Fingerprinting FAQ's

Why is the Board requiring applicants to be fingerprinted?

The mission of the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (Board) is to diligently protect the life, health, property, and welfare of the public. By conducting a background check for licensees, the Board ensures standards for licensure and actively enforces laws and regulations while educating licensees and consumers.
Title 16, California Code of Regulations (CCR) Sections 420.1 and 3021.1 read, in part, “Pursuant to Section 144 of the Business and Professions Code (B&P Code), the Board has authority to obtain and review criminal offender record information.” Please refer to 16 CCR §420.1 and 16 CCR §3021.1 for further information.

Who must be fingerprinted?

16 CCR §420.1(g) states that “This section shall apply to all applicants, including those applicants who submit applications pursuant to Sections 6750, 6758, 6759, 6760, 6763, 6796.3, 8740, 8746, 8748, and 8803 of the Business and Professions Code and Section 424.5 of Division 5 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations.”
16 CCR §3021.1(g) states that “This section shall apply to all applicants, including those applicants who submit applications pursuant to Sections 7840, 7841, 7841.1, 7841.2, 7842, 7842.1, 7843, 7846, 7847, 7848, 7848.1, and 7884 of the Business and Professions Code.”

What if I don’t want to be fingerprinted?

16 CCR §420.1(e) and 16 CCR §3021.1(e) state, “Failure to comply with the requirements of this section renders the application for license incomplete, and the application shall not be considered until the applicant demonstrates compliance with all requirements of this section.”

I am applying for an EIT/LSIT/GIT certificate, which is not a license. Do I still have to be fingerprinted?

Yes. 16 CCR §420.1(h) and CCR §3021.1(h) read, in part, “As used in this section, “license” includes certification as …” an engineer-in-training or a land surveyor-in-training or a geologist-in-training.

Once I am fingerprinted for EIT/LSIT/GIT will I have to get fingerprinted again when I apply for my PE/PS/PG license?

No. Once you have submitted fingerprints to the Board and they have been verified as valid, you do not need to submit fingerprints again with subsequent applications. 

I HAVE ALREADY SUBMITTED FINGERPRINTS TO THE BOARD FOR A PREVIOUS APPLICATION, DO I NEED TO SUBMIT THEM FOR EACH SUBSEQUENT APPLICATION THAT I FILE WITH THE BOARD?

No. Once you have submitted fingerprints to the Board and they have been verified as valid, you do not need to submit fingerprints again with subsequent applications. 

How do I get fingerprinted?

In California, the process is completed using Live Scan, which is an electronic fingerprinting process. Your prints will be sent to both the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to search for any criminal history. Out-of-state applicants may submit the traditional paper fingerprint cards approved to be used in California (see question below) or come to California to use Live Scan.

I don’t live in California; how can I get paper fingerprint cards?

If you live out-of-state, you may request a set of fingerprint cards via our online request form. You will receive two (2) traditional paper fingerprint cards approved to be used in California. Please allow up to 10 business days to receive the fingerprint cards in the mail.
You will take the fingerprint cards to your local law enforcement agency to have your fingerprints rolled (a rolling fee may be required). Both fingerprint cards must be submitted to the Board upon submittal of application for licensure or certification. The background check must be completed before a license or certificate can be issued.

Do I have to pay for the fingerprint process?

Yes. 16 CCR 420.1(c) and 16 CCR 3021.1(c) state, “The applicant shall pay any costs for furnishing the fingerprints and conducting the searches.” If you live in California, you are required to pay the Live Scan operator the $49 processing fees ($32 DOJ and $17 FBI), as well as the Live Scan “rolling” fee. The rolling fees vary because each Live Scan location sets its own fee. The listing of Live Scan Locations includes information about the rolling fee for each location.
If you live out-of-state and are using fingerprint cards, you would pay the rolling fee to the law enforcement agency that is rolling your prints. Send both cards back to the Board with a check or money order for $49 to cover the processing fees ($32 DOJ and $17 FBI) along with your application.

Do I send separate checks for fingerprints and the application, or can I write one check for the total amount owed?

One check is preferred.

I have already been fingerprinted previously from another agency/entity; can the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists access those prints?

No. Federal law allows a Criminal Records Report to be released only to the requesting agency. You will need to undergo the fingerprinting and criminal history check process again specifically for the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists.

Do I have to get fingerprinted if I am renewing my license?

No. At this time the law only provides that any “New” applicants for licensure furnish a full set of fingerprints.

What do I do if my fingerprints get rejected?

You will be contacted by our office with instructions for you to follow based on the reason for rejection.

Questions About Criminal Convictions

Must I disclose all criminal convictions, even minor offenses in college?

You must disclose all convictions as well as all cases in which you pled guilty or nolo contendere, even if they have been dismissed or expunged pursuant to Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code. Please refer to 16 CCR §416 and §3060 for more information regarding criminal convictions.
Applicants should be aware that the Board receives information regarding actions that have been dismissed or expunged, and the application forms advise applicants to disclose all prior convictions including those that have been dismissed or expunged. If in doubt as to whether a conviction should be disclosed, it is best to disclose the conviction on the application. Please be aware, the Board will be notified of all future criminal actions through subsequent reports from the DOJ and/or FBI.

What happens if I fail to disclose information on a criminal conviction?

As an applicant, you are personally responsible for all information disclosed on your application. Failure to disclose a conviction is considered to be a violation of the law. Failure to disclose a conviction may subject you to disciplinary action up to and including denial of licensure/certification or revocation of the license/certificate if the failure to disclose is discovered after the license/certificate is issued.

What information/records should I provide with my application if I have a criminal conviction and how should I provide it?

You must respond “Yes” when asked if you have committed of a crime in Section 4 of the application even if it was expunged or dismissed (see answer above). You are required to attach a written statement disclosing all pleas/convictions and thoroughly explain in your own words the acts or circumstances which resulted in the plea/conviction.
Applicants must also provide certified copies of the court records, including the complaint, complete docket, judgment and sentence and probation reports, if any, for all convictions. You may also be asked to provide copies of police and/or other investigating agency reports, as well as certified copies of decisions from other state or federal agencies, if applicable. Providing these documents will assist the Board in processing the application as quickly as possible.

I was arrested but not convicted of a crime. How should I respond to the criminal Record question?

You are not required to disclose an arrest which did not result in a conviction.

How might a criminal conviction affect my application for licensure or certification?

The Board is unable to provide legal advice to applicants or their representatives. Every situation is unique and is addressed on an individual basis at the time the application is reviewed. The Board reviews each conviction based not only on the conviction itself in relation to the statutes, but also on the underlying issues that led to the conviction.
A conviction that does not, at first glance, appear to be substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of an engineer, land surveyor, or geologist may, under closer scrutiny, be revealed otherwise. All information related to an applicant’s criminal history is considered. The specific conviction; when it occurred; the circumstances surrounding the conviction; the number of convictions; compliance with the court’s terms and conditions; and rehabilitation are all factors considered when determining an applicant’s eligibility for licensure.
Further information can be found in the regulations relating to Substantial Relationship Criteria, 16 CCR §416 and 16 CCR §3060, and Criteria for Rehabilitation, 16 CCR §418 and 16 CCR §3061.

How can I demonstrate rehabilitation?

Applicants are given the opportunity to explain any criminal conviction. You may be asked to do this in writing. In addition to providing an explanation, you may provide evidence of rehabilitation such as counseling, gainful employment, completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program, etc.
Further information can be found in the regulations relating to Criteria for Rehabilitation, 16 CCR §418 and 16 CCR §3061.

What if I get denied licensure?

If your application has been denied, you have the right to appeal the denial by requesting a Statement of Issues hearing, pursuant to the California Administrative Procedure Act (Government Code section 11370, et seq.).  Engineering and land surveying applicants must submit a written request for a hearing within 60 days of the date of denial, pursuant to 16 CCR §429 (e).  Geologist and geophysicist applicants must submit a written request for a hearing within 30 days of the date of denial, pursuant to B&P Code §7855.

What can I do to ensure that my application will not experience any unnecessary delays?

Please be aware that the number one reason that an application may be denied is the applicant's failure to accurately disclose his/her conviction record. Therefore, checking the "Yes" box when appropriate and providing the required information regarding each conviction are the most important things that an applicant can do to avoid unnecessary delays. In addition, responding promptly if contacted by staff will help.

I still have more questions. How can I obtain more specific information?

If you have any other questions about the fingerprint process you can contact Arsha Qasmi, our fingerprint coordinator, by email at bpelsg.fingerprint.questions@dca.ca.gov or by calling (916) 263-2325.