Please note, as of July 25, 2023, the Department made updates to the Unique Serial Number Application on the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS). Applications can now be submitted through the updated system.
On June 30, 2022, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1621 (stats. 2022, ch. 76), to halt the sale of unserialized firearm precursor parts in California and to ensure that individuals who already possess unserialized firearms or firearm precursor parts obtain a serial number from the California Department of Justice (Department).
The following individuals are required to apply to the Department for a serial number to ensure that every individual in possession of an unserialized firearm or firearm precursor part is lawfully eligible to possess a firearm and every privately made firearm is uniquely identified:
Pursuant to AB 1621's amendments to California Penal Code sections 23920 and 23925, knowingly possessing a firearm or firearm precursor part that does not have a valid state or federal serial number or mark of identification on or after January 1, 2024 is generally a misdemeanor crime. Thus, any person who owns or possesses a firearm or firearm precursor part that does not have a valid state or federal serial number or mark of identification shall apply to the Department for a serial number no later than January 1, 2024.
A new resident of California with a firearm or firearm precursor part that does not have a valid state or federal serial number or mark of identification shall apply to the Department for a serial number within 60 days after arriving in the state. Additionally, applications must be submitted before manufacturing or assembling a firearm, including a completed frame or receiver, that does not already have a valid state or federal serial number or mark of identification imprinted on the frame or receiver.
Please refer to California Penal Code sections 29180-29185 and the California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 41 for complete instructions before starting the application process.
The Unique Serial Number Application shall be submitted via the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS) to request unique serial number(s). You can access CFARS at https://cfars.doj.ca.gov.
Please note: You will be required to upload your California driver license or identification card along with applicable documentation to complete your Unique Serial Number Application in CFARS to request unique serial number(s) (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4045.1).
If you possess a federal non-compliant California driver license or identification card with the notation “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” on the front, you shall also upload proof of lawful presence in the United States, in the form of one of the following documents:
If your name, as it appears on the federal non-compliant California driver license or identification card differs from the name on the proof of lawful presence document(s) above, you shall also upload one of the following certified documents:
The initial fee for submitting an application for a unique serial number is $46.19. This fee will cover the $31.19 cost for the firearms eligibility check conducted by the Department and the request for one unique serial number for one firearm or firearm precursor part.
If you have multiple unserialized firearms or firearm precursor parts, or if you intend to manufacture or assemble multiple firearms, you may request multiple unique serial numbers during the same transaction. The fee for each subsequent unique serial number within the same transaction is $15. There is no limit to the number of unique serial numbers that an applicant may request within a single application and corresponding transaction. However, effective January 1, 2023, California Penal Code section 29010 prohibits a person from manufacturing more than three firearms in a calendar year unless that person is a licensed manufacturer.
Once the completed application is submitted, the Department will notify you via electronic notification in CFARS and/or U.S. mail whether you are eligible or ineligible to receive a unique serial number. If you are ineligible to possess, receive, own, or purchase a firearm or if the Department is unable to conclusively determine that you are eligible, you will receive a denial notification explaining the reason and how to challenge the Department’s determination or the completeness of your records.
If you are approved, you must engrave the assigned serial number on the firearm or firearm precursor part within the required deadline (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, §§ 5518, 5520) and upload required images through CFARS (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 5521). Sample images may be viewed here.
For applications received before January 1, 2024, the Department will grant or deny the applicant’s request for a unique serial number within 180 calendar days after it receives the application.
For applications received on or after January 1, 2024, the Department will grant or deny the applicant’s request for a unique serial number within 90 calendar days after it receives the application.