Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Fingerprint Processing

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General FAQs Applicable to All Firms

Q1: Where does my firm get fingerprint cards?
A1: Fingerprint cards are available for purchase. Contact the FINRA Media Source Unit at 240-386-4200.
Q2: How do I complete a fingerprint card?
  1. All fingerprint cards should contain a barcode. If using a barcode sticker, the sticker should be placed in the " Your No: OCA " field on the card. If you need a supply of barcode stickers, contact the FINRA Gateway Call Center at (301) 590-6500 to order a supply. There is no charge for the barcode stickers.
  2. All fingerprints should be taken in black ink.
  3. Always complete the employer's name, address, and Org ID number on every fingerprint card submitted. This is especially important when submitting large batches of fingerprint cards as the cards could get separated during processing.
  4. Review the following data on the card for accuracy:
    • Individual's Name
    • CRD Number (if applicable)
    • Social Security Number (if applicable)
    • Date of Birth
    • Place of Birth
    • Sex
    • Height
    • Weight
    • Hair color (using the three-letter code)
    • Eye color (using the three-letter code)
  5. Write clearly on the card to ensure that the fingerprint card can be processed in a timely manner. Information on the card must be legible or the card will be rejected.
  6. The fingerprint should be signed by the person being fingerprinted AND by the official taking the fingerprints. Do not highlight any information or any portion of the fingerprint card or the FBI will reject the card.
Q3: Where on the fingerprint card does the barcode sticker get placed if a card needs one?
A3: If you need to place a barcode sticker on a fingerprint card, the sticker should only be placed in the area marked "Your No: OCA" in the upper left corner of the card. Barcodes are used by FINRA and the FBI for tracking purposes.
Q4: SEC Rule 17f-2 (Fingerprinting of securities industry personnel) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 requires that a firm may need to submit three sets of fingerprints if results are returned as illegible. Can my firm submit all three sets of fingerprints at once?
A4: No. Firms should submit only one set of fingerprints for an individual at a time and only send a subsequent set of fingerprints if an FBI disposition of ILEG posts to Web CRD since FINRA processes all non-deficient fingerprint cards at the time of submission and fingerprint fees are charged accordingly.
Q5: Which firm personnel are required to be fingerprinted?
A5: Pursuant to Section 17(f)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 17f-2 thereunder, the SEC requires firms to require their partners, directors, officers and employees to be fingerprinted and to have their fingerprints processed, unless they are exempt under those same provisions. Rule 17f-2 exempts employees from fingerprinting who do not:
  • Sell securities;
  • Regularly have access to the keeping, handling, or processing of securities, monies, or the original books and records relating to the securities or monies; or
  • Have direct supervisory responsibility over those who sell securities or have access to securities, monies, or the original books and records.
Q6: What typically prevents a fingerprint transaction from being processed by FINRA?
A6: Typically, a fingerprint transaction cannot be processed by FINRA if mandatory information such as date of birth, address, name, firm name and CRD number, and individual's signature are not provided. Other reasons include using a highlighter or having extraneous writing on a fingerprint card. FINRA will contact firms when possible to confirm missing information in order to process a deficient fingerprint card; however, firms are responsible for submitting fingerprints with all required fields completed. Deficient fingerprint cards that cannot be processed by FINRA will not be returned to firms.
Q7: What are the codes for hair color and eye color?
Hair Color Code
Bald BAL
Black BLK
Blonde or Strawberry BLN
Brown BRO
Gray or Partially Gray GRY
Red or Auburn RED
Sandy SDY
White WHI
Blue BLU
Green GRN
Orange ONG
Pink PNK
Purple PLE
Eye Color Code
Black BLK
Blue BLU
Brown BRO
Gray GRY
Hazel HAZ
Maroon MAR
Multicolored MUL
Pink PNK
Q8: What address is used to mail fingerprint cards?
A8: All fingerprint cards should be mailed to one of the two following addresses, depending on the method used:
First Class Mail should be sent to:
P.O. Box 9495
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-9495

Overnight/Courier Mail should be sent to:
Document Services
9509 Key West Avenue, 3rd Floor
Rockville, MD 20850
NOTE: When sending Overnight/Courier Mail, please include the following phone number: (301) 869-6699.
Q9: How does the firm request an exemption from SEC Rule 17f-2 when an individual cannot be printed due to a physical handicap?
A9: Firms that need to request an exemption from the requirement to submit fingerprints under Rule 17f-2 may submit a request to:
SEC-Division of Trading and Markets
Office of Clearing and Settlement
Mail Stop 70-10
100 F Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20549
Q10: Is an individual exempt from the fingerprinting requirement based on being a foreign national or foreign resident?
A10: No. Rule 17f-2 lists the bases for exemptions (see Answer 5 above).
Q11: How does a firm complete the Social Security Number (SS#) block of a fingerprint card for a Foreign Associate who does not have a SS#? Should the firm indicate that the person is "foreign" on the card?
A11: If there is no SS# (or the individual is in the process of applying for one), the firm should leave the SS# blank. A firm should NOT write "foreign" anywhere on the card. The "Citizenship" block indicates the country designation where the person was born.

FAQ Applicable to Broker-Dealers

Q12: How long do I have to submit fingerprints to FINRA after the filing is submitted?
A12: Fingerprints MUST be received by FINRA within 30 days after a Form U4 is filed in Web CRD. If fingerprints are not received within the 30-day time period, the individual's FINRA registration status will be changed to "Inactive Prints", and the individual will have to cease doing business until such time as the fingerprints are received and an active status is entered into Web CRD.
Q13: How do I retrieve my firm's Fingerprint Reports?
A13: Your firm's Fingerprint Reports can be retrieved in Web CRD by entitled Reports users by accessing Reports and then clicking on the View Reports tab.
Q14: Are fingerprints required for each affiliated firm on a Form U4 filing if the affiliated firms are not part of a Simultaneous Filing Group?
A14: No. Only one set of fingerprints is required for affiliated firms in connection with the Form U4 filing as long as the Forms U4 are filed on the same date.
Q15: Are fingerprints required for each firm on a Form U4 filing, if the filing firms are part of a Simultaneous Filing Group (SFG)?
A15: No. Only one set of fingerprints is required for all SFG firms in connection with the Form U4 filing.
Q16: A firm has Non-Registered Fingerprint individuals (NRFs) who are no longer with the firm. How does the firm terminate these individuals?
A16: The firm should terminate the individuals by submitting an NRF Amendment Filing that includes the Date of Termination.
Q17: My firm is having difficulty getting an associated individual in a foreign country fingerprinted promptly. What does the firm need to do?
A17: FINRA member firms may apply to FINRA for an extension of the 30-day period prescribed in FINRA Rule 1010, within which a firm must submit fingerprints to FINRA after the electronic submission of an Initial or Relicensing Form U4, or a Form U4 amendment to add a jurisdiction or SRO. Pursuant to FINRA Rule 1010, FINRA may, upon application and a showing of good cause, extend the 30-day period within which a firm must submit fingerprints to FINRA. An application for extension should include the name, address and CRD numbers of the firm and individual, and a detailed explanation for the firm's request (e.g., the firm may wish to identify steps that have been taken to attempt to fulfill the fingerprinting requirement). Letters of application may be mailed, faxed, or emailed within the 30 day fingerprint window to:
Legal & Policy
Registration and Disclosure
9509 Key West Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Fax: (240) 386-4752
FINRA will respond in writing to a request. Please note that the above email address was established solely to receive extension requests in the circumstances described above.

FAQ Applicable to Funding Portals

Q18: My firm is applying for FINRA registration. How are fingerprints of associated persons submitted to FINRA?
A18: Funding portals will need to initially submit fingerprints on fingerprint cards until their FINRA Organization ID # (Org ID#) is assigned as part of the FINRA entitlement process. A funding portal will be able to submit fingerprints electronically once its Org ID # is assigned. Fingerprints must be submitted on fingerprint cards that meet FBI requirements. Contact the FINRA Media Source Unit at (240) 386-4200 to purchase fingerprint cards. Fingerprint fees apply and must be paid with fingerprint submissions.
Q19: My firm would like to submit fingerprints electronically. What do I have to do?
A19: Funding portals are able to submit fingerprints to FINRA electronically once an Org ID# is assigned as part of the FINRA Entitlement Process under FINRA's Electronic Fingerprint Submission (EFS) Program.
Q20: Who at my funding portal needs to be fingerprinted?
A20: All associated persons at the funding portal are required to submit fingerprints to FINRA for processing as required by SEA Rule 17f-2.
Q21: What is the Firm CRD number?
A21 Fingerprint cards have a section called Firm CRD number. Enter your firm's Organization ID# (assigned after your firm is entitled to the FINRA Entitlement Program) in this section.
Q22: My firm is a broker-dealer with the intent to be designated as a funding portal. Does the firm need to submit additional fingerprints for our associated individuals?
A22: If fingerprints have already been submitted to FINRA for individuals associated with the broker dealer to comply with SEA 17f-2, no additional fingerprint submissions are required.

FAQ Applicable to Investment Advisers

Q23. Do investment adviser (IA)-only firms submit fingerprint cards to FINRA for processing?
A23: No. IA-only firms submit fingerprints directly to the states. Not every state requires fingerprints for an RA registration and an IA-only firm should contact the relevant state to verify state fingerprint requirements.
Q24. If an IA-only firm submits a fingerprint card to FINRA in error, what happens?
A24: The fingerprint card will not be returned to the firm. The firm will need to re-print the individual and submit the fingerprint card directly to the state with the fingerprint requirement.

1 In this regard, firms may be able to have personnel fingerprinted at the local consulate or through local law enforcement authorities. Alternatively, firms may also designate persons within the firm to roll fingerprints as necessary.

2 See Exchange Act Rel. No. 45385 (Feb. 1, 2002), 67 FR 5862 (Feb. 7, 2002).