Fingerprint Quality / Rejected Prints

Live-Scan is a great option for fingerprinting individuals with good quality fingerprints. However, if you have worn/fine ridge detail, you will benefit by having your fingerprints taken with black printer’s ink using the in-and-roll method.

Please be aware, PSESD staff strives for quality control in your fingerprinting process, however, we cannot guarantee that your prints will not be rejected due to circumstances beyond the technician's control. NO refunds will be granted once prints are transmitted.

Should we be unable to obtain quality fingerprints, we will send that individual to the WSP Criminal Records Division located at 3000 Pacific Avenue, Olympia, WA 98504, to be printed there. You may have your fingerprints processed manually for $63.75, but you must first pay the background check processing fee to OSPI and obtain an Electronic Applicant Submission Form. Having your fingerprints processed manually ensures the WSP will not reject your fingerprints due to poor print quality.

NOTE: The WSP recommends persons with worn/fine ridge detail be fingerprinted using the ink-and-roll method, with re-tabs as necessary. Printer’s ink is more effective for recording very fine ridge detail than digital fingerprinting.

Fingerprint Quality Factors

Fingerprint quality is determined by many factors, some of which are beyond your control, but others which you can greatly influence before being fingerprinted. Examples of factors you can’t control that affect skin health and dryness include age, medications you’re taking, acute hydrosis or sweating, and genetics. Factors you can control include hydration (drinking water) and the applications of oil-free lotion to your fingertips starting a day or two before your appointment. Surprisingly, the single, most important thing you can do to help with your fingerprint quality is to NOT wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately prior to your fingerprinting appointment! Dryness or excess moisture (sweat) and heat are the biggest challenges to obtaining good fingerprints, so it is always recommended to come to your appointment with cool and dry, but hydrated hands.

How to prepare for fingerprinting if you believe you have poor quality fingerprints:

  1. Drink lots of water starting the day prior to your fingerprinting appointment and minimize caffeine and alcohol.
  2. Apply oil-free moisturizing lotion to your hands a couple of times the day prior to the appointment and again the morning of the appointment; especially each time after you wash your hands.
  3. Do not swim or have your hands in water (especially salt water) prior to the fingerprinting appointment.
  4. Do not wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately prior to your fingerprinting appointment.
  5. Cool your hands before coming in for your fingerprinting appointment, especially on hot humid days.