Posted on: October 13, 2023 Posted by: Prosolventtrap Comments: 0


When applying for certain permits or licenses, such as firearm registration, you may be required to provide your fingerprints. The FD-258 card, issued by the FBI, is a standard form for this purpose. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to correctly roll your fingerprints at home.

The FD-258 card

1. Preparing Your Materials

a. FD-258 Fingerprinting Cards:

FD-258 Fingerprint Card
  • Obtain these cards from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). They are usually provided for free.
  • Ensure the card has the correct ORI (Originating Agency Identifier) address for the processing center.

b. Ink:

  • Opt for inkless fingerprinting ink. It’s cleaner and easier to manage.
  • For instance, the Lee Inkless Fingerprint Pad is a popular choice.
the Lee Inkless Fingerprint Pad

c. Fingerprint Cardholder (Optional):

  • This tool can stabilize the card during the fingerprinting process, preventing smudges.

2. Filling Out the FD-258 Card

Filling Out the FD-258 Card
  • Complete the personal information section before taking your prints to avoid smudging.
  • Fields marked with a red ‘X’ should be left blank.
  • Ensure details like your full name, date of birth, and address are accurately filled in.
  • For the ORI field, if you’ve sourced your card from the ATF, it should be pre-printed. If not, manually enter the ORI address.
Filling Out the FD-258 Card

3. Rolling Your Fingerprints

a. Preparation:

  • Clean your hands and ensure they are free of any lotions or oils.
  • As an example, imagine you’re stamping a seal on an important document; you’d want a clear and smudge-free impression.

b. Technique:

  • Start with your right thumb, progressing to your pinky, then repeat for the left hand.
  • Gently roll your finger across the ink pad just once, making sure to cover all the ridges and valleys in your fingerprint with ink.
  • Test the print on a scrap piece of paper. Adjust the pressure if needed.
  • Roll your finger on the designated box on the FD-258 card. Ensure the movement is smooth from one side of the nail to the other.
Rolling Your Fingerprints
Rolling Your Fingerprints

c. Spot Prints:

  • These are straightforward imprints without rolling. Simply press your fingers on the designated areas.

4. Post-Fingerprinting Steps

  • Clean your fingers thoroughly after each print to prevent unintended smudges.
  • If you’re applying for a permit that requires multiple trustees, ensure each trustee provides their fingerprints on separate cards.
  • Always prepare multiple cards in case of errors.

5. Mailing Your Fingerprints

  • Once your application reaches the processing status, you’ll receive a cover letter with a unique control number.
  • Mail the completed FD-258 cards, along with the cover letter, to the address provided.
  • It’s advisable to use a padded envelope to prevent any damage to the cards.
Mailing Your Fingerprints and FD-258 card


  • Can I get my prints taken at the local police station?
    • Indeed, numerous local police departments offer fingerprinting services. They sometimes even create digital prints that can be printed on several FD-258 cards for future needs.
  • What if my prints get rejected?
    • The ATF will notify you. You’ll need to resubmit a new set of prints.
  • Do I need to provide new prints for every application?
    • Yes, every application requires a fresh set of fingerprints.


Fingerprinting might seem daunting, but with the right tools and technique, it’s a straightforward process. Whether you’re applying for a firearm permit, a job that requires background checks, or any other purpose, ensuring clear and accurate fingerprints is crucial. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to try a few times before finalizing your prints.

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