Fingerprints are required for almost all visa applicants for a U.S. visa. Fingerprints are not required for children under 14 years of age, adults over 79 years of age, and A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, C-3, and NATO visa applicants. If you have a diplomatic or official passport but apply for other types of visas, you will be fingerprinted.
Electronic fingerprints will be collected for all 10 fingers from most visa applicants. At the time of the visa interview or before that, depending upon the consulate you go to, applicants will be asked to electronically scan all 5 fingers on each hand. Applicants who are required to be fingerprinted and have a cut, blister, or other temporary skin injury on any of their fingers may not be issued a visa until their finger heals in order to be properly fingerprinted. If a person lacks any of their fingers, prints from existing fingers will be taken. You must have clean hands for fingerprinting. The scanned fingerprint data collected at the time of visa application will be compared with fingerprint scans at the U.S. port of entry to prevent the use of U.S. visas by imposters and by those wanted for more serious offenses.
This is a worldwide program and is not targeted at any country or region. All United States visa-issuing posts collect fingerprint data, complementing the OBIM program in which nearly all visitors to the United States, including those from countries eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), have their fingerprints and photograph taken at the airport upon arrival to the U.S.
To avoid delays, visa applicants can take these steps:
- Plan ahead. If you need to travel during the summer, don’t wait until the last minute to apply for an appointment. Make your appointment right away.
- If you are not planning to travel until the end of summer, please wait until later to book your appointment. Consular officials anticipate that the wait for an appointment will be reduced once the summer rush is over.
- Have your travel plans organized. On the application form and at the interview, applicants must provide details on when and where they will be traveling and where they will be staying. Complete all application forms fully.
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