The California Department of Justice (DOJ) provides an automated service for criminal history background checks that may be required as a condition of employment, licensing, certification, foreign adoptions or VISA/Immigration purposes. During the 2009-10 fiscal year, the DOJ processed almost 1.9 million applicant fingerprint transactions. Eighty percent of the electronically submitted fingerprint checks are completed within three business days.
Here is basic information for individuals needing to submit fingerprints to the DOJ for background checks.
Step One (1) – Get the forms
If you are applying for employment, license, certificate or permit with an applicant agency requiring a background check, you must get the instructions and the forms required for fingerprinting services from that agency. The agency will complete its information to ensure accuracy. You will need to add your personal information to the form before getting fingerprinted.
Step Two (2) – Get fingerprinted
Once you have obtained the necessary forms from the applicant agency, go to a local Live Scan site to be fingerprinted. To find the site nearest to you and a listing of fees, see Public Live Scan Sites.
Please note: You must present valid photo identification when being fingerprinted. Expired identification information will not be accepted.
A fingerprint-rolling fee may be collected when you get your fingerprints taken. Since this fee varies widely among locations, you will want to review the cost before going to a fingerprinting site. Be sure to check for any restrictions on method of payment, such as cash or money order only. The List of Applicant Live Scan Sites provides information by location on fees, hours of operation and if an appointment is needed.
There also is a criminal history processing fee collected by the DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the background checks. While often paid by the requesting agency, some applicants may be required to pay this fee themselves, so check with your requesting applicant agency. While the law requires applicant fingerprints to be captured and submitted electronically via Live Scan, DOJ does have limited statutory authority to issue an exemption to this mandate if an electronic transmission site is regionally unavailable or internal processing procedures dictate a need.
Step Three (3) – Wait for the results
Once the submission is received and processed, the DOJ will respond to the applicant agency either electronically or via U.S. mail.
While most of the time results are returned to the applicant agency within three days, delays can occur. Applicants should check, for the first seven days, with the applicant agency that requested the background review
since the DOJ sends results directly to the applicant agency. Delays can be caused by poor fingerprint quality, the existence of any criminal information in the applicant’s record, birthdates before 1920, and incorrect data submitted on the electronic transaction. You can help prevent delays by making sure the Live Scan operator has entered ALL the information on your Live Scan form and entered it CORRECTLY.