What is Live Scan Fingerprinting?

Live Scan is an electronic fingerprint capture device which avoids the mess associated with using ink and paper cards.  Previously, all fingerprinting was performed by coating the fingertips with black ink and pressing or rolling the fingers over the paper.  Live Scan uses a glass plate to electronically scan the fingerprints in a digitized format that can be transmitted to the state central repository for processing.  The data is forwarded to the Illinois State Police (ISP) Bureau of Identification (BOI) over a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and then processed by the ISP's Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).  Once received at the BOI for processing, the inquiry can then be forwarded electronically to the FBI, if applicable. All of this typically occurs within a matter of minutes and is conducted with little or no human intervention.  Fingerprinting using Live Scan provides for a much faster processing time and an enhanced image quality.  Live Scan can be used for both criminal justice as well as non-criminal justice purposes.


Over the past several years, there has been a widespread interest in obtaining access to criminal history record information for the purpose of determining an individual's suitability for employment, licensing, or placement in positions of trust. There have been a number of laws enacted by the Illinois General Assembly that require fingerprint-based criminal history record inquiries to be conducted by both the private and public sector.  To protect and maintain the confidentiality of information provided during the fingerprinting process, Public Act 95-613 amended the Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004 to provide for the licensure of commercial live scan fingerprint vendors in Illinois.  One of the qualifications for licensure requires live scan fingerprint vendors to successfully undergo training conducted or authorized by the Illinois State Police.