Instructions on How to Apply for a California Professional Land Surveyor License

California grants the authority to use the title "Professional Land Surveyor" to licensed land surveyors who successfully complete an examination process. This application is required with evidence of experience and references.

The address you use on the application will be your address of record. Licensees' names and addresses are public records and are published in both electronic and print media, as well as disclosed upon request to the Board. You may choose to use a home address, a post office box, or a business address. If you wish to change your address of record for your civil license, use the Address Change Affidavit.

This information is a summary of some of the important requirements relating to certification to use the title "Professional Land Surveyor." It is not intended to apply to every situation. You are responsible for complying with the current complete requirements in the Professional Land Surveyors' Act and the Board Rules and Regulations.

Information Regarding the New Application Process

Each applicant for authority to use the title "Professional Land Surveyor" must:

  • Pass the Land Surveyor-in-Training (LSIT) examination, unless eligible for a waiver (see criteria on next page).
  • Provide evidence showing six years of equivalent full-time experience in land surveying, including other credits, with one year each being responsible field and responsible office training
  • Pass the national examination on the principles and practices of land surveying.
  • Pass the state-specific examination on land surveying.
  • Pass the Take Home examination on the California Laws and Board Rules.
  • Pay the required fee.

Neither U.S. citizenship nor California residence is required. However, disclosure of your social security number or individual taxpayer identification number is mandatory. U.S. citizens who do not have a social security number may contact their local United States Social Security Office at 1-800-722-1213 or Non-U.S. citizens without a social security number may request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Department of Treasury (Internal Revenue Service) at (215) 516-4846 or

An applicant for licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor must meet the educational and experience requirements outlined in section 8742 of the Business and Professions Code, and section 425 of title 16 of the California Code of Regulations. The experience requirements must be met under the immediate direction and supervision of a Professional Land Surveyor or a Civil Engineer who is authorized to practice land surveying. Each applicant shall be granted credit towards the six years of qualifying experience based on no more than one of the following alternatives (they may not be combined):

  • A maximum of four years experience will be granted for graduation from a Board-approved curriculum with an emphasis in land surveying. Sealed transcripts must be provided to receive experience credit.
  • One-half year of experience will be granted for each year of study in a Board-approved curriculum without graduation. Sealed transcripts must be provided to receive experience credit.

The LSIT requirement (see section 8741 of the PLS Act) may be waived provided an applicant meets any one of the following conditions:

  • Has a valid license as a Civil Engineer in California.
  • Is a graduate of an approved four-year land surveying curriculum and submits satisfactory evidence of 15 years or more of qualifying experience. Proof of graduation (transcripts) must be submitted.
  • Is a graduate of a non-approved land surveying curriculum, with a B.S. degree or equivalent, and submits satisfactory evidence of 17 years or more of qualifying experience. Proof of graduation (transcripts) must be submitted.
  • Holds a valid LSIT certificate from another state.
  • To apply for a waiver of the LSIT exam, you must complete the Professional Land Surveyor Application form and check the box indicating that you are specifically seeking a waiver. Documents to substantiate that you meet the above requirements must be included with the application.

An applicant who obtained licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor in another state by taking and passing the national Land Surveyor examination must complete the application and pass the four-hour California State-Specific Land Surveyor examination to become licensed to practice in California. Please check the box for comity ONLY if you hold a valid Professional Land Surveyor license in another state. You must use the verification system available through NCEES to provide verification of your licensure and examination from the other state(s). You will need to log in to your MyNCEES account (or create one) and then follow the directions there to request verification be sent to California by the other state(s). You must also submit your completed Take Home Examination with your application.

If you are a licensed civil engineer and wish to apply for licensure a a Professional Land Surveyor, you must submit a complete application demonstrating that you have two years of actual broad based progressive experience in land surveying, as required by Section 8742 of the Business and Professions Code and Section 425 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations. You must meet all other requirements including taking and passing the required examinations and submittal of a full set of fingerprints if you have not already submitted them with your application for licensure as a civil engineer.

ALL MATERIAL MUST BE SUBMITTED FOR THE APPLICATION TO BE CONSIDERED COMPLETE. This application must demonstrate that you are fully qualified to be licensed as a professional land surveyor.

The Board no longer directly handles requests for special accommodations at examinations. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) oversees this procedure. If you have a need for special testing accommodations due to religious beliefs or for reasons falling within the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you must contact NCEES regarding your request. ALL requests must be submitted to NCEES by the final filing date of the examination for which you are applying. NOTE: You must request special accommodations for each examination administration cycle, even if none of the information has changed since the last request. Information regarding the process for requesting special accommodations is available on the NCEES website. Do NOT contact the Board to request special accommodations; you must contact NCEES.

An applicant must pass both the six-hour national written examination and the four-hour state-specific written examination designed to test ability to apply knowledge of and experience in the principles and practices of land surveying, which includes but is not limited to photogrammetry, control surveys and boundary and easement descriptions, etc. In addition to these two examinations, he or she must pass an examination on the Rules and Regulations of the Board's laws. Each applicant should be familiar with the provisions of the Manual of Instructions for the Survey of the Public Lands of the United States, the Subdivision Map Act, current practices related to boundary evidence and procedures, principles of real property relating to boundaries and conveyancing, the California Coordinate System, the common laws regarding land surveys, the Professional Land Surveyors' Act, and the Rules and Regulations of the Board.

It is the applicant's responsibility to complete the NCEES registration process and submit a complete application package. A partial application packet will not be considered for evaluation and/or examination.

A complete application packet must contain the application, application fee, engagement record and reference forms, a minimum of four references in land surveying, and sealed college transcripts (foreign transcripts must be translated into English. You may provide your own envelopes for the Record and Reference Forms.

NOTE: The Board has the authority to seek such other information pertinent to the education and experience of the applicant as may be required to verify his or her qualifications. The Board suggests you keep copies of all materials sent to this Board for your files.

CANCELLATION OF APPLICATION AND FORFEITURE OF FEE (see section 428 of the Board Rules) will result if you fail to respond to requests for information within 90 days following the mailing of such request.

PHOTO ID In order to gain entrance into the examination, a photo ID is required and you will not be admitted without one. Identification will NOT BE ACCEPTED UNLESS IT MEETS ALL of the following criteria:

  1. Issued by a state or federal governmental agency (including other U.S. states and foreign countries) [Student identification cards or employee identification cards will NOT be accepted]
  2. Contains your photograph
  3. Contains your visible signature
  4. Contains your printed (typed) name
  5. Other materials required by testing vendor (Examination Authorization, etc.)

If you do not have identification which meets ALL of the above criteria, you will NOT be allowed to sit for the examination. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS