What is LiveScan and why it is needed for getting a Guard Card?

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LiveScan (Live Scan) fingerprinting system

LiveScan (Live Scan) fingerprinting system

Live scan (or LiveScan) refers to the machine as well as the process of fingerprinting by which the fingerprints are captured and transmitted electronically using a live scan (LiveScan) machine.

LiveScan can facilitate electronic submission of fingerprints and the subsequent automated background checks.

It is an inkless fingerprinting process. The fingerprints captured by the LiveScan machine are digitally transmitted to the servers at the DOJ (Department of Justice) in a few seconds, thus avoiding the weeks of day otherwise caused by sending the hard copy fingerprint cards through regular mail.

The fingerprints once received at DOG servers, they are compared against known criminal history records to complete the background investigation.

Fingerprinting using Live Scan is required for California Guard Card and Firearm Permit Applications. LiveScan fingerprinting is used in many other background checks including FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations), DOJ Background checks.

Why do someone need to do Live Scan?

As someone applying to get licensed to be a security guard (guard card application) you need to undergo criminal background checks. Doing the Live Scan is the first step in getting the background check clearance through the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In addition to Security Guards applying for Guard Card, several other professions such as Nurses, Dentists, Massage Therapists, Pharmacy Techs etc may require to submit their fingerprints using LiveScan as part of their background checking process.

LiveScan fingerprint capturing device

LiveScan fingerprint capturing device

What is the Live Scan process?


The sequence of live scan process is as described below.

  1. The security guard training company where you are getting trained will provide you with “Request Live Scan Services Form”. The top and last portions of this form should be completed by you or your security guard training company on your behalf.
  2. You can take this form to the nearest live scan center to capture your fingerprints.
  3. The operators of the Live Scan system will capture your fingerprints and will electronically submit the prints directly to DOJ and FBI to be process. The results will be sent only to the requesting agency.

    In the state of California, the Live Scan capture can be done only by a certified fingerprint roller, or a qualified law enforcement personnel.

What documentation I need to take for my LiveScan appointment?


Take at least three copies of the “Live Scan Services Form”. This will be provided to you by the GuardCard training company.

In addition, you should also take you identification document showing your picture. The identity verification document can be (1) your driver’s license issued in the US, or (2) your US passport.

How long will the entire live scan fingerprint verification process will take?

In most cases, the results of the fingerprint check will come back within 72 hours (2 to 3 days). In some cases, due to various reasons, results may get delayed. If there is a significant delay, the DOJ will contact the requesting agency. The results are transmitted either through email or mail to the requesting agency listed on the Request for Live Scan Service form.

If my fingerprints were rejected during the LiveScan process what can I do?

The LiveScan fingerprint process can reject a fingerprint occasionally due to many reasons. One common reasons for rejection is that the applicant’s fingerprints may have characteristics that will make it difficult to capture it through the live scan process.

Examples of these characteristics include cuts, scars and calluses on the fingers. Often times careful rescanning will resolve the issue. Most reputed LiveScan centers will not charge you extra for this rescanning.

How much will it cost for fingerprinting (Live Scan) for getting Guard Card?

The cost can vary between centers.
Shown below are a some estimates, based on BSIS guidelines.

Guard Card (California Security Guard License) or Private Security Officer Live Scan

  • Initial Application Fee (Paid on-line or mailed to the Bureau): $50.00
  • Fingerprint Rolling Fee: $25.00
  • DOJ Fingerprint Processing Fee (Paid at Live Scan Site): $32.00
  • FBI Fingerprint Processing Fee (Paid at Live Scan Site): $17.00

Firearm Permit (Live Scan)

  • Initial Application Fee: $80.00
  • Fingerprint Rolling Fee: $25.00
  • DOJ Fingerprint Processing Fee (Paid at Live Scan Site): $32.00
  • FBI Fingerprint Processing Fee (Paid at Live Scan Site): $17.00
  • Firearm Eligibility Application ($38.00 Paid at Live Scan Site): $38.00

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