Fingerprinting for Adoptions / Fingerprinting for Adoptions

Fingerprinting in the Adoption Process

Below we have provided fingerprinting information as well as Application Support Centers to make getting your clearance process faster and easier.

Fingerprinting for Domestic and International Adoption

Criminal record clearance through fingerprinting is required for every international adoption and in many domestic adoptions.  As regards international adoption, immigration regulations require that prospective adoptive parents and all additional adult (18 years of age or older) members of the prospective adoptive parents' household provide fingerprints to USCIS for completion of FBI background checks

Fingerprinting Services Provided by USCIS to Applicants

USCIS requires applicants and petitioners for certain immigration benefits to be fingerprinted for the purpose of conducting FBI criminal background checks. To better ensure both the quality and integrity of the process, USCIS processes fingerprint cards for immigration benefits only if an authorized fingerprint site prepares them. Authorized fingerprint sites include USCIS offices, Application Support Centers (ASC's), and U.S. consular offices and military installations abroad. In general, USCIS schedules people to be fingerprinted at an authorized fingerprint site after an application or petition is filed. Please check the instructions on your Immigration application or petition form to find out if you must be fingerprinted.

To make fingerprinting more convenient the USCIS has opened many freestanding fingerprint sites. USCIS now employs a system where fingerprints are taken and submitted electronically to the FBI. By using electronic fingerprint technology, USCIS has significantly reduced processing times for criminal background checks.

For more information about those immigration benefits that require fingerprinting and fingerprint procedures, please see below:

Fingerprint Instructions for All Immigration Benefits Applicants

Special Instructions for Form I-600 "Immigrant Petition for Orphan (Adoption)" and Form I-600A "Advance Processing; Immigrant Petition for Orphan (Adoption)"

Special Instructions for Form I-817 "Application for Family Unity Benefits under the Family Unity Program" or Form I-821 "Application for Temporary Protected Status"

Application Support Centers (ASCs): Here you can find information on the ASC nearest to you, its hours, and directions on how to get there.


  • FBI fingerprint checks are valid for fifteen (15) months.

  • An approved Form I-600 or I-800 is valid for eighteen (18) months. During those eighteen months, a Form I-600 or I-800 must be filed. A Form I-600 or I-800 may not be approved without current FBI fingerprint records for the prospective adoptive parent(s) and all adult members of the prospective adoptive parents' household. It may be necessary to provide fingerprints more than once in order to comply with Immigration regulations.

  • Fingerprinting Procedures in Adoption Applications on or after March 29, 1998, must comply with the following instructions:

  • Submit $70 for each prospective adoptive parent and for each adult member (18 years of age or older) of the household in addition to the orphan petition or advance processing application filing fee. For example, married prospective adoptive parents with two additional adult members of the household must submit $280 ($70 × 4) along with the $525 filing fee for total fees of $805. The total fees may be submitted in one check. This $70 fee covers the cost for each person to be fingerprinted by USCIS. Do not submit completed fingerprint cards with the Orphan Petition or Advance Processing Application.

  • Prospective adoptive parents must advise USCIS of all additional adult members of the household at the time of filing the orphan petition or application for advance processing. We require this information so that all persons requiring fingerprinting may be scheduled for an appointment. Failure to advise USCIS of additional adult members of the household may result in processing delays.

  • After receiving an Orphan Petition or Advance Processing Application, USCIS will send appointment letters with the date and location for all prospective adoptive parents and additional adult members of the household to be fingerprinted. Please read the instructions in the appointment letters carefully, and take the letters with you to the USCIS fingerprint location for the fingerprint appointment.

  • Processing and adjudication of Orphan Petitions and Advance Processing Applications continues to be an USCIS priority. Therefore, to avoid processing and adjudication delays, USCIS will schedule fingerprint appointments for prospective adoptive parents and the adult members of their households on an accelerated schedule.

  • Prospective adoptive parents residing abroad (and adult members of the household) are also required to be fingerprinted, however, they are exempt from the $70 USCIS fingerprinting fee. Prospective adoptive parents residing abroad (and adult members of the household) must have their fingerprint cards prepared by USCIS, by a United States consular officer at a United States Embassy or consulate abroad, or at a United States military installation abroad. While those prospective adoptive parents will not be charged the $70 fingerprinting fee, State Department consular officers and United States military offices are authorized to charge a fee for this service. These completed fingerprint cards must be submitted with the Orphan Petition or Advance Processing Application.

The USCIS process and fees are continually updated.  Please contact the USCIS toll free number {1 (800) 375-5283 or for the TTY number call 1 (800) 767-1833} for the most current information.