Under California Rule of Court Rule 9.9.5, all active attorneys licensed in California must be re-fingerprinted. For active attorneys, the timely deadline to be fingerprinted was April 30, 2019 after which the State Bar began to assess penalties in accordance to the State Bar’s penalty schedule. To avoid being placed on Involuntary Inactive status and being listed in State Bar records as “Not Eligible to Practice,” attorneys must be fingerprinted on or before December 1, 2019* in accordance with the instructions below:
» Request Fingerprint Cards from the State Bar
» Re-ordering Fingerprint Cards
» Obtain Fingerprints from a Law Enforcement Agency or Fingerprinting
» Obtain a Receipt for Fingerprint Cards Purchased on My State Bar Profile
» Proof of Fingerprint Cards Submission
» Rejection of Fingerprint Cards Submitted
» Fingerprint Card Refund Request
» Return to Fingerprinting Rule Requirements Menu
» Return to My State Bar Profile
Request Fingerprint Cards from the State Bar Back to Top
If you live outside California you must obtain prepopulated fingerprint cards issued by the State Bar.
To request fingerprint cards:
The State Bar will mail you two prepopulated fingerprint cards to your preferred mailing address or the address on record. Once the payment is received, the fingerprints cards will be mailed to you within 15 business days from the date of the initial payment. The type of payment used affects how quickly the State Bar receives confirmation of a successful payment. Credit card payments result in a shorter processing time. You will receive notification through an email notice whether the payment transaction was completed or rejected.
Out-of-state and out-of-country attorneys have two options in order to comply with the fingerprinting requirements. They can obtain a fingerprint card and proceed with the steps outlined above, or they can use a Live Scan vendor in California if they visit the state.
However, in the event an attorney’s Live Scan fingerprints are rejected by the DOJ and/or FBI, the attorney must return to a Live Scan vendor in California to resubmit their fingerprints without new processing charges. If the attorney chooses not to return to a California Live Scan vendor, they must be fingerprinted using a fingerprint card, which will result in additional costs.
Re-ordering Fingerprint Cards Back to Top
Attorneys who have already paid for their fingerprint cards and misplaced, damaged, or never received their cards may request an additional set of cards online via their My State Bar Profile. Attorneys will enter their My State Bar Profile, locate the Fingerprinting Rule Compliance Documents link on the main page and then select Request Fingerprint Card for Out-of-State Residents Only. It is encouraged that attorneys confirm their mailing address before submitting their fingerprint cards request. The fingerprints cards will be mailed to attorneys within 15 business days from the date of the request.
Obtain Fingerprints from a Law Enforcement Agency or Fingerprinting Vendor Back to Top
Once you have received the two prepopulated fingerprint cards, you must take the following steps to ensure that your fingerprints are properly submitted to the DOJ and FBI:
Obtain a Receipt for Fingerprint Cards Purchased on My State Bar Profile Back to Top
A receipt can be obtained via your My State Bar Profile. Please follow the steps below:
Proof of Fingerprint Cards Submission Back to Top
Fingerprint cards mailed to the State Bar must be postmarked by December 1, 2019*, before the second penalty period begins.
DOJ and FBI fingerprint card processing times can vary. Due to the length of time to process fingerprint cards and potential delays at the DOJ and FBI, out-of-state attorneys are encouraged to submit completed fingerprint cards as soon as possible.
» See more information on the background check process and potential causes for delay (DOJ website)
Rejection of Fingerprints Cards Submitted Back to Top
Once received, the State Bar will review the fingerprint cards for accuracy and completion. Once assessed and approved for submission, one fingerprint card will be mailed to the DOJ and another card will be kept on file at the State Bar. The DOJ coordinates with the FBI to conduct background checks. In the event of DOJ and/or FBI rejection, the State Bar will send the DOJ the second fingerprint card on file.
State Bar policy is to destroy fingerprint cards on file for attorneys that satisfy the fingerprint rule requirement. Once the State Bar is notified of the attorney’s criminal history information or clearance, the second fingerprint card on file will be destroyed.
Fingerprint Card Refund Request Back to Top
Refunds are available for fingerprint card request purchases when the attorney has chosen to travel to California and submit fingerprints through a California Live Scan vendor. An attorney must request a refund prior to submitting completed fingerprint cards to the State Bar. If fingerprint cards were sent to the State Bar, the attorney must contact the State Bar's Office of Attorney Regulation and Consumer Resources as soon as possible and inquire whether the fingerprint cards were mailed to the state DOJ. Once fingerprint cards are sent to the DOJ, the attorney is no longer eligible to receive a refund.
Email the completed refund form to the State Bar with the subject line: Fingerprint Cards Refund Request and include the attorney's Bar number.
*The fingerprinting deadline falls on Sunday, December 1, 2019. Please note that Active attorneys who still have not complied by day’s end on Monday, December 2, 2019, will be enrolled as Involuntarily Inactive effective December 3, 2019.
Back to TopReturn to Fingerprinting Rule Requirements Menu