Step 6: Get Fingerprinted/Live Scan
What are the laws concerning fingerprinting for contractors?
Pursuant to California law*, all applicants for a contractor license are required to submit a full set of fingerprints so that the board may conduct a criminal background check. Fingerprints are compared to the records of the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to determine whether a criminal history exists. The questions and answers below will help guide you through the fingerprinting process and help prevent unnecessary delays in processing your application.
Who must be fingerprinted?
All applicants for license and each officer, partner, owner, and responsible managing employee, as well as home improvement salesperson applicants, must be fingerprinted. Individuals currently licensed by CSLB who do not apply for any changes to their license and applicants for a joint venture license are not required to be fingerprinted.
How do I get fingerprinted?
After an application has been accepted by CSLB as complete (also known as "posted"), each individual listed on the application is sent instructions on the process for obtaining and submitting fingerprints and a "Request for Live Scan Service" (form BCII 8016). Fingerprints must be submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) electronically via Live Scan. (See Pen. Code, § 11077.1.) Live Scan is a system for the electronic submission of fingerprints.
To obtain and submit electronic fingerprints, the license applicant must:
- Complete the CSLB’s Request for Live Scan Service form. This form will be mailed to applicants after the application has been posted (accepted by CSLB as complete).
- Go to an authorized Live Scan provider with the completed form and driver’s license or other valid form of identification, such as a passport or state DMV I.D., and DOJ processing fee payment.
- Ensure that the Live Scan technician enters the license applicant’s name in the system exactly as it is on file with the CSLB.
- If the license applicant has a social security number, ensure that the Live Scan technician correctly enters the social security number in the system.
Live Scan fingerprinting services are available at most local police and sheriff departments, and any public Live Scan site. A listing of Live Scan locations is available at: https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations.
Please see information below for out-of-state applicants who must submit hard copy fingerprints.
What do I do with the three copies of the Request for Live Scan Service forms after being fingerprinted?
The first copy of the form will be retained by the Live Scan operator. You should retain the second copy of the form for your records. You must submit the third copy of the form to CSLB within 90 days after you receive the packet that contained the Request for Live Scan Service form. Failure to do so may result in your application being voided.
Is there a cost for fingerprinting?
Yes, you are required to pay the Live Scan operator the $49 fingerprint processing fee ($32 for DOJ and $17 for FBI), as well as the Live Scan site "rolling" fee. NOTE: The rolling fees vary because each Live Scan site sets its own fee—CSLB does not set the price. The listing of Live Scan locations includes information about the rolling fee.
What if I’m located outside of California and do not have access to a Live Scan facility?
If you do not live in California and do not plan to come to California during the application process, or if you do not have access to a Live Scan site, you will be fingerprinted using hard copy fingerprint cards. For out-of-state residents, the hard copy cards automatically will be generated and sent after your application has been posted. For California residents who do not have access to a Live Scan site, you may request fingerprinting hard cards and instructions to be sent to you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You must take the cards to a law enforcement agency within the United States to have your rolled fingerprints. Return the cards with the required processing fee of $49 to CSLB for submission to DOJ and FBI. You also may be charged a "rolling" fee by the agency providing the service. Please note that the processing time required for hard copy fingerprint cards is substantially longer than Live Scan fingerprinting, taking three to six months or longer.
I have heard about applicants who had their fingerprints rejected or who had “delays” through DOJ or FBI—what does this mean?
Fingerprint submissions may be rejected if there is a problem with quality of the fingerprint image— whether Live Scan or hard copy cards. Applicants who have had their fingerprints rejected will be asked to make a second attempt at fingerprinting. If there is a second rejection, CSLB will request that DOJ and/or FBI do a name check, which can be a lengthy process.
Delays may occur if DOJ and/or FBI are researching an issue, which also can be a lengthy process. The outcome of a delay may be a clear record or a conviction record.