Law requires that school districts and county offices of education obtain Department of Justice fingerprint clearance for all new employees. To help districts do so, the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) operates a Live Scan Fingerprinting machine. This machine scans fingerprints and sends them electronically to the Department of Justice.
How to Get Fingerprints
- Appointments are often available within two days. During busy times—for instance, July through September—it could take longer.
- Contact the Fingerprint Technician at (707) 524-2812 to schedule an appointment.
- Bring these three items to your appointment.
Request for Live Scan Services form: This form is provided by the district/agency requesting your fingerprints.
A valid photo ID: A current driver's license is one example. Expired identification will not be accepted.
The exact fee: Payment can be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover), debit card, or check. Make check payable to SCOE for the exact amount. The agency asking for your fingerprint clearance can tell you the amount of the fee.
- Your fingerprints will be submitted electronically to the DOJ and, if needed, to the FBI. It may take up to seven working days to receive the DOJ clearance. During the busiest times of year – July, August, and September – it may take longer. If you have not lived in California for the past year, were born before 1945, or need FBI clearance, results may take much longer.
- If you are being fingerprinted for the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, you will receive two copies of the Request for Live Scan Services. One copy is for your records. The other copy should be submitted with your application for a credential or permit as proof that a request for fingerprint clearance has been filed. Please keep a copy for your records. We cannot replace your copy.
- If the clearance is for SCOE, a postcard will be mailed to you once your clearance is received. It is usually sent within seven working days of the date you were fingerprinted. Please bring this postcard with you when coming to the office to complete your substitute application process.
- All other clearances will be sent directly to your district or agency. Please do not call SCOE for clearance results. If the results are forwarded to SCOE, you will receive a postcard when clearance has been received.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make an appointment?
Contact the Fingerprint Technician at (707) 524-2812. We will schedule it as soon as possible, normally within a couple of days. During our busiest times (July through September), it could take longer.
What do I need to bring to my fingerprinting appointment?
Please bring the following items:
- Request for Live Scan Services form;
- A valid government issued picture identification (such as a driver’s license); and
- The exact fee. Payment can be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover), debit card, or check made payable to SCOE for the exact amount. The agency requesting your fingerprint clearance can tell you the fee amount.
How do I get the Request for Live Scan Services form?
Applicants get instructions and the Request for Live Scan Services form from the agency requiring the fingerprint check. Substitute teachers may get this form at the substitute orientation meeting.
What if I can’t keep my appointment?
If you cannot keep your scheduled appointment, please contact us immediately by calling (707) 524-2812.
Can I use the same set of fingerprints for different agencies?
No. This information is confidential and cannot be shared with any other agency unless allowed by law (Penal Code Section 11142). For this reason, an applicant must be fingerprinted each time he or she applies to another agency for a license or job.
How are fingerprint fees determined?
The fee varies depending on the type of clearance required, whether it is for DOJ clearance only or for both DOJ and FBI clearance. It also depends on if the clearance is needed for more than one agency. To learn about your fee amount, call (707) 524-2812.
Fingerprint fees are sometimes paid by the district/agency requesting a criminal history review, but applicants may have to pay themselves. Please check with your requesting agency to find out about the payment process.
How long will it take to get fingerprint clearance?
On the day of your appointment, your fingerprints will be submitted electronically to the DOJ and/or FBI. It generally takes about seven working days to receive DOJ clearance, except during busy times of year (July, August, and September). If you have not lived in California for the past year or were born before 1945, clearance results are often delayed. Fingerprint processing time for the FBI takes much longer – 30 to 60 days. Note that the FBI does not offer a faster service.
Why does clearance time vary so much?
The time varies depending on whether or not a criminal record exists. To provide the most complete information, a response may be delayed while the DOJ or FBI contacts other agencies for more data. A delay may also occur if a record is temporarily unavailable. A delay does not necessarily imply a criminal record.
If you were born in 1945 or before, there will be a delay. This is because those records are not in the electronic system and require a manual review. There may also be a delay if you have recently submitted hard-copy fingerprint cards for another agency.
How will I be notified when my fingerprints are cleared?
If the clearance is for SCOE’s use (SCOE employment or inclusion in the Central Substitute System), a postcard will be mailed to you. Please bring this postcard with you when coming to the office to complete your application.
All other clearances are sent directly to your district/agency or the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Who do I call if my clearance has been delayed?
Please do not ask about clearances for at least seven days. After seven days, ask your employer or the agency that sent you to be fingerprinted. SCOE staff does not have access to clearance information and the DOJ does not take calls from individual applicants. The DOJ goes through a lot—about 4,000 fingerprints — a day. For this reason, they cannot return phone calls from licensing or employing agencies before the allowed processing time has elapsed (seven days).
If you do not get a written response or phone call within this time frame, please ask your agency to send in an Applicant Fingerprint Card Follow-up Request, Form BCII 8043.
Who should I contact if I have questions?
You should contact your employing or licensing agency for information about applications or fingerprints.
What does a district/agency need to do to get fingerprint clearances on their employees?
To use the Live Scan service, districts/agencies must get an "ORI number" from the DOJ. A billing number may also be obtained, which provides direct billing for some fingerprint charges. Email notification is also available upon request, which will provide record clearance information quickly and efficiently. Interested districts and agencies should contact the DOJ for an ORI number, billing number, and/or email notification approval.
If an applicant’s fingerprints have been rejected, how can a district/agency get a record clearance?
The DOJ conducts two record searches on all fingerprints. The first is a name search based on name, date of birth, and any identifying information given (such as social security or driver’s license numbers). A name search is not a positive identification method. The second is a fingerprint search based solely on fingerprint impressions, which is a positive identification method. Sometimes fingerprint impressions are of such poor quality they cannot be searched in the fingerprint database. In this case, the fingerprint submission is rejected and a fingerprint clearance cannot be provided. Each agency must make its own decision whether to use the results of the name search exclusively as the basis for clearance.