Fingerprint Requirement for License Renewal

Regulations require the submission of fingerprints upon license renewal. Due to a change in the regulations, fingerprints are now checked by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Prior to 2007, background checks were only processed through DOJ. If your license was issued prior to April 1, 2007 and you were fingerprinted by the Board, you are still required to submit fingerprints. Live Scan is required for California residents and a Manual Fingerprint Card is required for non-California residents.

Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question below to view the answer:

  1. Why are Optometrists being required to be fingerprinted?
  2. When did the Board start fingerprinting licensees?
  3. Am I required to be fingerprinted?
  4. Should I contact the Board to determine if my fingerprint records are on file?
  5. What should I do if I'm not sure if I've been fingerprinted for the Board?
  6. Do I need to wait until my renewal is due to be fingerprinted?
  7. How do I go about completing the fingerprint requirement?
  8. How do I obtain the Live Scan form?
  9. How do I obtain fingerprint cards (hard cards)?
  10. I live outside of California. Can I submit Live Scan fingerprints?
  11. Will you accept Live Scan fingerprints that are completed in another state?
  12. What is the cost for fingerprinting?
  13. Where can I go to have Live Scan fingerprints completed?
  14. I was fingerprinted by my employer, school or other state agency. Do I need to be fingerprinted for the California Board?
  15. I submitted fingerprints as part of a Board disciplinary process. Do I need to submit additional fingerprints?
  16. I am renewing my Optometry license in an inactive status; do I have to be fingerprinted to renew inactive?
  17. My license has been expired for 8 or more years. Do I need to be fingerprinted when I submit my renewal?
  18. Will my license renewal be placed on hold until a fingerprint clearance is received by the Board?
  19. I received a letter from the Board stating I failed to answer or comply with the fingerprint requirement. What do I need to do?
  20. If I answer "No" or do not respond to the fingerprint question on the renewal application what will happen to my renewal?
  21. I submitted my renewal and answered "No" to the fingerprint question. I now have completed and submitted my fingerprints. What will happen with my renewal?
  22. What is considered proof of submission?
  23. I am currently serving in the military outside of the country. Do I need to provide fingerprints at the time I renew?
  24. What will happen if I do not submit fingerprints to the Board?
  25. What is my fingerprint information going to be used for?
  26. Who will have access to my fingerprint information?
  27. I submitted my fingerprints. How do I find out if they were rejected?
  28. I was told my fingerprints were rejected. What do I need to do?
  29. Why are my fingerprints being rejected by DOJ and/or FBI?
  30. I was told that my fingerprints were rejected two times. What do I need to do now?
  31. I was told to submit a name search because my prints were rejected two times. How do I submit a name search?
  32. I reside in California and I completed Live Scan fingerprints. The operator told me that my prints would be rejected. Can I submit a hard card in lieu of submitting Live Scan?
  33. My fingerprints were rejected. Can I still renew my Optometrist license?
  34. I submitted my renewal and have not received my license. Is the fingerprinting issue holding up my renewal?

 

1. Why are Optometrists being required to be fingerprinted?
The mission of the Board is to protect the health and safety of consumers to ensure high quality optometric care in California. The Board fingerprints licensees as one way of ensuring that optometrists are safe and competent practitioners.

2. When did the Board start fingerprinting licensees?
The Board began to fingerprint all applicants for licensure around January 1, 1998. Licensee's for whom the Board does not have fingerprints, are required to have them for a license that expires on or after October 1, 2009.

3. Am I required to be fingerprinted?
Yes. Effective June 21, 2010, if you have never been fingerprinted for the Board or the Board no longer has your fingerprint record. Fingerprints are now checked by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Prior to 2007, background checks were only processed through DOJ. If your license was issued prior to April 1, 2007 and you were fingerprinted by the Board, you are still required to submit fingerprints.

You are required to be fingerprinted when you:

  • Renew a license that expires on or after October 1, 2009 in the active status;
  • Activate an inactive license;
  • Seek reinstatement, in the active status, of a lapsed license.

You do not have to be fingerprinted if you:

  • Have previously been fingerprinted for the Board (e.g., for initial licensure, reinstatement of license, or condition of probation, etc.) and your fingerprints have been cleared through the Dept. of Justice AND the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or
  • Are renewing your license in the "inactive status"; or
  • Are actively serving in the military outside the country.

4. Should I contact the Board to determine if my fingerprint records are on file?
No, the fingerprinting records, particularly for licensees fingerprinted prior to 2007 are not readily available.

5. What should I do if I'm not sure if I've been fingerprinted for the Board?
When you renew your license, if you reasonably believe that you have been fingerprinted for the Board, check "YES" on the license renewal application to indicate that you have complied with the fingerprint requirement. The Board will reconcile your renewal application with fingerprinting records and notify you if it does not have your fingerprint records on file.

6. Do I need to wait until my renewal is due to be fingerprinted?
No, you may submit your fingerprints at any time prior to the expiration of your license.

7. How do I go about completing the fingerprint requirement?
There are two methods available for completing the fingerprint requirement. The first method is Live Scan and must be used for Optometrists residing in California. The second method for Optometrists not residing in California is a fingerprint card (hard card). Instructions for obtaining and completing both methods are found below.

To obtain information regarding the submission of your fingerprints and/or to complete the Live Scan Service form go to the top of this page and find links to the Instructions for Application for Optometry License Renewal and Request for Live Scan Service Form.

Method 1 - Live Scan Process (California residents only)

If you reside in California, you must use the Live Scan Service. At the Live Scan site, your fingerprints will be electronically scanned and transmitted immediately to the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation for processing. Begin by following the instructions below.

Completing the Request for Live Scan Service Form:
Complete all areas on the form marked with an asterisk, print three copies. Take all three forms to the Live Scan site with your fee ($49 plus operator fee).

After your fingerprints are scanned:

1st copy of form is kept by the Live Scan Operator

2nd copy of form, attach to your renewal form (or separately) and mail to the Board of Optometry at the address provided above

3rd copy of form is for your records

Visit http://ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/publications/contact.htm to locate Live Scan sites. Most local law enforcement agencies in California have Live Scan equipment. Hours of operation and fees vary, so please contact the Live Scan site directly for information. The Board can only accept Live Scan completed in California.

Method 2 - Manual Fingerprint Card (hard card)(non-California residents only)

To request a manual fingerprint card (hard card), you may submit a request in writing to the Board of Optometry, 2450 Del Paso Rd., Suite 105, Sacramento, CA 95834, fax (916) 575-7292 or call (916) 575-7170.

Instructions for hard card submittal:

Please take the hard card to a qualified fingerprint office, i.e., law enforcement, where they will roll your prints (a fee may be charged). Log on to the Board's website at www.optometry.ca.gov, click on the New Fingerprint Requirements on the What's New Page, click the Fingerprint Certification Form link, complete the form, sign and date it. Send the completed card and form with the $49 Dept. of Justice and FBI fees to the Board of Optometry, Attn. Fingerprint Coordinator, 2450 Del Paso Rd., Suite 105, Sacramento, CA 95834. Please make checks/ money orders payable to the California State Board of Optometry.

Failure to submit a full set of fingerprints will make your license ineligible for renewal and may be grounds for discipline by the Board.

8. How do I obtain the Live Scan form?
You may obtain a Request for Live Scan Service form by going to the top of this page and clicking on the Request for Live Scan Service Form or submit a request in writing to the Board of Optometry, 2450 Del Paso Rd., Suite 105, Sacramento, CA 95834, fax (916) 575-7292 or call (916) 575-7170. Instructions for completing and submitting the Live Scan form are located above (see question 7).

9. How do I obtain fingerprint cards (hard cards)?
To submit a manual fingerprint card (hard card), you may send a request in writing for the card to the Board of Optometry, 2450 Del Paso Rd., Suite 105, Sacramento, CA 95834, or fax (916) 575-7292 or call (916) 575-7170. Instructions for completing and submitting the manual fingerprint card are located above (see question 7).

10. I live outside of California. Can I submit Live Scan fingerprints?
You may submit Live Scan fingerprints as long as the fingerprints were completed through a California Live Scan site. A list of California Live Scan sites may be found at http://ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/publications/contact.htm.

11. Will you accept Live Scan fingerprints that are completed in another state?
No, only Live Scan fingerprints completed in California can be accepted.

12. What is the cost for fingerprinting?
The current processing fee for DOJ and FBI is $49.00. In addition, a print "rolling" fee of $5.00 to $45.00 will be required at the fingerprint site.

13. Where can I go to have Live Scan fingerprints completed?
A listing of California Live Scan sites can be found at http://ag.ca.gov/fingerprints/publications/contact.htm.

14. I was fingerprinted by my employer, school or other state agency. Do I need to be fingerprinted for the California Board?
Yes, by law, fingerprint records are specific only to the requestor and results cannot be shared with others. Therefore, you must submit fingerprints to the Board. Although it may be inconvenient to submit fingerprints to multiple agencies, it protects your interest by ensuring that you know and authorize your records being sent to the requesting entity.

15. I submitted fingerprints as part of a Board disciplinary process. Do I need to submit additional fingerprints?
No. If you are a resident of California, have used Live Scan and submitted fingerprints to the Board as part of a reinstatement petition or a Board probationary requirement, you do not need to resubmit fingerprints.

If you are not a resident of California and have submitted hard card fingerprints to the Board as part of a reinstatement petition or a Board probationary requirement, you do not need to resubmit fingerprints.

16. I am renewing my Optometry license in an inactive status; do I have to be fingerprinted to renew inactive?
No, the fingerprint requirement will be waived if the license is renewed in an inactive status. However, a request to have an inactive optometrist license activated will require fingerprints be submitted if the board does not have fingerprint records for the licensee on file.

17. My license has been expired for 8 or more years. Do I need to be fingerprinted when I submit my renewal?
Yes, if your license was issued prior to April 1, 2007.

18. Will my license renewal be placed on hold until a fingerprint clearance is received by the Board?
No, once you have submitted your renewal, appropriate fee, fingerprints (if required), answered the fingerprint compliance question and provided any other information required for renewal, your license will be renewed.

19. I received a letter from the Board stating I failed to answer or comply with the fingerprint requirement. What do need to do?
See question 7 for full details

20. If I answer "No" or do not respond to the fingerprint question on the renewal application what will happen to my renewal?
If you answer "NO" or do not respond to the fingerprint compliance questions a hold will be placed on the license and the renewal will be deemed incomplete and not eligible for renewal. The Board will notify you by mail of the necessary documents to submit for completion of the renewal process. Please note that if you do not complete the renewal process prior to the expiration of your license you will not be able to practice until your license renewal has been completed.

21. I submitted my renewal and answered "No" to the fingerprint question. I now have completed and submitted my fingerprints. What will happen with my renewal?
Once you have complied with the fingerprint requirement and the Board receives verification of your submission, the renewal license will be released and a new pocket/wall license will be issued.

22. What is considered proof of submission?
Live Scan - for fingerprints completed using the Live Scan method: mail or fax to the Board, one of the two copies of the Request for Live Scan Service form received from the live scan site.

Hard Card - for fingerprints submitted via hard card, the submission of the hard card and fee to the Board is considered proof.

23. I am currently serving in the military outside of the country. Do I need to provide fingerprints at the time I renew?
The fingerprint requirement is waived for licensees who are actively serving in the military outside the country.

24. What will happen if I do not submit fingerprints to the Board?
Failure to provide the required fingerprint information will render your renewal application incomplete and ineligible for renewal. In addition, failure to submit a full set of fingerprints to the Department of Justice on or before the date required for renewal of your license is grounds for discipline by the Board.

25. What is my fingerprint information going to be used for?
The mission of the Board is to protect the health and safety of California consumers. Any information received from the California Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if there is any cause to pursue administrative action against the license.

26. Who will have access to my fingerprint information?
The Board of Optometry.

27. I submitted my fingerprints. How do I find out if they were rejected?
Once you submit your fingerprints, the results will be sent to the Board of Optometry. The Board will contact you if your fingerprints were rejected and will not contact you if your fingerprints were cleared.

28. I was told my fingerprints were rejected. What do I need to do?
You must wait for the Board of Optometry to contact you with further instructions. Once the Board receives the rejection information from DOJ, a letter will be sent to you with further instructions. Do not contact DOJ as they will not be able to assist you.

29. Why are my fingerprints being rejected by DOJ and/or FBI?
The most common reason fingerprints are rejected is for the quality of the print.

30. I was told that my fingerprints were rejected two times. What do I need to do now?
You do not need to take any further action. After the Board of Optometry is notified of the second rejection, the Board will work directly with DOJ to complete a name search.

31. I was told to submit a name search because my prints were rejected two times. How do I submit a name search?
The Board must submit the name search on your behalf directly to DOJ. The Board cannot submit the name search until the second fingerprint rejection notice is received from DOJ. Once the Board determines it is a second rejection of your prints, a name search will automatically be submitted.

32. I reside in California and I completed Live Scan fingerprints. The operator told me that my prints would be rejected. Can I submit a hard card in lieu of submitting Live Scan?
No, DOJ will not accept hard cards from an individual who resides in or has a California address. Complete the Live Scan process and wait for further direction from the Board.

33. My fingerprints were rejected. Can I still renew my Optometrist license?
Yes, once you have submitted your fingerprints, whether they are returned to the Board as clear or rejected, you have complied with the fingerprint requirement and can continue to renew your license.

34. I submitted my renewal and have not received my license. Is the fingerprinting issue holding up my renewal?
There are a variety of reasons your renewal may be held up. Please contact the Board of Optometry at (916) 575-7170 to determine why you have not received your license.

Instructions for Submitting Fingerprints
See question 7.

 

Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations, Sections 1525, 1525.1 and 1525.2 of Article 5.1 of Division 15 reads as follows:

1525 - Optometrist License Renewal

(a) A license issued pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 3055 expires at midnight on the last day of the licensee's birth month following its original issuance and thereafter at midnight on the last day of the licensee's birth month every two years if not renewed.

(b) A renewal for licensure as an optometrist shall be made on a form prescribed by the Board (Form R1POPT, Rev. 3-10), which is hereby incorporated by reference, and shall be accompanied by the fee specified in Section 1524 and filed with the Board at its office in Sacramento.

(c) Failure to provide all of the information required by this section renders any application for renewal incomplete and not eligible for renewal.

(d) Failure of a licensee to comply with subdivision (b) is grounds for disciplinary action by the board against the license.

NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 3010.1, 3010.5, 3024, and 3025, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Sections, 3055, 3056, 3059, and 3110 Business and Professions Code; and Section 11105, Penal Code.

1525.1 - Fingerprint Requirements

(a) As a condition of renewal for a licensee who was initially licensed prior to January 1, 1998, or for whom an electronic record of the submission of fingerprints no longer exists, such licensee shall furnish to the Department of Justice a full set of fingerprints for the purpose of conducting a criminal history record check and to undergo a state and federal level criminal offender record information search conducted through the Department of Justice.

  1. The licensee shall pay any costs for furnishing the fingerprints to the Department of Justice and conducting the searches.
  2. A licensee shall certify when applying for renewal whether his or her fingerprints have been furnished to the Department of Justice in compliance with this section.
  3. This requirement is waived if the license is renewed in an inactive status, or if the licensee is actively serving in the military outside the country. The board shall not return a license to active status until the licensee has complied with subsection (a).
  4. A licensee shall retain, for at least three years from the renewal date, either a receipt showing the electronic transmission of his or her fingerprints to the Department of Justice or a receipt evidencing that the licensee's fingerprints were taken.

(b) As a condition of renewal, a licensee shall disclose whether, since the licensee last applied for renewal, he or she has been convicted of any violation of the law in this or any other state and, the United States, and its territories, military court, or other country, omitting traffic infractions under $300 not involving alcohol, dangerous drugs, or controlled substances.

(c) As a condition of renewal, a licensee shall disclose whether, since the licensee last applied for renewal, he or she has been denied a license or had a license disciplined by another licensing authority of this state, of another state, of any agency of the federal government, or of another country.

(d) Failure to comply with the requirements of this section renders any application for renewal incomplete and the license will not be renewed until the licensee demonstrates compliance with all requirements.

(e) Failure to furnish a full set of fingerprints to the Department of Justice as required by this section on or before the date required for renewal of a license is grounds for discipline by the Board.

(f) As a condition of petitioning the board for reinstatement of a revoked or surrendered license or registration, an applicant shall comply with subsection(a)

NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 144, 3010.1, 3010.5, 3024, 3025, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Section 3110, Business and Professions Code; and Section 11105, Penal Code.

1525.2 - Fingerprint Requirements

If the board or its designee asks a licensee to provide criminal history information, a licensee shall respond to that request within 30 days. The licensee shall make available all documents and other records requested and shall respond with accurate information. Failure to comply with the requirements of this section is grounds for discipline by the board.

NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 3010.1, 3010.5, 3024, and 3025, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Sections 144, 3055, 3056, 3059, and 3110 Business and Professions Code; and Section 11105, Penal Code.