Pursuant to §1101.3521 of the Real Estate License Act, any person applying for or renewing a broker,
sales agent, inspector or easement or right-of-way license must provide their fingerprints, in a
specified format, so that an FBI criminal history check can be performed. These fingerprint requirements
apply only to brokers, sales agents, inspectors and easement or right-of-way agents and not to other
TREC license types. Once fingerprints are on file with DPS for a TREC license, a license holder will not
need to be fingerprinted for subsequent renewals.
Please DON'T send fingerprint cards or anything else relating to FINGERPRINTS to TREC.
All fingerprints MUST be submitted through the State's fingerprint vendor (see "Where
to Get Your Fingerprints Taken" below).
Where to Get Your Fingerprints Taken
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Fast Facts for Fingerprinting Requirements
Here are some brief points to sum up the fingerprinting requirement:
- Fingerprints that an applicant or license holder may have submitted for any other reason, such as
previous employment or for a state issued license, will not be acceptable for TREC licensure or
- The fingerprints must be in the FBI’s required format and must be taken at an authorized DPS
site. Currently, there are over 90 locations statewide where electronic fingerprints can be taken.
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Other Important Fingerprint Information
- Occasionally fingerprints may be unreadable. If this should occur, the license holder or applicant will
be contacted by MorphoTrust to schedule a reprint for no additional cost. Reprints cannot be scheduled
- If prints are unreadable a second time, a TREC staff person will initiate a name search through the
- New applicants and individuals filing Reinstatement applications
for licenses that are expired 6 months or more (without fingerprints on file for TREC) will NOT be
issued a license until TREC has received fingerprint results and the results do not indicate a need for
further review or action.
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FAQs on Fingerprinting
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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 agent, broker, or inspector 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 has been inactive for years but recently expired. Do I need to
file an application for late renewal and submit my fingerprints for the first time?
A: Fingerprints are required for a late renewal application if fingerprints are
not already on file with TREC and you wish to become active.
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, broker, inspector, or ERW 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 also complete the requirement for returning to active status.
Q: How far in advance SHOULD I get my fingerprints taken if I am already
licensed and have been inactive for many years?
A: You may get your fingerprints taken at any time prior to the expiration date
of your license. If you get electronically fingerprinted two weeks before you wish to go active
or before the license expires, that should be sufficient to avoid any delay for the active
request or renewal and assure continued licensure.
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 sales agent, broker, inspector, or ERW license. Having provided fingerprints for
another purpose, such as for a mortgage broker license or a handgun permit, will NOT suffice.
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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 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.
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How to Get Fingerprinted
Q: How do I complete the fingerprinting requirement for TREC?
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, to gather the fingerprints and take a photograph. MorphoTrust Enrollment
Services requires an IdentoGO ID and an appointment.
MorphoTrust Enrollment Services's 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 $39.75 for fingerprint image capture
and submission ($40.90 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
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
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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 get your IdentoGO ID and schedule an appointment 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: 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
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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)
Q: What are the special requirements and issues with "Hard Cards"?
A: There are several parts to this answer, below:
In addition to any fees charged by a law enforcement official to take your prints
on a Hard Card, a payment of $44.25 must accompany the mailing of the Hard Card to
MorphoTrust Enrollment Services.
A special "Hard Card" 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" is
available at the TREC offices in Austin and through the mail upon request.
"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.
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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