Unique Serial Number Application
Commencing January 1, 2019, a new resident to the state shall apply to the Department of Justice (Department) for a unique serial number within 60 days of arrival for any firearm the resident wishes to possess in the state that the resident previously self-manufactured or self-assembled or a firearm the resident owns, that does not have a unique serial number or other mark of identification.
Additionally, as of July 1, 2018, prior to manufacturing or assembling a firearm, a person shall apply to the Department for a unique serial number.
Please refer to California Penal Code sections 29180-29184 and the California Code of Regulations, title 11, division 5, chapter 41 (Regulations regarding Identifying Info and the USNA Process and Emergency Regulations regarding Firearms: Identifying Info – Existing and New California Residents) for complete instructions on the process and information regarding firearms that are eligible for a unique serial number prior to 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). Access CFARS at https://cfars.doj.ca.gov.
Please note: Prior to processing your application, you will be required to mail or fax a copy of your California driver license or identification card (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4045.1) along with applicable documentation within thirty (30) days of application submission. If you present a federal non-compliant California driver license or identification card with the notation “FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY” on the front, you shall also submit proof of lawful presence in the United States, in the form of one of the following documents:
- Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card.
- Certified copy of U.S. birth certificate.
- Certification of Birth Abroad (FS-545), Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350) or Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (FS-240), issued by the U.S. Department of State.
- Valid, unexpired foreign passport with valid U.S. immigrant visa and approved Record of Arrival/Departure (I-94) form.
- Certified copy of birth certificate from a U.S. Territory.
- Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. Citizenship.
- Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card. (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4045.1)
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 submit one of the following certified documents:
- An adoption document that contains your legal name as a result of the adoption.
- A name change document that contains your legal name both before and, as a result of, the name change.
- A marriage certificate.
- A dissolution of marriage document that contains your legal name as a result of the court action.
- A certificate, declaration or registration document verifying the formation of a domestic partnership.
- A dissolution of domestic partnership document that contains your legal name as a result of the court action. (Cal. Code Reg., tit. 11, § 4045.1)
Fees Associated With Obtaining a Unique Serial Number
The initial fee for submitting an application for a unique serial number is $35. This fee will cover the $20 cost for the firearms eligibility check conducted by the Department and the request for one unique serial number for one firearm through CFARS. If you have multiple self-manufactured or self-assembled firearms, 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.
What to Expect After Submission of the Application
Once the application is submitted and received, the Department will notify you via the CFARS and/or U.S. mail whether you are eligible or ineligible to receive a unique serial number. If you are approved, you must engrave the assigned serial number on the firearm within the associated timeframe (new CA residents who previously manufactured/assembled or anyone who intends to) and are required to upload images through CFARS. Sample images may be viewed here.