Fingerprint Requirement for License Renewal
- Renewing Your License
- Requesting a Live Scan Form or FD-258 for License Renewal
- Types of Results and Timeframes
- Frequently Asked Questions
Under the authority of the Nursing Practice Act, all license, registration, and permit applicants and holders must furnish a full set of fingerprints for purposes of conducting federal and state criminal history record checks through the Department of Justice (DOJ). Licensure, registration, and permits are subject to denial, suspension, or revocation based upon an applicant’s or licensee’s conviction of a crime. The fingerprints remain on file with the California Department of Justice, who provides reports to the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) of any future convictions on an ongoing basis.
16 CCR § 1419 requires the submission of fingerprints upon license renewal if the licensee was not previously fingerprinted by the BRN, if a record of fingerprint submission no longer exists, or if the BRN requests that fingerprints be resubmitted. The requirement to be fingerprinted for license renewal took effect in 2009. Unfortunately, the BRN’s electronic licensing system at that time was not designed to check for or hold renewals in the absence of fingerprint results. The BRN is now using the BreEZe system for electronic license renewals since 2013. The BreEZe system was designed to check for and receive DOJ and FBI fingerprint results.
If fingerprint results are missing from the licensee’s electronic license file, licensees are notified on their renewal notices that fingerprints must be submitted to the DOJ. Their renewals are held until fingerprint results are received by the BRN.
The BRN currently requires a fingerprint submission occurring on or after January 1, 2014. If you were fingerprinted prior to January 1, 2014, you are required to submit a new fingerprint submission for your renewal. Your RN renewal will not be approved without valid fingerprint results. Failure to submit a set of fingerprints, if required or directed, is grounds for discipline by the BRN.
Renewing Your License
It is unnecessary to resubmit fingerprints if you have completed a new submission within your last 3 renewals and the BRN has not informed you of a need to resubmit fingerprints.
Inactive renewals: If you are renewing to an INACTIVE status, you do NOT need to submit fingerprints.
Please note: If you renew to an active status but you are not compliant with our fingerprint requirement, then your license will not renew and your status will change to “delinquent” upon expiration. If your RN license is on hold due to a fingerprint issue and you are renewing to inactive status, please contact the Fingerprint Unit by submitting an inquiry on the Contact Us page.
In order to return to an "active" status, the BRN will verify that you have an acceptable fingerprint submission on your BreEZe file.
Active renewals: If you are renewing your license to an ACTIVE status, the BRN must have fingerprint results on your BreEZe file from both levels of service (DOJ and FBI) or you may be required to furnish a full set of fingerprints to the DOJ.
Your license renewal notice is sent out 90 days prior to your license expiration date. The notice will clearly indicate whether you need to be fingerprinted. If you know you were fingerprinted prior to 2014, or do not recall ever being fingerprinted for the BRN, you are encouraged to be fingerprinted again to avoid any license renewal delays. You do not need to wait for your renewal window to open to complete a submission, however, the BRN does not recommend resubmitting unnecessarily.
If you were able to complete payment online and your license was not renewed, check your Application Status and Details Page or contact the BRN to see if you must submit fingerprints to successfully complete your renewal. If you were initially fingerprinted for the Board prior to 2014 and have not been fingerprinted since, you will need to be fingerprinted again.
However, if you have completed your fingerprint submission for the BRN, and your Application Status and Details Page indicates you are still deficient, your fingerprint results may have not been properly applied to your BreEZe account.
If your fingerprint results are not properly applied to your electronic license file in BreEZe, the license will not be issued. The DOJ, FBI, and the BRN match fingerprint results based on four data sets: first name, last name, date of birth, and social security number. If the information entered by the Live Scan operator does not match the BRN’s license information in the BreEZe system, the fingerprint results will not be properly applied to your electronic licensing file, which is considered an “unmatched record”. A common problem is the Live Scan operator may transpose or incorrectly enter the numbers for your date of birth or social security number. Another common problem is if you have a last name that includes hyphens or spaces, and it was not entered as an exact match by the Live Scan vendor.
Fingerprint results typically take up to 72 hours to enter the BreEZe system. If your results do not match on their own, your results may be unmatched in the BreEZe system and require manual intervention by BRN staff. If this occurs, you should upload a copy of your completed Live Scan form in the "Submit Additional Documents" section of your BreEZe account, or, you may contact the BRN for further assistance.
Requesting a Live Scan Form or FD-258 for License Renewal
To request a Live Scan form or FD-258, please use the BRN Fingerprint Request Form (please allow up to two weeks to receive a hard card in the mail once the hard card request is received and processed, which is approximately 3-5 business days after submission of the request). Please note, hard card (FD-258) submissions can take several weeks to a couple months to enter the BreEZe system.
Types of Results and Timeframes
The BRN receives various types of results from the DOJ and FBI.
- Clear – A response stating no convictions have occurred or a listing of any conviction sustained.
Rejection – The Board will notify you by mail if a rejection of fingerprints is received from DOJ or FBI. This letter will include instructions on how to complete your re-print. You will not be charged an additional DOJ and FBI fee but may be charged the Live Scan vendor's processing fee. The most common reason fingerprints are rejected is for the quality of the print. You must complete the reject request and reprint, if you do not your application will remain deficient, and you will not be licensed.
If you complete your re-print, and your submission is rejected a second time, the BRN will then work directly with the Department of Justice to complete a name search, and no further action is needed from you. Please note, the DOJ will not complete a name search without a second attempt.
- Delay – A DOJ or FBI delay can vary from approximately 30 to 90 days before the Board will receive a result. There is nothing can be done to expedite a delay.
- Invalid – The Board will notify you within 14 days after an invalid fingerprint notification is received from DOJ or FBI.
- Rap Sheet – The BRN reviews the rap sheets (i.e., criminal record reports) to ensure that the conviction history matches what you provided on your Report of Conviction form, and to determine if the violation is related to the qualifications of a licensee. Please see more information related to reporting convictions here.
Frequently Asked Questions
- 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.
- Can a person obtain a license as a registered nurse if they have a misdemeanor or felony conviction on their record?
Yes. Applicants with discipline or criminal conviction records can be issued a license; however, for some applicants, the process may take longer due to the type of discipline and criminal convictions . The BRN reviews all prior convictions that are substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a registered nurse. Each application is evaluated on a case by case basis (please refer to the BRN Disciplinary Guidelines). The BRN considers the nature, severity, and recency of all offense(s), as well as rehabilitation and other factors. The BRN cannot make a determination for approval or denial of licensure without evaluating the entire application and supporting documentation. The BRN will not take action on convictions older than seven years or that have been expunged under Penal Code section 1203.4 and/or dismissed. The preceding seven-year limitation does not apply if the applicant was convicted of a serious felony as defined in section 1192.7 of the Penal Code or a crime for which registration is required pursuant to paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (d) of section 290 of the Penal Code.
- How do I obtain the Live Scan form or FD-258 (Fingerprint Hard Card)?
You can request these using the request form on the Fingerprint Requests page.
- I live outside of California, can I submit Live Scan fingerprints?
You may submit Live Scan fingerprints if they are completed at a Live Scan site located in the State of California. A listing of locations can be found at the California Office of the Attorney General website.
- Will you accept Live Scan fingerprints that are completed in another state?
No, Live Scan fingerprints completed in any other state cannot be accepted.
- I was fingerprinted by my employer, school, or other state agency. Do I need to be fingerprinted for the California Board?
Yes, you will need to be fingerprint again for the BRN. Fingerprint records are specific only to the requester using a specific Organization Record Identifier (ORI) number and results cannot be shared. Therefore, you must submit fingerprints to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) using the ORI number specific to the BRN.
- I submitted fingerprints as part of a Board disciplinary process. Do I need to submit additional fingerprints?
No, if you submitted fingerprints to the BRN as part of a reinstatement petition or a BRN probationary requirement you do not need to resubmit fingerprints. If you need to clarify this, please contact our Enforcement Unit.
- I am renewing my RN 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 to an inactive status. However, a request to have an inactive RN license activated will require fingerprints be submitted if the BRN does not have fingerprint records for the licensee on file. An RN cannot have an active California Registered Nursing license without being fingerprinted by the DOJ.
- My license has been expired for eight or more years, do I need to be fingerprinted when I submit my renewal?
Yes, fingerprints will be required for an eight-year renewal or exam.
- What will happen if I do not submit fingerprints to the Board?
Your initial license will not be issued without a fingerprint submission. Your renewal application will be incomplete if you fail to provide the required fingerprint information and your license will not be renewed. In addition, failure to submit a full set of fingerprints on or before the date required for renewal of your license is grounds for discipline by the BRN.
- 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. Due to the nature of the job, nurses wash their hands more often than the average person, this can cause fingerprints to deteriorate. It may be helpful to let the LiveScan vendor know if you have had an issue.
- I’ve had two reject notices; how do I complete a name search?
Once the BRN receives a second rejection of your prints, a name search will automatically be submitted. You do not need to do any further reprints unless directed to do so.
- I submitted my renewal, but my license has not been updated. Is the fingerprinting issue holding up my renewal?
Your license renewal requires a fee, completed renewal application including applicable CEU information, and cleared fingerprints. Please use the Application Status and Details Page to verify what components are still needed for your renewal and submit any required information via your BreEZe account. You may contact the BRN by using the Contact Us page for further assistance. If your inquiry is regarding your renewal, select "Licensee Services" from the dropdown menu, and/or if your inquiry is regarding fingerprints, select "Fingerprint inquires" from the same dropdown list.