Follow-up Review of the FBI’s Progress Toward Biometric Interoperability Between IAFIS and IDENT

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2006-007
July 2006
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix I
Comparison of Fingerprint Collection Methods

Rolled prints
of 10 fingers
(10 rolled prints)

Flat-pressed prints
of 10 fingers
(10 flat prints)

Flat-pressed prints
of 2 fingers
(2 flat prints)

Used by

DOJ: Used as the IAFIS Criminal Master File enrollment standard

DHS: Used to check apprehended aliens against IAFIS Criminal Master File; used to enroll aliens in the IDENT Lookout database; used to enroll aliens to be booked in IAFIS Criminal Master File (CAR booking); used for background checks prior to issuing lawful permanent resident card or granting citizenship

DOS: Not used

DOJ: FBI is currently implementing this as the standard for civil enrollments and conducting background checks

DHS: Not yet used; will become US-VISIT enrollment standard

DOS: Used on a limited basis through pilot projects at selected consulates

NIST recommended standard to enroll and search interoperable fingerprint identification systems

DOJ: Not used, but accepted for one‑to‑one verification matches

DHS: Used to enroll aliens in IDENT database as well as for later searches of this database; Until US-VISIT transition to 10 flat prints, used to enroll visitors at ports of entry in US‑VISIT (if not done by DOS)

DOS: Until US-VISIT transition to 10 flat prints, used to enroll visa applicants at consulates in US-VISIT

NIST recommended standard for one‑to‑one verifications only


Provides the most complete information for identifying individuals

Search accuracy; results in among the fewest false positive hits

Provide the most information to match against latent fingerprints

Greatest categorization of fingerprints reduces search to about 2 percent of database, enabling the most efficient use of processing power

Search accuracy for identifying criminals in IAFIS is statistically indistinguishable from using 10 rolled prints

Takes only 10 to 15 seconds longer than taking 2 flat prints

Less intrusive than 10 rolled prints – operator need not touch subject

Fewer false positives than 2 prints

Improved categorization of fingerprints reduces search to about 6 percent of database, enabling more efficient use of processing power

Least expensive for equipment and labor

Least intrusive for subjects

Least objectionable for foreign visitors

Acceptable search time when used to check 2-print databases

Fastest and easiest to take prints of acceptable quality (lowest enroll reject rate)


Taking 10 rolled prints is time consuming and labor intensive

Most difficult to take prints of acceptable quality (highest enroll reject rate)

Requires different/more expensive equipment

Most intrusive (operator must physically roll subjects’ fingers)

Most objectionable to foreign visitors

More expensive than two flats

Could be perceived as more intrusive than two flats

Slower IAFIS searches than 10 rolled

Provides less information than 10 rolled prints for identifying latent fingerprints

Least accurate, results in most false positive hits and more frequent false negatives (i.e., missed identification of criminal on file)

Least categorization makes it inefficient for searching 10-print databases, such as IAFIS (requires searching 70 percent of database)

Provides least information for identifying latent fingerprints, which may be from any of 10 fingers

Possibility of finger sequence errors

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