WASHINGTON – Since March of 1998, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has waived the requirement of fingerprints for naturalization applicants older than 75 years old. The reason was because it was difficult to capture a readable fingerprint from those in that age group.

Citing technology improvements, USCIS will now begin requiring fingerprints from all naturalization applicants regardless of age. USCIS says this will allow them to confirm the identity of a naturalization applicant and perform a background check. Officials also said they will continue to make special arrangements for those applicants with disabilities and homebound or hospitalized applicants.

The new policy does not change the process of a fingerprint waiver for naturalization applicants who are unable to provide fingerprints or are unable to provide legible fingerprints. It also doesn’t change the biometrics requirements for immigration benefits other than naturalization. Meaning these changes only affect those who are applying to become citizens of the United States. For example, applicants who are 75 years old or older are not required to provide fingerprints if renewing a green card or applying for anything other than citizenship.