a good place in the Virginia or Washington DC area, please let me know. My current plan is to moisturize my fingers and try again in a week or so. Accurate Biometrics is at least very easy to work with and fast. My fingerprints… not so easy. :slightly_frowning_face: --Carolyn

Can you not do the digital fingerprints at USPS? Feedback from both USPS and the fbi should be nearly instant

Yeah I haven’t tried the USPS yet because my local branches do not offer it. I’ll have to travel a couple of hours to try it, but that’s a thought. The feedback from Accurate Biometrics/UPS Store is pretty quick, too. The frustrating thing is that I’ll have mostly green lights on my prints (after MUCH trial and error) and then still get the rejection from the FBI. Thanks for your suggestions!

Do you get fbi responses within a few minutes? That’s what you can expect with USPS.

More like a couple of hours with Accurate Biometrics. Do you mind telling me which USPS branch you used? I’ve been calling branches in the DC/Northern VA area to inquire about making appointments and no one is answering their phones.

What I’m wondering is… if you get a fail within seconds, would the technicians at USPS let me try again?

We’ve used both USPS offices in the Buffalo area and Philly area, both were very quick to get a response from the FBI. I have no idea if they’d let you try again - I suspect no, and calling the USPS workers that do it “technicians” may be going a bit far

I was surprised they shipped my order to me because the address is a mailbox/mail forwarding company and I have no connection to law enforcement. Good luck with the rep.