In order to be eligible to obtain a security guard card in the State of California from The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) and work as an unarmed security guard, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Submit to Live Scan fingerprinting.
- Pass a criminal history background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
- Complete a 40-hour course of required training and an 8-hour refresher course every 12 months after completing the 40-hour course. As part of that training, a security guard must complete an 8-hour “Power to Arrest” training course prior to being placed on post. In addition, 16 hours of training is required within the first month and an additional 16 hours within the first six months.
- The training and exam may be administered by a certified training facility and shall cover the following topics:
(1) Responsibilities and ethics in citizen arrest.
(2) Relationship between a security guard and a peace officer in making an arrest.
(3) Limitations on security guard power to arrest.
(4) Restrictions on searches and seizures.
(5) Criminal and civil liabilities.
(A) Personal liability.
(B) Employer liability.
(6) Trespass law.
(7) Ethics and communications.
(8) Emergency situation response, including response to medical emergencies.
(9) Security officer safety.
(10) Any other topic deemed appropriate by the Bureau (BSIS).
Note: No employee of a licensee who performs the function of a security guard or security patrolperson shall be issued a registration card until there is proper certification by the instructor that the exercise of the power to arrest course has been taught and the employee’s certification that the instruction was received has been delivered to the Bureau.
Expedite Processing Online
In order to speed up the security guard application and fingerprinting process, the following steps should be followed:
Live Scan forms and a listing of Live Scan sites are available at:
The security guard must have received the eight (8) hour “Power to Arrest ” training and passed the examination.
The security guard applicant, private patrol operator or the training facility must submit the security guard application online at http://www.dca.ca.gov/bsis/online_services/online_licensing.shtml. The online application is sent electronically to the Bureau.
Breakdown of fees paid online:
- Security Guard Application Fee: $50.00
- Online Convenience Fee: $1.00
- TOTAL: $51.00
The security guard applicant must submit fingerprints electronically using Live Scan. You must only use the security guard Live Scan forms downloaded from the Bureau’s Website site or obtained from the Bureau. The Live Scan form from the Bureau contains the correct coding to ensure that the Bureau receives the FBI and DOJ responses.
Breakdown of fees paid at Live Scan site:
- Department of Justice Fingerprint Fee: $32.00
- Federal Bureau of Investigation Fingerprint Fee: $19.00
- TOTAL: $51.00
Live Scan site locations are available at http://www.bsis.ca.gov/forms_pubs/livescan/scansites.shtml
Live Scan forms can be downloaded at http://www.bsis.ca.gov/forms_pubs/livescan/forms.shtml
Note: Live Scan sites may charge a Live Scan submission processing fee. The Bureau does not set the fee amount.
Once the Bureau has received the online application and criminal history clearances, the cleared security guard will appear on the Bureau’s Web site. The security guard, private patrol operator or training facility can verify the Bureau’s approval by checking the Bureau’s “Verify a License” at http://www.bsis.ca.gov/online_services/verify_license.shtml.
Once the security guard registration has been cleared and appears on the Bureau’s Web site, a screen-print from the Web site may be made and used as an interim security guard registration. The security guard can then be placed on assignment. The actual security guard registration will be mailed to the applicant and should be received in 10 to 15 business days.
Security guards placed on assignment must keep the following documents with them:
- A valid security guard registration or a screen print of the Bureau’s approval obtained from the Bureau’s Web site.
- A valid photo identification.
The Bureau will continue to accept the following:
- Submit your completed security guard application, a $50 registration fee and a Security Guard Live Scan form signed by the Live Scan operator. A $32 DOJ fingerprint processing fee and a $19 FBI fingerprint processing fee must be paid at the Live Scan site.
- Send your application package to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, P.O. Box 989002, West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002.
Applications for registration as a security guard are available from private patrol operators or training facilities certified by BSIS.
Several training and background check requirements relate to registration as an armed security guard. The following sections contain details on required training:
- You may not carry a gun on duty without having been issued a firearm permit by the Bureau.
- Also, a firearm permit issued by the Bureau does not authorize you to carry a concealed weapon.
- You may not carry a concealed weapon on duty without a Concealed Weapons Permit (CCW) issued by local authorities, nor carry a caliber handgun not listed on your firearm permit.
To apply for a firearm permit, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or have permanent legal alien status.
- Pass a course in the carrying and use of firearms. The 14-hour (8 hours classroom, 6 hours range) training course covers moral and legal aspects, firearms nomenclature, weapon handling and shooting fundamentals, emergency procedures and range training. The course must be given by a Bureau-certified firearms training instructor at a Bureau-certified training facility. Written and range exams are administered at the end of the course. Costs of training are determined by the training facility. For a list of certified training facilities, call (916) 322-4000.
- Submit a firearm permit application, pay the $80 application fee, and submit a Security Guard Registration w/Firearm Permit Live Scan form signed by the Live Scan site operator. A $38 Firearm Eligibility application, $32 DOJ fingerprint processing fee and $19 FBI fingerprint processing fee must be paid at the Live Scan site. Send your application package to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, P.O. Box 989002, West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002.
You may apply for both a guard registration and a firearm permit at the same time for a total fee of $219.
Note: A firearms qualification card expires two years from the date it was issued. An applicant must requalify four times during the life of the permit: twice during the first year after the date of issuance, and twice during the second year. Requalifications must be at least four months apart.
The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services is located at:
2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 270
Sacramento, California 95834
Business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Monday through Friday.