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Fingerprinting FAQs

back to main Fingerprint Requirements page
Fingerprints Required - The Basics
New Applicants
How to Get Fingerprinted
Fingerprinting Results
What About Filing a "Hard Card" Instead?

Fingerprints Required - The Basics

  • Q: I already have my fingerprints on file because they were required for a license issued by another state agency. Can TREC just use those fingerprints?

    A:  No. DPS requires that a separate set of fingerprints be submitted and managed for each participating agency.

  • Q: I submitted my fingerprints when I applied for a Texas real estate license. Do I need to resubmit them when I apply for an easement or right-of-way license?

    A:  If you submitted your fingerprints when you applied or renewed your Texas sales agents or brokers license you do not need to resubmit your fingerprints. You are required to pay the subsequent background check fee at the time the ERW application is filed and with each subsequent renewal.

  • Q: My license expired and I need to file an application for late renewal. Do I need fingerprinting?

    A:  Yes, fingerprinting is required for a late renewal application if fingerprints are not already on file with TREC.

  • Q: Can I renew my license in inactive status without having my fingerprints on file with DPS for TREC?

    A:  Yes, you may renew a sales agent or broker license in inactive status without having your fingerprints on file with DPS for TREC. If you later wish to return to active status, please be aware that you must first provide your fingerprints to DPS for TREC, and then take the usual steps for sales agents returning to active status or for brokers returning to active status.

  • Q: How far in advance MAY license holders have their fingerprints taken? If they renew December 2008 can they have the fingerprints taken January 2008?

    A:  TREC understands that there may be opportunities for people to get fingerprinted through arrangements at industry association conventions. Every such opportunity will be of valuable assistance, alerting more people to the requirement and then helping them to take care of it. In order to accommodate this as fully as possible, TREC will make a license holder’s required thumbprint iconFast Fingerprint Pass available and accept fingerprints up to one year (12 months) prior to the expiration date.

  • Q: How far in advance SHOULD I (and how far in advance MAY I) get my fingerprints taken?

    A:  You may get your fingerprints taken up to one year prior to the expiration date of your license. If you get electronically fingerprinted two weeks before your license expires, that should be sufficient to avoid any renewal delay and assure continued licensure. We suggest you do this as early as is convenient within one year of your current license expiration date.

  • Q: Will I have to submit new fingerprints every time I renew?

    A:  No. If your fingerprints are already on file for your TREC-issued license, you will not need to get re-fingerprinted. However, you will be required to pay an additional fee for subsequent background checks as required by law with future renewals of your license. Your fingerprints are on file for your TREC issued license only if they are submitted to MorphoTrust Enrollment Services specifically in connection with your application to obtain or renew a TREC broker’s or sales agent’s license. Having provided fingerprints for another purpose, such for a mortgage broker license or a handgun permit, will NOT suffice.

  • Q: Okay, what happens if I renew my license on time and do everything right (right fee, took my MCE, completed the right forms) BUT I didn’t get my fingerprints done by the expiration date on my license?

    A:  Your renewal will be processed, but at the stated expiration date, if you have still not taken care of the fingerprinting, your license will issue on inactive status. It will stay inactive until you provide your fingerprints as required by law. Although you will not be subjected to a late renewal fee, you will need to submit a change form and fee to go from inactive status back to active status.

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New Applicants

  • Q: For individuals who are just applying to take the sales agent exam, how and when are they notified about their fingerprinting requirements?

    A:  The education evaluation letter includes an insert explaining the fingerprinting requirement. The application materials, both online and printed forms, will explain the fingerprinting requirement. The letter informing an applicant that they are eligible to go ahead and take the examination will also advise them of the fingerprinting requirement.

  • Q: Can new applicants have this done prior to submitting an application with TREC if they have already submitted education to be evaluated?

    A:  Yes, as long as they have a TREC supplied Fast Fingerprint Pass.

  • Q: Do those who have applied for the TREC licensing exam prior to January 1, 2008, but have not taken the test by that date have to fulfill fingerprinting requirement?

    A:  No. Only those applying on or after January 1, 2008, for initial or renewal licenses are subject to the fingerprint requirement and FBI background check. A DPS background check will be completed on applications submitted prior to January 1, 2008. Please note that applications expire after six months. If an application expires and a person must submit another application after January 1, 2008, fingerprinting will be required at that time.

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How to Get Fingerprinted

  • Q: What is a Fast Fingerprint Pass and how do I get one?

    A:  Fast Fingerprint Pass is a form that you must complete and submit when you go to be fingerprinted.

    To obtain your Fast Fingerprint Pass, you will need to have either your license number or your Agency identifier (also known as your TREC ID Number). Your license number can be found on your existing license or via the License Holder Info Search on TREC's website. Your TREC ID Number can be found on your education evaluation letter and on your notification of eligibility to take an examination letter.

  • Q: So, I need a Fast Fingerprint Pass in order to be fingerprinted. Now, How do I Get Fingerprinted?

    A:  The collecting and submitting of fingerprints to the FBI is handled through the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). They use an exclusive vendor, MorphoTrust Enrollment Services (formerly IBT), to gather the fingerprints and take a photograph. MorphoTrust Enrollment Services requires an appointment.
    You must first thumbprint iconobtain a Fast Fingerprint Pass from TREC, which will tell you how to schedule an appointment with MorphoTrust Enrollment Services.
    MorphoTrust Enrollment Services's scheduling website contains an up-to-date list of fingerprinting locations in Texas. MorphoTrust Enrollment Services's locations change periodically, so please use the list on their scheduling website to select your appointment.

  • Q: How much does it cost to have fingerprints taken?

    A:  MorphoTrust Enrollment Services charges $39.70 for fingerprint image capture and submission ($40.85 if paying online by credit card). You may pay in advance by credit card online when you are scheduling an appointment or by check at the time of fingerprinting. Subsequent background checks cost $29.75 each. TREC staff anticipates including this in the renewal application fee at a future date.

  • Q: How do I pay?

    A:  If you schedule online or by phone, you can pay at that time by credit or debit card. If you pay at the site, payment must be by check or money order . . . no credit or debit cards . . . no cash. See previous question for amounts.

  • Q: How long does it take to schedule a fingerprinting appointment with MorphoTrust Enrollment Services?

    A:  The interval between the time you schedule your appointment (online or by telephone) to the actual on-site service varies from location to location and from time to time. It may take as long as 7 days but is more typically 2 to 3 days. NOTE: Same day appointments are not available. Also, not all MorphoTrust Enrollment Services locations offer appointments each day. Follow this link to the complete MorphoTrust Enrollment Services list of locations and days of operation.

  • Q: How do I schedule my fingerprinting appointment with MorphoTrust Enrollment Services?

    A:  You may schedule your fingerprinting appointment with MorphoTrust Enrollment Services ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 2008
    Online at http://www.ibtfingerprint.com/
    by phone at 1-888-467-2080

    MorphoTrust Enrollment Services fingerprinting locations

    Another Option: Psychological Services Incorporated (PSI) administers examinations for TREC. Fingerprinting services are available at some PSI locations that administer license examinations for the commission. (NOTE: You must contact MorphoTrust Enrollment Services to schedule an appointment for fingerpinting at the PSI exam centers)
    You must thumbprint iconobtain a Fast Fingerprint Pass from TREC in order to be fingerprinted at a PSI location.
    (PSI locations offering fingerprinting)

    The Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR) may also make arrangements with MorphoTrust Enrollment Services to provide fingerprinting at one or more TAR sponsored events, such as the mid-winter convention.

    If you are a trade organization or other large organization (with 30 or more people needing to be fingerprinted at the same time/place), it may be possible for you to arrange for MorphoTrust Enrollment Services to come and provide fingerprinting services for you. If you would like to explore this, call MorphoTrust Enrollment Services at 1-888-467-2080

  • Q: I am a Texas non-resident. How do I get fingerprinted?

    A:  Applicants who reside outside the service area of MorphoTrust Enrollment Services may choose to use a "Hard Card" to get fingerprinted. A special "Hard Card" and Fast Fingerprint Pass for Hard Cards (FAST Fingerprint Card Scan Authorization Form) must be obtained from TREC. The TREC-specific Hard Card has coding that the DPS and FBI require. Fingerprints submitted on a generic card, even though it is an approved FBI form, will be rejected, because the generic card does not have TREC specific information causing a delay, and the person will have to begin all over again. The TREC-specific hard and Fast Fingerprint Pass for "Hard Cards" is available at the TREC offices in Austin and through the mail upon request. The MorphoTrust Enrollment Services Texas Non-resident Live Scan Processing Procedures provides instructions on how to get this accomplished.

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Fingerprinting Results

  • Q: How are the fingerprints submitted to TREC? Electronically or via mail?

    A:  All fingerprints are submitted to the FBI through the DPS, using their fingerprint vendor, MorphoTrust Enrollment Services. If your prints are taken by MorphoTrust Enrollment Services, they will submit the prints on your behalf, and TREC will be notified of the results. Since ultimately all fingerprints must be converted to digital images in order to be submitted for the running of a background check, it is far easier to start with electronic fingerprints. Traditional "Hard Card" fingerprints are still allowed, but they involve several special requirements and issues. If you absolutely feel you "must" do a traditional "Hard Card" fingerprint, there are some specific "Hard Card" FAQs at the end of this document.

  • Q: I have had my fingerprints taken by MorphoTrust Enrollment Services but now they have contacted me and said that my prints were unreadable. What do I do now?

    A:  You need to schedule with MorphoTrust Enrollment Services to get your fingerprints re-taken a second time. There is no additional charge. If your fingerprints are again unreadable, contact TREC. We will initiate a name search with the FBI.

  • Q: My fingerprints were taken and rejected by MorphoTrust Enrollment Services. I have satisfied all other requirements. Can I continue to practice real estate?

    A:  If MorphoTrust Enrollment Services notifies TREC that your fingerprints were rejected and need to be reprinted, TREC will send a letter stating that your license will remain on active status for 30 days after the expiration date of the current license. During this 30-day period you will have to contact MorphoTrust Enrollment Services to arrange to be reprinted. Failure to timely take care of the reprinting can be a cause for TREC to take disciplinary action against your license.

  • Q: Our Corporation or LLC needs to renew its license. Does the designated officer or manager need to get fingerprinted before the Corporation or LLC can renew?

    A:  No. The designated officer or manager of record need not be fingerprinted before a Corporation or LLC can timely renew its license. If the Corporation or LLC submits a late renewal application, the designated officer or manager of record will need to be fingerprinted unless the officer or manager has already submitted fingerprints for his or her own license.

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What About Filing a "Hard Card" Instead of Getting Fingerprints Taken Electronically?
"Hard Card" FAQs (if you cannot get your fingerprints taken electronically by MorphoTrust Enrollment Services or PSI)

  • Q: What are the special requirements and issues with "Hard Cards"?

    A:  There are several parts to this answer, below:

    1. In addition to any fees charged by a law enforcement official to take your prints on a Hard Card, a payment of $44.20 must accompany the mailing of the Hard Card to MorphoTrust Enrollment Services.

    2. A special "Hard Card" and Fast Fingerprint Pass for Hard Cards (FAST Fingerprint Card Scan Authorization Form) must be obtained from TREC. The TREC-specific "Hard Card" has coding that the DPS and FBI require. Fingerprints submitted on a generic card, even though it is an approved FBI form, will be rejected because the generic card does not have TREC specific information, causing a delay, and the person will have to begin all over again. The TREC-specific "Hard Card" and Fast Fingerprint Pass for "Hard Cards" is available at the TREC offices in Austin and through the mail upon request.

    3. "Hard Card" fingerprints have an extremely high error rate (the percentage of prints that get rejected and need to be redone), sometimes as high as 33%! Other agencies using Hard Card fingerprints have found numerous instances where applicants and license holders had to get their fingerprints re-taken two, three, or even more times in order to get clean, readable prints. Individuals who were born before 1940 may find that their fingerprints are unreadable. If this occurs fingerprints may be taken using a "Hard Card." Each time you get "re-printed" on a Hard Card, there is typically an additional fee charged by the person taking the prints.

    4. Hard Card fingerprints take much longer for the DPS and FBI to process. TREC receives results from digitally imaged fingerprints submitted by MorphoTrust Enrollment Services in 24 to 72 hours. Fingerprints submitted to MorphoTrust Enrollment Services on a Hard Card take several weeks to process.

  • Q: Do license holders need to use a specific "card" to get fingerprints taken? If yes, where would they obtain this card?

    A:  If you are going to use a Hard Card for fingerprints, the card MUST be obtained from TREC. No other card, even on the FBI’s form, will work because of required encoding that is placed on these cards to enable them to be identified with a specific, authorized agency. This is an FBI requirement.

  • Q: How do I get a “Hard Card” from TREC?

    A:  Call, write, or, drop by our offices at 1700 N. Congress Ave., Suite 400. Austin, TX 78701.

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