Illegible Fingerprints and FBI Background Check in Spanish Non Lucrative Visa Applications


“My residency visa was denied for lack of an ID Summary, a non-criminal record from the FBI (I am an American retiree). The FBI said, in writing, that they could not get my FBI Background check because of illegible fingerprints.

This is due to age — they tend to fade, and mine have. But Spanish legislation is inflexible on this point, even when it results in age discrimination. My lawyer presented a first appeal with a month-long deadline.

If denied, as she expects, we immediately go to Court. In this case, she is very optimistic, based on Spanish jurisprudence and because I have a very strong case. But it might take weeks or even months. Anyone else go through this?”


These are the answers of Spainguru’s Facebook group members:

“Spain? Seems like FBI is the one discriminating you. Go to the FBI and request your background check. If their technology is discriminating you, take them to court. When I did the check in the US, they also took my drivers license to check.”

“US is actually VERY outdated on this. I obtained my background check apostilled from my country in 3-4 days. I just needed my ID# and I was able to print it out online which includes a QR code to a government website confirming my background check.

Spain, it took less than 5 minutes to obtain with the digital certificate. I just downloaded it (with apostille). US took me 4 months from Spain and 3 from within US the first time around.

It is any country’s right to request a full background check prior to granting residency to an immigrant in their country… it’s a very valid request to be sued over.” – Commenter 2

“We had the same problem with the FBI 10 years ago. We sent 6 times the fingerprints in ink and they said impossible to read every time. You need to do it with a Live Scan. Find a place with that kind of scanner and don’t leave until the computer gets your fingerprints taken.”

“My husband had the same problem, the FBI rejected his fingerprints three times until he used IdentoGO. Look for them, you go to a location and they do have digital scanning technology. They sent the fingerprints to the FBI and within hours you get your background check. Good luck.”

“Contact the FBI, they have a system for these cases. Spain just wants the no-record report and doesn’t mind if it is done with fingerprints or through an ID search.”

“People with hard to read prints can use other systems, like toe prints, facial recognition, and eye scans.”

Like others in the same situation, frustration took over me after having no success with my fingerprints taken 8 times at the Post Office and 1 ink failure at the police station.
I decided not to go on and wait… I felt discriminated.
Since I had to sell my furniture I began that process. Finally, following advice from one of our NLV group members, I called “Ident Go” and found a 5 star review agency in Palm Harbor, Florida, where I live, through Google.
A very nice lady attended me. She was very patient and witty, had more knowledge than the previous ones (very important) and I felt, this time, it would work…
“Billy” was the nickname of the scanner she uses, very different than the digital one used at the Post Office. She made sure those prints were there and my God, even I saw them, under the beautiful yellow- green light of “Billy”! jeje.
I was so darn happy I even cried! You suckers I scream out! Only the lady and I at the office. She thinks this time I will have success… cross your fingers…
I went home with my 2 set of fingerprint cards after paying $50.
It was May 29 afternoon with a long weekend ahead for Veterans Day. I went to the bank and bought an $18 Certified Check
and sent my 2 sets of fingerprint cards to the FBI Clarksburg, West Virginia.
Next day, I realized I had not sent the “Identity Summary Request Form” with the fingerprints. OMG!!!
I called the FBI Customer Service Dept. explaining my history and frustration and this very diligent and warm lady said she would send me the Form through email, to print, fill it out, sign and resend it to her, with a note saying:
” I have previously sent my fingerprints with the check, but have forgotten to include the request form. Please forward it to the Processing Center and attach it to my pack”.
May 30th I sent the Form. I have been told that I would receive notification in 17 days due to high traffic of Processing in the agency. On Monday, I received an email saying they had received the Form. Whew!
My advice is to go through the complete process. At the 3rd time, they figure it out and have the Consulate know. Maybe you have arthritis and cannot press the finger down, what happens with amputated fingers? Of course there is a way! Please don’t give up your dreams! I am on track again! Now the Apostilles…
Thank you guys for all your help! I feel this is a group journey to Spain! Enjoy your lives!”


Dealing with illegible fingerprints during FBI background checks for Spanish visa applications can be a frustrating ordeal, especially for older applicants. However, several strategies may help resolve this issue, including using advanced scanning technologies like Live Scan or IdentoGO, or alternative methods suggested by the FBI.

Legal action remains a viable but lengthy option if initial solutions fail. It’s crucial for applicants to explore all available options to ensure a smooth application process.