Fingerprinting is a crucial step in obtaining federal licenses, permits, and approvals. If you’re planning to apply for a federal firearms license, explosives license, or any other permit requiring the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) background check, you will need to fill out an FD-258 fingerprint card. The ATF requires you to submit fingerprints to ensure you have no disqualifying factors that would prevent you from owning firearms, explosives, or ammunition. Filling out an FD-258 fingerprint card can be a daunting task, but with a little guidance, it doesn’t have to be. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to fill out the ATF’s FD-258 fingerprint card step by step.

What is fingerprinting?

Fingerprinting is a biometric identification method that involves capturing and recording an individual’s unique fingerprints. This is typically done using ink on a special fingerprint card or digitally through a scanner. Fingerprinting is commonly used for criminal background checks, as well as for obtaining certain licenses, permits, and clearances.

What is fingerprinting?

Why is fingerprinting required for federal licenses and permits?

The ATF requires fingerprinting as part of their background check process to ensure that an individual does not have any disqualifying factors that would prevent them from owning firearms, explosives, or ammunition. The ATF uses fingerprinting to verify an individual’s identity, and to check their criminal history for any past convictions or disqualifying offenses.

What is the purpose of the ATF background check?

The ATF background check is designed to prevent individuals who are prohibited from owning firearms, explosives, or ammunition from obtaining these items. The background check helps to ensure public safety by keeping firearms and explosives out of the hands of individuals who may pose a threat to themselves or others.

Which ATF fingerprint cards are needed for NFA transfers?

The National Firearms Act (NFA) regulates the transfer and possession of certain firearms, including machine guns, silencers, short-barreled rifles, and shotguns. To transfer such firearms, an ATF Form 4 or Form 5 is required, along with other supporting documentation, including fingerprint cards.

When it comes to NFA transfers, two types of fingerprint cards are typically required: the FD-258 fingerprint card and the FBI-258 fingerprint card. The FD-258 card is a standard fingerprint card used by the ATF for all NFA transfers, while the FBI-258 card is required if the transferor or transferee lives outside of the United States.

You can see an example fingerprint card here.

It’s important to note that the ATF has strict requirements for the submission of fingerprint cards, and any errors or omissions could result in delays or even rejection of the transfer application. This is why it’s recommended to use a trusted and experienced provider of ATF fingerprinting services, such as PDX Fingerprinting. Their team has extensive experience working with the ATF and can ensure that all fingerprint cards are filled out accurately and submitted on time, helping to expedite the transfer process.

Understanding the FD-258 Fingerprint Card

What is an FD-258 fingerprint card?

The FD-258 fingerprint card is the standard fingerprint card used by the FBI and other federal agencies, including the ATF. The card contains spaces for the individual’s personal information, such as name, address, and social security number, as well as spaces for capturing their fingerprints. The FD-258 card is available in two formats: a traditional hard copy card and a digital format.

How do I obtain an FD-258 fingerprint card?

You can obtain an FD-258 fingerprint card from a variety of sources, including your local police department, a fingerprinting service provider, or by ordering a card online. It’s important to ensure that you are using an FBI-approved card and that it meets the ATF’s requirements.

What are the requirements for an FD-258 fingerprint card?

The ATF has specific requirements for the FD-258 fingerprint card, including the use of black ink, the proper completion of all fields, and the use of an FBI-approved card. The card must also be legible and free from smudges or other imperfections.

Step-by-Step Guide to Filling Out the FD-258 Fingerprint Card

A. Required Information

To fill out the FD-258 fingerprint card, you will need to provide the informations which are mentioned below;

B. Tips for Accurate Fingerprinting

To ensure that your fingerprints are captured accurately, it’s important to follow the instructions provided by the fingerprinting service provider or agency. This may include cleaning your hands to remove any dirt or oils, positioning your fingers correctly on the card, and pressing firmly to ensure a clear impression.

C. Common Mistakes to Avoid

Common mistakes when filling out the FD-258 fingerprint card include using the wrong ink color, failing to fill out all required fields, or failing to sign and date the card. It’s important to carefully review the instructions and ensure that you have completed the card correctly before submitting it.

Submitting Your Fingerprint Card

Where to Submit Your FD-258 Fingerprint Card

Once you have completed your FD-258 fingerprint card, you will need to submit it to the ATF or the agency handling your license or permit application. The submission process may vary depending on the agency, so it’s important to follow the instructions provided and ensure that you are submitting your card to the correct location.

What to Expect After Submitting Your Card

After submitting your FD-258 fingerprint card, you can expect to receive updates on the status of your application. The processing time may vary depending on the agency and the type of license or permit you are applying for. It’s important to be patient and follow up with the agency if you haven’t heard back within a reasonable amount of time.


Filling out an FD-258 fingerprint card may seem daunting, but with the right guidance and resources, the process can be straightforward and hassle-free. By following our step-by-step guide, you can ensure that your fingerprint card is filled out accurately and correctly, making the ATF background check process smoother and faster. Additionally, if you’re looking for fast and reliable ATF fingerprinting services, PDX Fingerprinting can help. They offer a range of services, including ATF fingerprint cards and EFT file creation services, to help you obtain your federal license or permit quickly and efficiently.