Certificate of Clearance Instructions For Filing

Certificate of Clearance instructions for filing

The State of California requires that all teachers, counselors and administrators working with students in public schools have a Certificate of Clearance.  PLEASE NOTE:  If you already have a Certificate of Clearance issued through the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), or a valid California teaching or service credential (including emergency permits) which require fingerprint clearance, you are not required to be cleared again.

Fingerprint clearances obtained through other organizations or agencies (e.g. school districts, private schools, group homes, or child care centers) are NOT accepted by the CTC.

PLEASE carefully review the Notice of Delay policy on the reverse side of this form prior to filing for your Certificate of Clearance.


STEP 1:  Do a Live Scan Fingerprint Service.

Complete the “Request for Live Scan Service” application and take it to the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) or another Live Scan service location. Your Live Scan fingerprints will be sent electronically to the FBI and the California Department of Justice (DOJ). Please Note: If you are planning on obtaining a substitute teaching permit in Sonoma County, have your fingerprints taken at SCOE. If you don’t plan on getting a substitute teaching permit, have your fingerprints taken at a location of your choice; visit the Attorney General's home page to search for fingerprinting locations throughout the state. You can go to any agency that provides live scan fingerprinting provided you use the appropriate live scan form. Make sure that the Live Scan operator makes you two copies of the completed form.  Keep one for yourself and one for the credential program.

STEP 2:  Navigate to the Commission's online Direct Application Site (Please note: SAFARI will not work to go through this process) It is important that you allow the site below as a trusted source in your computer prior to starting the process to avoid delays.

Visit the CTC;  click on the “Apply for a New Document” link, click on the “Submit an Online Application” box.

STEP 3: Click on the “Submit an Online Application” link, select “Submit Your Application Online” (read carefully): Enter your social security number and date of birth.  Be ACCURATE when entering information online as it is critical to the clearance process; errors and/or omissions will result in delays on your clearance. Click “OK” Note: If you have previously filed for a permit/certificate with the CTC your information will come up. If your personal information appears verify that it is correct and proceed to step 7. If no information appears you will get the following message “The information entered does not exist in the database, re-enter your Social Security Number and Date of Birth” if you get this message proceed to Step 4-10

STEP 4: Click on the “Create Person” button, enter your full legal name, current email address, etc. Verify your personal information is correct and click save.

STEP 5: Move down to the address section. Click “NEW” to add your mailing address. Failure to add a mailing address can result in significant delays in the process. Click “NEXT” to proceed.

STEP 6: Click the “CREATE NEW” button under “Apply for a Certificate of Clearance or Activity Supervisor Clearance Certificate” This option is ONLY for those seeking background clearance.

Under “Document/Authorization Pick” click the down arrow by “General Application Category”, select “Certificate of Clearance/Activity Supervisor Clearance Certificate”. In the Document/Authorization Title area, select “Certificate of Clearance”, then click “NEXT”.  Review the information under “PROFESSIONAL FITNESS QUESTIONS” then click “NEXT” and proceed to answer the questioner.

STEP 7: After completing the “Professional Fitness Questions” complete the Oath and Affidavit section and click “Proceed to Payment”, a new window will appear to process your payment. Please do not click the BACK or REFRESH button.

STEP 8: Using a VISA or Mastercard debit or credit card, complete the authorized transaction fee of $50.00. Note: A $2.50 processing fee will also be added by CTC.

STEP 9: Immediately following the successful submission of the online application, an e-mail will be sent containing a confirmation number and a link to the Track Payment web page.

STEP 10: Print a copy of the email you receive, and attach it to the application. Do NOT send a copy of your live scan form.

Please note: CTC asks that you submit supporting materials to complete the process.  This is required only if you answered “yes” to any of the Professional Fitness Questions.

You will not be allowed to begin program coursework until all steps listed above have been completed. It is, therefore, to your advantage to apply for clearance as soon as possible.


Keep copies of all emails and live scan receipts.

The CTC will issue your Certificate of Clearance online only (it can take up to three months for CTC to receive reports from the FBI and the DOJ and then issue the actual Certificate of Clearance online). To follow the progress of your Certificate of Clearance application or print documentation of the issued Certificate, visit CTC's homepage.

If you have questions, please telephone the Credentials Office at (707) 664-2832 or email the Credentials Office.

When a person applies for a Certificate of Clearance or a credential via the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), a thorough background check is performed by the CTC.  In some cases, if an applicant has a previous record, the CTC requests additional documentation before a Certificate of Clearance or credential can be granted.  This may result in an applicant appearing on a Notice of Delay list.  The policy below describes the implications appearing on such a list would have on a School of Education student.

If you have a previous record and would like to discuss the clearance process prior to applying for your Certificate of Clearance, please email the Credentials Office or call 707-664-2832.

Notice of Delay Policy

When students in our programs are placed by CTC’s Professional Practices Division on a Notice of Delay list, they will be immediately placed on a leave of absence from our program (not necessarily removed from the program) until the issue that placed them on the Notice of Delay list is resolved.  Individuals on a Notice of Delay list, by law, are not allowed to participate in pk-12 classrooms.

Students on a Notice of Delay list are not allowed to continue in coursework, field related or not, until the Division of Professional Practices has made a determination about their status. Should a student appear on a Notice of Delay list, he or she must immediately contact the appropriate department chair in the School of Education to address this issue.

If a student is removed from courses and he or she is otherwise making satisfactory progress in the program, the withdrawal will be grade neutral (w); fees will not be refundable under this type of withdrawal unless otherwise allowed by University policy.  If a school district continues to allow a student on a Notice of Delay list to participate in a pk-12 classroom, as an intern, substitute teacher or in any other capacity, it is clear that the student will be under the responsibility of the school district and not Sonoma State University.

Important: Being placed on a leave of absence from the School of Education does not equal being on a leave of absence from the University.  If an enrolled student does not resolve a Notice of Delay issue & re-enrolls within 1 semester after being removed from coursework, he or she will need to reapply for University admission in order to register for courses in a subsequent semester.