Updates and Answers

Do you have questions and need answers?

Keep up to date on the latest California Notary laws!

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Let us be the connection between you, the notary, and the California Secretary of State.

Our Blog offers frequently asked questions, answers, and updates from the California Secretary of State.

In addition, we give Best Practices Tips to help the notary.

Topics include steps to becoming a California notary, filing information, notary tools, and other requirements.

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Must I Submit Fingerprints via Live Scan for a Background Check?

Submit Fingerprints via Live Scan

We are asked frequently about having the background check and how to go about it.

  • The thing to remember is the live scan fingerprinting is the only thing you have to do to begin the background check.
  • Once the live scan is complete the results are sent to the FBI and CA DOJ, then the findings are sent to the Secretary of State.

Below is information from the Secretary of State's website.

  • Prior to granting commissions as notaries public, applicants must complete a background check. To assist in determining the fitness of the applicants to hold the position of notary public, applicants are legally required to be fingerprinted. (Government Code section 8201.1.) Applicants must have their fingerprints taken within one year of the exam date. If fingerprints are not taken within one year of the exam date the applicant will be required to retest.
  • Applicants must submit one set of classifiable fingerprints, acceptable to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) for each notary public commission term. Fingerprints must be submitted electronically through the DOJ's Live Scan Program that takes and transmits fingerprints to the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Request for Live Scan Service (PDF) form is available online (NOTE: Internet Explorer works best on my computer; on Firefox the form is blank; you may need to try other browsers).

Important: A notary public commission will not be issued until a report from the DOJ and the FBI is received stating that there is no criminal history.

  • If the report identifies any criminal history, a notary public commission will not be issued until the criminal history is reviewed, evaluated, and found to be non-disqualifying.

For Live Scan locations and business hours see the DOJ's website at https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations.

You must bring the following to the Live Scan site:

  • A completed Request For Live Scan Service (PDF) form.
  • A current photo identification.
  • A fingerprint processing fee and an additional rolling fee.

Call the Live Scan site to verify the amount of the rolling fee.

  • Be sure to request a copy of your Request For Live Scan Service form and keep your copy until you receive your notary public commission.
  • It is not necessary to mail a copy to the Secretary of State; the information will be transmitted electronically by DOJ.

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