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Frequently Asked Questions - Registrants

Who needs to register as a "Seller of Travel" (SOT)?

Generally, a seller of travel is anyone who sells, provides, furnishes, contracts for, arranges, or advertises or may arrange, or has arranged, wholesale or retail, either of the following:

  1. Air or sea transportation either separately or in conjunction with other travel services.;
  2. Land or water vessel transportation, other than sea carriage, either separately or in conjunction with other travel services if the total charge to the passenger exceeds three hundred dollars ($300).

For more information, please see Business and Professions Code section 17550.1

Who does not need to register as a Seller of Travel?

Generally, the following entities do not need to register as a seller of travel: air carriers, ocean carriers, lodging establishments who also arrange transportation but never receive money for providing it, government authorized transportation providers, or an agent of a registered seller of travel who meets certain requirements

For more information, please see Business and Professions Code sections 17550.1 and 17550.20 subdivision (g).

Can the Seller of Travel Program determine whether I need to register or not?

All sellers of travel must register with the Attorney General's Office, Seller of Travel Program, before they can operate lawfully within the State of California. The Attorney General cannot provide you with legal advice. You may obtain a referral to a certified lawyer referral service by contacting the State Bar at 866-442-2529 (toll-free in California) or 415-538-2250 (from outside California), or via the State Bar of California website.

What are the Seller of Travel requirements to register?

Applicants must complete the Seller of Travel Application form or the annual renewal paperwork. They must meet all applicable financial and restitution fund requirements.

For more information, please see Business and Professions Code sections 17550.20, 17550.21, 17550.43, and 17550.44.

How do I apply as a Seller of Travel?

Ten (10) days prior to doing business in California, accurately complete and submit the Seller of Travel Registration Application, any required additional forms, your annual registration fee of $100 for each business location, plus any required late fee to the Seller of Travel Program in Los Angeles. All seller of travel forms are located on our website.

If you have questions, you may e-mail the Seller of Travel Program at:
Sellers.Travel@doj.ca.gov.

An application with no registration fee will be rejected and your late fee will increase until your registration fee is received by the Seller of Travel Program. Late fees are determined by the postmark date or the date of receipt for applications sent by a private delivery service. All past unpaid registration fees must be fully paid before your Seller of Travel number will be issued. All applicants must also comply with Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation requirements. Your registration will not be complete until we issue an Acknowledgement of Registration with a Seller of Travel certificate.

For more information, please see Business and Professions Code section 17550.20.

How do I inform the Seller of Travel Program about changes to my business during the registration year?

If there is a material change in your business, you must complete and submit Form 500. It must be submitted within ten (10) days of the change.

If the business changes owners, you must complete and submit Form 600 is required within ten (10) days prior to the transfer.

All seller of travel forms are located on the Forms Page of the Attorney General's website.

There is no filing fee for submitting Form 600 or Form 500, except if you add a location

What is the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC)?

The Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC) is a nonprofit organization. It is not part of the Attorney General’s Office. TCRC manages the Travel Consumer Restitution Fund and decides restitution claims.

For more information, please visit TCRC’s website.

Who Must Participate in the Travel Consumer Restitution Fund(TCRF)?

    A registered seller of travel whose principal place of business is in California and who does business with persons in California; must participate in the TCRF.

    In addition, a registered seller of travel that does business in California, from at least one location in California, and issues, or is a subsidiary of an issuer, or of a security listed on a national securities exchange or is designated as a national market system security must participate in TCRF's

    To qualify as a subsidiary of an issuer, 60% of the share's voting power must be owned by the issuer.

    For more information please see Business and Professions Code section 17550.7

How do I register with the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC)?

Participants in TCRF must register separately with the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC). TCRC is a nonprofit organization and it is not part of the Attorney General’s Office. The registration application for the TCRC is located on TCRC’s website. The TCRC application must be submitted no fewer than ten (10) days prior to doing business in California.

Some sellers of travel are required to deposit all payments received into a trust account or to obtain a surety bond on behalf of their customers. Others are not required to maintain either a trust account or post a bond. All sellers, however, that receive a payment from one passenger may not use that money to buy travel on behalf of another passenger or to pay for rent, overhead, or any personal use, until such time as it has delivered to you the goods and services that you have purchased.

For more information, please see Business and Professions Code sections 17550.15, 17550.16., 17550.11.

What is a seller of travel trust account?

A trust account is separate from an operating or general account. A trust account is a business checking account which you designate as your seller of travel trust account. The trust account is used to deposit consumer funds and to pay your travel service providers (i.e. consolidators, wholesalers, airline companies, etc.). The trust account cannot be used for business and personal expenses, or to pay the seller of travel registration fee. Only after you have paid your travel service providers, you may withdraw your commissions. The operating account is used to pay out salaries, utilities, and such other operational expenses. You may not co-mingle the two accounts. For example, you may not pay salaries out of your trust account. Disbursement of trust funds for purposes other than payment for goods and services, or to make refunds, may constitute a crime. In addition, you may not pay your registration fee from any seller of travel trust account.

For more information, please see Business and Professions Code section 17550.15 subdivision (b).

What is an adequate seller of travel bond?

An adequate bond must at all times be no less than at least equal to the amount required to be held in the trust account. You should make appropriate upward adjustments to your estimates and surety bond as circumstances change. The Attorney General's Office may require documentation of your sales volume to prove your surety bond amount is sufficient.

Your surety bond issuer must be a company that is admitted by the State of California to issue surety bonds in California. Such a company is known as an "Admitted Surety Bond Company." Check with any prospective issuer of a surety bond which you intend to use to see if it is admitted to write surety bonds in California or contact the California Department of Insurance.

Maintenance of a United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) bond meets the seller of travel financial requirement as well.

For more information, please see Business and Professions Code section 17550.11.

Are there any exemptions from the trust account requirements?

Under certain circumstances, a seller of travel may be exempt from the trust account requirements. For example, instead of a trust account, a seller of travel may post a bond, participate in a Consumer Protection Deposit Plan (CPDP), or use a Consumer Protection Escrow Plan (CPEP). In addition, under specific circumstances, registered sellers of travel, who are participants in TCRF, who are officially appointed as ARC agents, who have been in business under the same ownership for three years, who are located in California and engage in retail transactions with persons in California, and who forward 100% of passenger funds to (1) a registered seller of travel who is also a participant in TCRF, (2) the Airlines Reporting Corporation, or (3) the trust account, CPDP, or CPEP of a registered seller of travel, may be exempt from the trust account requirements.

For more information, please see Business and Professions Code section 17550.16.

What is a Seller of Travel Attestation?

An Attestation is an easy way for sellers of travel to renew their registration when there have been no changes to their business since the last registration. Depending on the seller of travel’s type of business entity, Form 100 or Form 100-A is required with the Attestation.

If there have been changes to the business since the last registration, a seller of travel must complete a Registration Renewal Form instead of an Attestation.

For more information, please see Business and Professions Code section 17550.21 subdivision (j).

Where do I submit my completed Seller of Travel forms?

All forms can be emailed, faxed or mailed.

Email: sellers.travel@doj.ca.gov
Fax: (213) 897-8846
Mailing Address:
Seller of Travel Program
Department of Justice
300 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

All forms are located on the Forms Page of the Attorney General's website

How long will it take to process my Seller of Travel forms?

It can take up to fourteen (14) business days to process your seller of travel forms. All forms can be emailed, faxed or mailed.

Email: sellers.travel@doj.ca.gov
Fax: (213) 897-8846
Mailing Address:
Seller of Travel Program
Department of Justice
300 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

All forms are located on the Forms Page of the Attorney General's website

Do I need to notify the Seller of Travel Program if I am no longer in business?

Yes. If you close your seller of travel business, submit a Withdrawal Form (Form 200), which should be submitted in advance of the closure of your business. There is no fee to submit the Withdrawal Form. All seller of travel forms are located on our website. Once you have completed the form, please submit it to our office by email, fax or mail:

Email: sellers.travel@doj.ca.gov
Fax: (213) 897-8846
Mailing Address:
Seller of Travel Program
Department of Justice
300 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Once you withdraw, you will not be able to engage in any activity for which a Seller of Travel registration is required. Should you wish to reopen your business, or otherwise act as a seller of travel, you will be required to submit a new registration application.

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