Processing ATF approval-related paperwork has been a formidable task, especially for those without prior experience or specialized expertise in the process. The recent introduction of a new eForm portal and electronic submission of fingerprints using the .EFT fingerprint file has introduced an additional layer of complexity; further puzzling individuals who may not be well-versed in the intricacies of EFT fingerprint file submissions.
To address potential confusion, we have compiled answers to frequently asked questions on EFT Files for ATF eForms. We aim to furnish comprehensive insights and guidance to individuals navigating their engagement with the ATF, ensuring a smoother and more informed process.
FAQ about .EFT files for ATF eForms
Question: What is ATF fingerprinting?
Answer: ATF fingerprinting is a procedure that involves gathering fingerprints (along with demographic details) from individuals engaged in activities associated with alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. This practice plays a crucial role in recognizing and confirming the identities of individuals within the realm of ATF/FFL investigations.
Question: What is the purpose behind the ATF’s collection of fingerprints?
Answer: The ATF gathers fingerprints as a component of their regulatory and enforcement initiatives, aiming to prevent individuals with disqualifying criminal histories from obtaining restricted items. Through the acquisition of fingerprints, the ATF can verify the identities of individuals, perform background checks, and establish a comprehensive database for investigative use.
Question: How far back does the ATF criminal history report go?
Answer: The ATF criminal history report encompasses the period starting from age 18, or from the time a minor was charged as an adult. This means that the report provides a comprehensive overview of an individual’s criminal history, offering insights into their legal background and activities from the age of 18 onward or from the point at which legal charges as an adult were incurred.
Question: What is the duration for which the ATF retains fingerprint records?
Answer: The ATF has the authority to keep fingerprint records indefinitely, but it’s important to note that the electronic form (EFT fingerprint file) upload is valid for 12 months. This implies that while the electronic submission has one-year validity, the ATF may maintain a permanent archive of fingerprint records for individuals engaged in activities regulated by the ATF.
The ongoing retention of these records serves the purpose of establishing a historical reference and enables the ATF to cross-reference fingerprints in subsequent investigations, contributing to the agency’s efforts in ensuring compliance and conducting thorough inquiries.
Question: Is it possible for individuals to obtain a copy of their ATF fingerprints?
Answer: Certainly, individuals have the option to request a copy of their ATF fingerprints through the submission of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the ATF. This request should encompass the individual’s details along with a specified reason for the inquiry.
Alternatively, a more convenient avenue is to opt for an FBI Express report through services like Fingerprinting Express, where results can be obtained within 24 hours, albeit for an additional fee. This streamlined process offers individuals a quicker and more accessible means to access their ATF fingerprint information.
Question: Is it permissible for private employers and external agencies to utilize ATF fingerprints?
Answer: No, it is not allowed for ATF fingerprints to be shared with private companies or external agencies. For personal reports, employment considerations, adoption, and licensing requirements, a distinct set of fingerprints must be obtained.
This underscores the restricted use of ATF fingerprints exclusively within the scope of ATF-related activities and investigations. To fulfill the fingerprinting needs for purposes beyond ATF-regulated matters, individuals are required to provide a separate set of fingerprints tailored to the specific requirements of personal, employment, adoption, or licensing processes.
Question: Are ATF fingerprints kept in a national database?
Answer: Indeed, ATF fingerprints find a home in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), a comprehensive national database. This repository facilitates the accessibility and comparison of fingerprints by law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
The incorporation of ATF fingerprints into NIBIN serves as a valuable tool for identifying individuals implicated in criminal undertakings associated with alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. This interconnected database enhances the collaborative efforts of law enforcement in scrutinizing and resolving cases by leveraging a centralized repository of fingerprint information.
Question: What are ATF eForms?
Answer: ATF eForms are digital alternatives to traditional paper forms used by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for various firearm transactions and regulatory processes.
Question: How can I use ATF eForms?
Answer: To utilize ATF eForms, it is imperative to establish an account. The ATF eForm website offers you the flexibility to choose your preferred method of registration. If opting for registration as a trust or corporation, you are granted the capability to remotely certify and submit your eForm. Conversely, individual applicants are obligated to certify in person at the dealer per ATF guidelines.
Within the eFiling procedure, the submission of fingerprints is a requisite. This can be accomplished either through dispatching the FD-258 fingerprint card or employing live scan technology to generate a digital fingerprint file.
Notably, external fingerprinting service providers are available to facilitate the eForm submission process, incorporating an electronic fingerprint file with your application. In the absence of an electronic fingerprint version, conventional paper fingerprint cards must be dispatched. The initiation of the processing wait time transpires upon the ATF’s receipt of the fingerprints.
Opting for electronic fingerprint submission results in immediate processing and a considerable reduction in the associated wait time.
Question: How are ATF eForms submitted?
Answer: Following the completion of the form, users can electronically submit it, initiating the ATF’s review process. Monitoring the status of the submission is essential, and users should be prepared to respond promptly to any follow-up actions or requests for additional information. It’s important to stay informed about the latest updates on the ATF eForms website and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations throughout the process.
Question: What about the fingerprinting process while filling ATF eForms?
Answer: It is mandatory to submit your fingerprinting to get your ATF application going. Unless you submit your fingerprints to the ATF along with your ATF Form/eForm, your form stays incomplete.
Question: What are the options for fingerprinting process while filling ATF eForms?
Answer: When completing ATF eForms, there are typically two options for the fingerprinting process.
Traditional ink fingerprinting
One option is to use traditional inked fingerprints. In this method, an individual goes to a law enforcement agency or a certified fingerprinting service provider to have their fingerprints taken using ink and paper cards. These inked fingerprint cards are then sent to the ATF.
An increasingly common and efficient option is electronic fingerprinting. This process involves using electronic fingerprint scanners to capture fingerprints digitally. An EFT file is then generated, which is submitted to the ATF along with your ATF eForm. Submission of fingerprints using EFT file is only available with ATF eForm 1 and eForm 4.
Question: What is the FBI EFT file format?
Answer: An EFT fingerprint file is a digital document that encompasses your fingerprint and demographic details, facilitating electronic submission and compatibility with the FBI’s IT infrastructure for automated fingerprint processing.
Question: Are EFT fingerprint files secure?
Answer: EFT file format is a digitally encrypted file that contains your fingerprint as well as demographic information. EFT files adhere to established standards such as the Electronic Fingerprint Transmission Specification (EFTS) developed by the FBI CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Services) to maintain consistency and compliance with industry best practices.
EFT file format follows strict standards and near impossible to decipher encryption process, which makes it adequately safe from manipulation.
Question: What are security features of EFT files?
Answer: EFT fingerprint files, used for electronic fingerprint submission, incorporate several security features to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the information they contain.
EFT files are often encrypted to protect the sensitive fingerprint and demographic data during transmission and storage. Encryption ensures that only authorized individuals with the appropriate decryption key can access the information.
Secure access controls are implemented to restrict access to EFT files. Only authorized personnel, such as law enforcement officials or regulatory bodies, are granted the necessary permissions to view and process the contents of these files.
EFT files may include digital signatures to verify the authenticity of the information and confirm that it has not been altered or tampered with during the submission process. This adds an additional layer of security and trust to the electronic submission.
Secure transmission protocols
When EFT files are transmitted, secure protocols such as HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) or other encrypted communication channels are often used to safeguard the data during transit.
Data retention policies
Strict data retention policies are in place to determine the duration for which EFT files are stored. This ensures that the information is retained only for as long as necessary and is securely disposed of when no longer needed.
Compliance with standards
EFT files adhere to established standards such as the Electronic Fingerprint Transmission Specification (EFTS) developed by the FBI CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Services) to maintain consistency and compliance with industry best practices.
These security features collectively contribute to the safeguarding of sensitive information contained in EFT files, assuring users and regulatory bodies of the confidentiality and reliability of electronic fingerprint submissions.
Question: Where are EFT files stored?
Answer: EFT files, being digital in nature, are typically stored in secure electronic databases or repositories. The specific storage location may vary depending on the system or platform used for submission and processing. In the context of ATF eForms or regulatory processes, these files are likely stored on servers managed by the ATF or other authorized entities, ensuring secure and accessible storage for approved personnel.
Question: What ATF eForms can I use EFT submissions for?
Answer: EFT submissions are accepted for ATF eForms 1 and eForms 4. It’s important to be aware that EFT files are specifically applicable to forms 1 and 4. For all other forms, you will still need to provide fingerprint cards as part of the submission process. It’s crucial to recognize the limited scope of the EFT file, as it is valid exclusively for forms 1 and 4.
Question: What should I do after receiving the EFT file from my live scan service provider?
Answer: After completing the fingerprinting process, your service provider will generate EFT fingerprint file using live scan software. This file is encrypted to ensure security of sensitive data. Your live scan service provider may provide the file to you in a storage device (such as a USB stick) or provide a link to download the file if they offer this service.
Refrain from attempting to open the encrypted file, as it is not viewable. Ensure that you download the file to a trusted computer promptly upon access. Subsequently, take the proactive step of sending a copy of the EFT file to your local FFL dealer for the uploading process. This ensures a smooth progression of the necessary procedures.
Navigating through the ATF realm can be a daunting task, especially for individuals encountering it for the first time, whether you are purchasing a firearm or seeking licensure. To mitigate any potential confusion and streamline your experience, we have compiled a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
This curated repository aims to provide clear and concise answers, ensuring that you do not find yourself navigating ambiguous terrain. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and guidance necessary to navigate the ATF processes seamlessly, eliminating the need for unnecessary detours and facilitating a smoother journey through the intricacies of firearm acquisition and licensing.