Fingerprinting for FBI Identity History Summary Request in Germany
FBI Background Check, FD-258, fingerprints, fingerprinting, Fingerabdrücke Deutschland
As an American living in Germany, I once needed to apply for an FBI Identity History Summary Request (background check) from abroad.
In the US, it is not at all difficult to get fingerprinted, but in Germany it is nearly impossible (I did my best to put possible search terms in the headers).
According to my local police department, it is illegal for the police to take your fingerprints if you are not being arrested. Further, the US consulates and embassies do not provide the service for FBI background checks.
I cannot confirm the following information and I bear no responsibility for errors. I am simply recording my findings here in hopes that the next unlucky expat may be saved some hours or days of stress. With that said, here is what I have found:
- In Germany, check your city's Ausländeramt: some of the big cities, like Köln or Berlin can do it, but you have to live there.
- Especially around Frankfurt, check a flight school since US background checks are routinely required. FTA FLUGTRAINING ASCHAFFENBURG GMBH can offer appointments on a near-daily basis in Messel, south of Frankfurt, for 98€.
- Private detectives are a possibility in Germany (and the Netherlands), but you will have to find one nearby and call to confirm. I contacted one and was quoted 300€. Also for the same price point, Fingerprints Today Germany can provide FBI livescan fingerprinting in Berlin and is one of several branches of the parent firm based in London. They may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 203 940 5830.
- If living near the border or in the Netherlands, accredited private detectives should be acceptable (per the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands).
Van Kappel Security BV is located near Amsterdam (Hellingstraat 22, Huizen (NH)). For 95 € they provide two fingerprint cards (FD-258) and the guarantee that they will be submitted to an approved quality check combined with a written and signed statement that your identity was confirmed by means of a valid passport. This will take less than one hour.
- For those in Belgium or near Brussels, Fingerprints Brussels offers to schedule appointments at mutually agreeable times and locations within Brussels. For 90€, two FD-258 cards will be fingerprinted with the promise to redo the prints free of charge if they prove to be unacceptable. They also offer to arrange appointments outside of Brussels for an additional fee. Direct contact is available via email at email@example.com
- If in or near Paris, Fingerprints Paris is scheduling appointments (again) as of December 2020. A second option that I could not verify (since they had closed down during the pandemic) is Fingerprints Today Paris (affiliated with Fingerprints Today Germany, above).
- Lastly, I called the FBI and they suggested that in the worst case one may do them at home by printing out the FD-258 fingerprint form (preferably on heavy paper) and making the rolled and plain impressions following the guidance on Recording Legible Fingerprints.
Information researched and updated November 2020.