Noncriminal Justice Compliance (NCJ) Program
Welcome to the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s (DPS), Access Integrity Unit (AIU), Noncriminal Justice Compliance (NCJ) Program page. DPS serves as the central state repository (CSR) for Arizona criminal history record information and is the designated state identification bureau through which qualified Arizona agencies make requests for FBI criminal history records.
Beginning in 2013, DPS established a compliance program for agencies requesting access to criminal history record information for noncriminal justice purposes such as employment, licensing, volunteers, etc. Every agency with noncriminal justice access to state and/or federal criminal history records is required to participate in the Noncriminal Justice Compliance Program. The DPS Access Integrity Unit (AIU) Noncriminal Justice Compliance Team offers training and serves as a resource to help ensure agencies meet criminal history record compliance standards based on federal and state regulations. AIU personnel also conduct NCJ Compliance Audits on a triennial basis per federal mandate.
On this page, agencies can find several resources, including a Noncriminal Justice Fingerprint Compliance guide, NCJ Help sheets, forms, examples, and links to assist with the duties and responsibilities when accessing/handling state and federal criminal history records. Agencies can also find additional information under their specific agency type under the Agency Resource tab above. For questions, review the FAQs tab or contact a Noncriminal Justice Compliance Specialist.
Abbreviated Arizona Noncriminal Justice Agency Guide - This guide is intended to assist Arizona agencies which submit fingerprints and receive criminal justice information and criminal history record information for noncriminal justice purposes pursuant to authorizations allowed by state and federal law. This is the abbreviated version of our Agency Guide appropriate for public release. Agencies currently enrolled in the NCJ Program may request the full version by email at [email protected].
Compliance Help Sheets
First Steps Help Sheet - This sheet list the steps for agencies to take to get started with noncriminal justice fingerprint compliance.
Compliance Overview - This sheet gives an overview of the main compliance areas reviewed during a routine criminal justice audit.
Noncriminal Justice Compliance Worksheet - This worksheet is intended to assist agencies in formulating required internal compliance processes and training. It contains questions and examples as well as references to informational resources.
Guidelines for Required FBI Notifications - Summarizes the FBI requirements for notification of applicant privacy rights.
NCJ Compliance Self-Check - This sheet is a tool to help agencies assess their own readiness for audit in each area. It contains references where an agency can find out more about each audit area.
ASC Responsibilities Handout - This sheet lists the basic responsibilities for the Agency Security Contact.
NCJ Training Reservation Form - Use this form to make reservations for Noncriminal Justice Agency training classes. Training reservations should be made by the Agency Security Contact. For more information on available training see the Training Tab.
NCJ Information Change Form - Use this form to update the agency’s file with a new Agency Security Contact (ASC) or CEO (agency head) or to notify DPS of changes to the Agency Name, Agency Phone, Mailing Address or Physical Address.
NCJ Training Documentation Form - Use this form to document Authorized Personnel's CJIS Online training and your agency's internal Privacy and Security Training. Keep completed forms on file at the agency; training logs will be reviewed during audits.
Notifications of Applicant Privacy Rights- Notifications required by the FBI to be provided to all applicants prior to being fingerprinted. This includes the Privacy Act Statement of 1974. Agencies must specify a "reasonable amount of time" using the drop down menus.
Example Authorized Personnel List - An agency’s Authorized Personnel List contains all agency personnel whom the agency has identified as authorized to access, view, handle, and/or destroy criminal justice information and criminal history record information. This example shows the format and required information for an Authorized Personnel List.
Example Fingerprint Card - This example fingerprint card shows the proper placement of required information.
Example Noncriminal Justice Compliance Policy and Procedures - This template can be adapted to suit your agency’s needs.
Below are useful information links for agencies which submit fingerprints for noncriminal justice purposes.
NCJA Agency Resources
See the Compliance Overview tab for forms and more information.
Public School Districts
Public school districts are authorized to use two processes for fingerprint checks: the fingerprint clearance card process and the fingerprint criminal history check process. Click here for an explanation of the two processes.
Charter schools are authorized to use to use two processes for fingerprint checks: the fingerprint clearance card process and the fingerprint criminal history check process. Click here for an explanation of the two processes.
Individuals REQUIRED to obtain a Fingerprint Clearance Card:
- Persons required by the AZ Department of Education (ADE) to be certified.
- Any person engaged in instructional work directly as a classroom, laboratory or other teacher or indirectly as a supervisory teacher, speech therapist, or principal.
- A charter board member or a person seeking to establish a charter school.
- Persons who participate in a teacher preparation program that is approved by the state board of education.
- Persons contracted by this state, by a school district, or by a charter school to provide tutoring services.
- Contractors, subcontractors or vendors and their employees (unless exempted by district policies implemented under ARS 15-512.
Individuals PERMITTED BUT NOT REQUIRED to obtain a Fingerprint Clearance Card:
- Non-certified (classified) personnel, or they may be fingerprinted for a fingerprint criminal history check.
- Non-parent/non-guardian volunteers, or they may be fingerprinted for a fingerprint criminal history check.
- Parent volunteers, or they may be fingerprinted for a fingerprint criminal history check.
- Other employees or volunteers not otherwise required by ARS 15-512 to be fingerprinted, or they may be fingerprinted for a fingerprint criminal history check.
State level fingerprint criminal history checks (only Arizona checks):
- Provisional checks - State level fingerprint criminal history checks are performed when a school district hires an employee prior to the person receiving (or being denied) a fingerprint clearance card.
- Parent volunteers - The district may require parent volunteers to undergo a state level only fingerprint criminal history check, a state/FBI fingerprint criminal history check, or obtain a fingerprint clearance card.
(A.R.S. § 15-512 sections A, C, and G contain language concerning whether the school or the applicant/volunteer bears the cost of obtaining the clearance card or fingerprint checks. Please consult your legal advisor concerning whether your school or the applicant/volunteer is responsible for the cost for the specific classification and/or situation for which the person is being fingerprinted.)
- Arizona Department of Education
- Arizona Department of Public Safety Applicant Clearance Team
- Arizona Department of Public Safety Criminal History Records Unit
Non-profit agencies which interact with children or vulnerable adults are permitted under Arizona state law to receive Arizona criminal history record information for the purpose of evaluating the fitness of all current and prospective employees, contractors and volunteers of the organization.
In order to be eligible to receive Arizona criminal history, the organization must:
- Be registered to do business as a non-profit in Arizona.
- Have at least one component which interacts with children and/or vulnerable adults
- Have an office located within the state of Arizona where the criminal history will be received.
- ARS 41-1750 - Central state repository; department of public safety; duties; funds; accounts; definitions.
State statute requires fire districts to "require probationary employees in a paid sworn firefighter position, a reserve firefighter position or a volunteer firefighter position to submit a full set of fingerprints to the fire district." (ARS 48-805)
State statute also allows fire districts to fingerprint other types of employees and volunteers of the fire district if the board desires. Fingerprinting of those who are not firefighters is not required.
Fire district personnel are NOT eligible to obtain fingerprint clearance cards through DPS and may not legally apply for one unless they fall under a specific authorization which matches their status. For example, a fire district employee/volunteer enrolling in a paramedic program would be eligible to apply for a clearance card as a health science student.
Criminal Justice Agencies
Can a criminal justice agency have a noncriminal justice function?
Yes. The definition of a "noncriminal justice agency" for the purposes of access to criminal history record information includes a subunit of an entity that has a primary purpose other than the administration of criminal justice. Noncriminal justice criminal history record information checks include but are not limited to: licensing determinations, noncriminal justice employment/volunteers, adoptions, guardianships, conservators, etc.
Example 1: A police department which is involved in city licensing determinations
Example 2: Courts (or officers of the court) conducting criminal history checks for prospective adoptive parents, guardianships, and process server evaluations
Example 3: County sheriff's department conducting pawnbroker licensing
Criminal justice agencies are not permitted to use ACJIS terminals to conduct checks for these purposes because these types of checks fall outside the administration of criminal justice as defined in state and federal statutes. Fingerprint cards must be submitted in order to obtain criminal history checks for noncriminal justice purposes.
If you have questions about whether a particular function falls under criminal justice or noncriminal justice processes, please contact the Access Integrity Unit.
ARS 41-1750 - Central state repository; department of public safety; duties; funds; accounts; definitions
What is the difference between a fingerprint clearance card and a fingerprint criminal history check?
For a fingerprint clearance card, an individual submits a fingerprint card and application to the DPS Applicant Clearance Card Team (along with the appropriate fee). This application process is between the individual and DPS; an agency may facilitate the application process by supplying instructions and applications, but the process does not fundamentally involve the agency. DPS reviews the criminal history and makes the suitability determination; the criminal history is not sent to the employing agency. The applicant's state and FBI criminal history are checked against the precluding factors set out in state law. If the applicant's criminal history does not contain one of the precluding factors, the person will be granted a clearance card. If the individual has criminal history but the crimes are not on the precluding factor list, or the criminal history does contain a precluding factor but the applicant successfully petitions the Board of Fingerprinting for a "good cause" exception, the individual will be granted a clearance card. The plastic clearance card, or a denial letter if the applicant is not granted a card, is sent directly to the applicant. Subsequent Arizona arrests/convictions may result in a "file stop" and trigger a review to see if a clearance card should be suspended or revoked.
In the fingerprint criminal history check process, the agency submits the applicant's fingerprints (along with an inventory sheet and appropriate fee) to DPS. The state and FBI criminal history databases that are checked for a fingerprint criminal history check are the same ones that are checked a person applies for a clearance card. If the agency is eligible to receive both state and FBI criminal history, then both levels of criminal history are retrieved and the full criminal history is sent to the agency for review. There is no current "file stop" program for fingerprint criminal history checks; an agency would only see changes to a person's criminal history if the fingerprints were submitted again.
Who is allowed to apply for a fingerprint clearance card?
Not everyone is eligible to apply for a clearance card; it is a common misconception by many organizations that if a person is going to be working around children, that person is automatically eligible. Eligibility for a clearance card is NOT based on contact with children; it is based on falling into a specific category of employment/volunteer designated in state statute, and there is no statutory authorization for applying for a clearance card simply because a person works or volunteers with children. In order to apply for a fingerprint clearance card, the individual MUST fall into one of the categories listed on either the IVP or the non-IVP clearance card application; if the individual does not fit into one of the categories, then the person is not eligible to apply. Statutory authorizations are the only way the state can legally access criminal history on an individual for the purposes of evaluating a person's suitability for a clearance card.
Is my agency eligible to submit fingerprints?
Agencies can only submit fingerprints for noncriminal justice purposes pursuant to specific statutes, ordinances, or executive orders. For more information, go to the Applying for Access page. For questions regarding agency eligibility, contact the Access Integrity Unit Noncriminal Justice Compliance Team
My agency is eligible to submit fingerprints for criminal history checks. How do we get started?
See the Applying for Access page for more information on the application process. If the application is approved, the agency will be required to sign a user agreement, establish an Agency Security Contact, and send at least one representative to Initial Access Training. Once initial requirements are met, the agency will be issued an OCA and receive basic fingerprinting supplies (cards, inventory sheets). DPS does not supply fingerprint ink.
Does the fingerprinting have to be done by a certified fingerprint technician?
Arizona has no certification requirement for personnel who perform fingerprinting; however, individual agencies may require that fingerprinting be done by specific organizations or personnel. At a minimum, the person conducting the fingerprinting should be compliant with the user agreement requirements regarding proper identification of applicants and protection of the fingerprints as well as any applicable state requirements.
strong>How long does the fingerprint-based criminal history check process take?
The criminal history check process takes approximately ten working days. However, backlogs and large volumes can extend this time. Incorrect inventory sheets, incomplete/incorrect fingerprint cards, and improper payments also can delay processing.
Can I pay to have fingerprints expedited?
No. There is no expedite process for fingerprint-based criminal history checks.
How often can an agency submit fingerprints on any one person?
The particular statutory authority an agency submits under may have specific submission requirement intervals. In the absence of such a requirement or other restriction, the agency can conduct fingerprint-based criminal history checks on a person as often as the submitting agency deems necessary. Consult your agency's legal advisor.
Do all of our agency's personnel need to come to training at DPS?
No. New agencies are required to send at least one person to Initial Access and NCJ Compliance Training. This person should be prepared to share the information learned with the relevant personnel at the agency.
An agency's Authorized Personnel (those people which the agency designates as allowed to access/view/handle criminal history record information) do not need to come to DPS for training. Authorized Personnel must complete the following training:CJIS Online Security & Awareness Training (click on the CJIS Online tab above for more information). Your agency’s privacy security training, which consists of basic privacy and security rules, and your agency’s policies/procedures for criminal history handling, is the other component of training authorized personnel must complete.
Can my agency give an applicant a copy of his/her own criminal history?
No. Under current state law, this would be an unauthorized dissemination of criminal history. If applicants feel that their Arizona criminal history is inaccurate, they can contact the DPS Criminal History Records Unit for a “review and challenge” packet.
How will my agency know when it has been selected for a routine compliance audit?
When an agency has been selected for a routine compliance audit, the agency ASC will be notified in writing approximately 30 days in advance. Routine audits review requirements in the area of general administration, fingerprint submissions, privacy and security, and training of Authorized Personnel. For more information, go to the "Overview" page.
What is an Agency Security Contact (ASC)?
Each agency is required to establish an Agency Security Contact (ASC). The ASC is the person who is the primary liaison with DPS and is responsible for coordinating agency compliance with all federal and state laws/regulations pertaining to the access, use, handling, dissemination, and destruction of criminal justice information and criminal history record information. The person listed as the ASC should be familiar with the agency's fingerprint submission process and with the agency's procedures for receipt and handling of criminal history results. Email will be a primary method of contact between the DPS Access Integrity Unit and the ASC. To change the Agency Security Contact, use the NCJ Information Change Form
What is an OCA?
The OCA is the nine character alphanumeric identifier under which your agency submits fingerprints; this identifier was assigned to your agency when access to criminal history checks was established with the Arizona Department of Public Safety. For the noncriminal justice process, the first two characters in the identifier are “XX” followed by seven numbers/letters. The OCA is also the number that the agency writes in the “Your No. OCA” box on the actual fingerprint card.<
Someone from DPS called and said they needed to meet to discuss a possible misuse of criminal history. What's this about?
If the Access Integrity Unit Compliance Specialists receive a complaint or allegation regarding possible unauthorized use or dissemination of CJI/CHRI, AIU personnel will contact the user agency's ASC by phone to set up an administrative review called a directed audit. Areas which will be audited are the same ones that are checked during a routine audit; in addition, compliance specialists may focus on the policies, procedures, process, and actions most closely related to the allegation. A directed audit does not replace a routine audit. If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a phone call related to your fingerprint criminal history check process, look up the main phone number for Arizona DPS in a source you trust, call, and ask for the Access Integrity Unit supervisor. AIU Compliance Specialists also wear state ID when meeting with you.
Who do I contact if I:
- Need help filling out fingerprint cards and/or inventory sheets?
- Applicant Team.
- Need help with a payment for fingerprint submissions for criminal history checks?
- Applicant Team.
- Need help with payment for a fingerprint clearance card?
- Applicant Clearance Card Team
- Have questions about the online Security & Awareness site (CJISonline.com)?
- Access Integrity Unit Noncriminal Justice Fingerprint Compliance Team
- Have questions about Privacy and Security issues?
- Access Integrity Unit Noncriminal Justice Fingerprint Compliance Team
- Have questions about training or need to make training reservations?
- Access Integrity Unit Noncriminal Justice Fingerprint Compliance Team
- Need help preparing for an upcoming fingerprint compliance audit?
- Access Integrity Unit Noncriminal Justice Fingerprint Compliance Team
- Need clearance card applications (IVP application and/or regular clearance card application)?
- Applicant Clearance Card Team
- Need inventory sheets or fingerprint cards for criminal history checks?
- Applicant Team
- Want to verify the status of a clearance card?
- Applicant Clearance Card Team
NCJA CJIS Online
All agencies which receive criminal history record information for noncriminal justice purposes must designate personnel who are authorized to view, use, and handle the information. These Authorized Personnel are required to take the CJIS Online Security & Awareness Training within 6 months of being designated as authorized and must repeat the training every two years. The online Security Awareness Training should be documented on the NCJ Training Documentation Form.
CJIS Online Training Instructions 11-15-22 - The CJIS Online Instructions will provide a walkthrough for Agency Security Contacts and Authorized Personnel to login to CJIS Online and complete the mandatory Security Awareness Training. CJIS Online Security Awareness Training was drafted for both criminal justice and noncriminal justice users.
Click here to access the CJIS Online website.
The DPS Access Integrity Unit offers free training to agencies which submit fingerprints for noncriminal justice purposes in order to assist them in complying with state and federal requirements associated with fingerprint-based criminal history checks. DPS training classes are not required for existing agencies.
If You Wish To Attend A DPS Training Class
2. Complete the NCJ Training Reservation Form. Training reservations are first-come-first-serve and should be made by the user agency's Agency Security Contact. Reservation forms can be mailed or faxed to the information on the form, or emailed to [email protected] with subject line "Training Reservations". Confirmation will be emailed to the ASC. Classes are free of charge.
3. Look for your email confirmation. Once you are scheduled for a class, the AIU Noncriminal Justice Compliance Team will send the Agency Security Contact a confirmation email containing location details and other pertinent information. Unless otherwise noted on the Training Schedule, training will be held at the Department of Public Safety in Phoenix.
NCJA Applying for Access
Access to fingerprint-based criminal history record information for a noncriminal justice purpose such as employment, volunteers, licensing, etc., is governed by state and federal laws, rules, and regulations. Eligible agencies submit applicants' fingerprints to the Arizona Department of Public Safety and receive the applicants' criminal histories for review.
The criminal history check process is not the same as the fingerprint clearance card process. If you have questions about fingerprint clearance cards, click here.
Eligibility for access to noncriminal justice fingerprint criminal history is limited to specific purposes defined by law. Under current law, the following types of agencies are eligible to receive fingerprint-based criminal history checks in Arizona:
- Public agencies, pursuant to a specific purpose defined in an approved statute, ordinance, or executive order. Examples of these types of agencies are public district schools, charter schools, cities, counties, fire districts, state licensing agencies, and courts. Private schools are not eligible unless they are also non-profit (see below).
- Non-profit agencies which interact with children and/or vulnerable adults. These agencies are eligible for Arizona criminal history only.
- Private adoption agencies appointed by court order to conduct pre-adoption investigations. These agencies are eligible for Arizona criminal history only.
Applying for Access
If your agency is seeking access under an EXISTING statute, ordinance, resolution, or executive order, please complete the Application for Access and return it to the DPS Access Integrity Unit (AIU) at the address noted on the application. AIU Personnel will contact you regarding the status of your application.
If your agency is seeking to have a NEW statute, ordinance, or resolution approved in order to establish a new route of access, please contact the DPS Applicant Team at (602) 223-2223 for information needed to begin the approval process. Once approved, you will need to fill out the Application for Access citing your new authorization and send the application to AIU.
For questions regarding agency eligibility, contact the DPS Applicant Team at (602) 223-2223 or the Noncriminal Justice Compliance Team at (602) 223-2488.
NCJA Compliance Audits
The Noncriminal Justice Fingerprint Compliance ProgramThe Noncriminal Justice Agency Fingerprint Compliance Program was introduced by DPS in 2013. It is anticipated that the first audit cycle under this new program will be a training audit cycle in which agencies will be advised of compliance issues and offered training to assist them in correcting deficiencies. Agencies are encouraged to fully review the Arizona Noncriminal Justice Agency Guide and begin implementing any changes they identify are needed prior to being selected for a compliance audit. The Access Integrity Unit Noncriminal Justice Compliance Team is available to assist agencies with any questions they may have.
What is a compliance audit?An audit is an administrative review of an agency's processes to ensure compliance with state and federal rules regarding fingerprint submission and criminal history record handling. Every agency which submits fingerprints for noncriminal justice purposes is subject to audit. Audits are conducted by the DPS Access Integrity Unit (AIU) Noncriminal Justice Compliance Team on a scheduled cycle. On occasion, personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Justice Information Services Division may select an agency for audit as well.
The NCJ Routine Audit ProcessAudits focus on four main areas: general administration, fingerprint submissions, privacy and security, and training. Agency practices and documentation will be checked to ensure that the agency is complying with state and federal laws and regulations.
An agency will receive written notice of a routine audit approximately 30 days in advance. The notice will contain both audit instructions for the Agency Security Contact (ASC) and documentation that will need to be completed prior to the audit date. The notice will advise the ASC if the audit will be conducted in person or by telephone; if in person, the AIU Noncriminal Justice Compliance Specialist will travel to the agency on the specified date. The ASC will need to attend the audit as well as any other personnel whom the ASC feels may be needed to answer the compliance specialist's questions and any other individual whom the agency wishes to have present.
Following the audit, the AIU Noncriminal Justice Compliance Team will issue a written report to the agency. The agency will be given a reasonable timeline to implement any needed changes.
Directed AuditsA directed audit is an administrative review that is triggered by an allegation of misuse of criminal justice/criminal history record information obtained through the fingerprint submittal process. If such an allegation or complaint is reported to DPS, AIU personnel will contact the Agency Security Contact by phone to set up a meeting. Areas which will be audited are the same ones that are checked during a routine audit; in addition, compliance specialists may focus on the policies, procedures, process, and actions most closely related to the allegation. A directed audit does not replace a routine audit; usually, if a directed audit sustains the allegation, the agency will be scheduled for a routine audit after corrective actions have had time to be integrated into the agency's processes in order to ensure that the issue leading to the misuse has been adequately addressed.
NCJA Applicant Team
>The Applicant Team is the unit at DPS which processes fingerprint criminal history check submissions and provides criminal history results to authorized agencies. The Applicant Team does NOT handle fingerprint clearance cards; for clearance card questions, please contact the Applicant Clearance Card Team.
A correct fingerprint submission packet contains:
- Fingerprint card(s)
- The inventory sheet(s) associated with the fingerprint cards
- Payment in the correct amount
The agency may send up to 3 payment instruments (for example, money orders) per inventory sheet. The Applicant Team does not accept cash, personal checks, third party checks, or credit cards as payment.
Fees (current as of October 2015)
|Regular Applicant (state/FBI checks)||$22.00 per card|
|Applicants who are volunteers working with minors, elderly, or the disabled||$20.00 per card|
|State Level only (ONLY checks Arizona records)||$5.00 per card|
Do not include any other correspondence or clearance card applications in the fingerprint submission packet.
- Clearance cards are processed by the Applicant Clearance Card Team and should be mailed directly to their office.
- Compliance documentation such as Authorized Personnel Lists should be sent to the Access Integrity Unit Noncriminal Justice Compliance Team at [email protected].
For more information on how to properly submit fingerprints for criminal history checks, refer to the Arizona Noncriminal Justice Agency Guide (click on the "Overview” tab above).
The DPS Applicant Team supplies inventory sheets and fingerprint cards to authorized submitting agencies free of charge. DPS does not supply fingerprinting ink. To order supplies for your agency, download and complete the Applicant Team Supply Order form.
Supply Order Form instructions:
- Enter the desired number of fingerprint cards on the line provided.
- Enter the desired number of inventory sheets on the line provided.
- Enter your agency's information as requested. (For noncriminal justice submissions, enter your agency's nine character "XX" identifier on the "Agency ORI" line.
- Mail or fax directly the Supply Order Form to the Applicant Team.
Applicant Team Agency Point of Contact
The Applicant Team maintains a point of contact with each submitting agency for the purpose of resolving any issues that may arise with an agency's fingerprint submissions. This may not be the same as the Agency Security Contact established with the DPS Noncriminal Justice Compliance Team for compliance purposes, although the same person may fulfill both roles.
Two methods to change the Applicant Team contact:
- Mail/fax a letter on agency letterhead to the Applicant Team outlining the information you wish to change. Changes to an agency's main contact or the mailing address for the criminal history results must be made in writing.
- If your agency is designating a new Agency Security Contact for Noncriminal Justice Compliance, there is a box on the NCJ Agency Information Change Form to designate the new ASC as the Applicant Team contact. If you check that box, the compliance team will notify the Applicant Team of the update. If the box is unchecked, the Applicant Team contact will not be changed.
Please send all update correspondence separate from fingerprint submissions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the fingerprint criminal history check the same as the fingerprint clearance card?
There are two fingerprinting processes in Arizona: the fingerprint criminal history check and the fingerprint clearance card. The Applicant Team handles agency submissions for fingerprint criminal history checks; the Clearance Card Team handles individual applications for fingerprint clearance cards. The same state/FBI databases are checked for both processes. One of the main differences in the process is who reviews the information.
In the fingerprint criminal history check process, the agency submits the applicant's fingerprints (along with an inventory sheet and appropriate fee) to DPS. The criminal history results are returned to the agency to review for the authorized suitability purpose.
In the fingerprint clearance card process, an individual submits a fingerprint card and application to the DPS Applicant Clearance Card Team (along with the appropriate fee) pursuant to state law, marking the appropriate legal authorization matching the individual's status. (If the individual does not meet one of the authorization boxes on the application, the person is not eligible to apply for a clearance card.) The DPS Applicant Clearance Card Team reviews the criminal history and makes the suitability determination based on the precluding factors set out in state law; the agency the person works for does not see the criminal history. If the individual has no criminal history OR has a criminal history but the crimes are not on the precluding factor list OR the criminal history contains an appealable precluding factor and the applicant successfully petitions the Board of Fingerprinting for a "good cause" exception, the individual will be granted a clearance card. The plastic clearance card, or a denial letter if the applicant is not granted a card, is sent directly to the applicant.
How long does the fingerprint-based criminal history check process take?
Processing time for fingerprint submissions is approximately 7-10 business days. Please be aware that processing time can vary significantly due to volume fluctuations throughout the year. Incorrect inventory sheets, incomplete/incorrect fingerprint cards, and improper payments also can delay processing.
Can you check my criminal history to see if I will qualify for a clearance card or for a particular license/employment position?
No. The Applicant Team only processes fingerprint criminal history checks from agencies. The only way to see if you qualify for a clearance card is to apply (under the proper authorization). However, individuals are permitted by law to review the criminal history record stored in the Central State Repository at DPS. You will need a Record Review Packet provided by the DPS Criminal History Records Unit. Once you receive your record, it can only be used for your review and to challenge its contents; you cannot use the record as proof of fingerprint clearance for employment, licensing, certification, etc. For more information on reviewing/challenging your criminal history record, please visit the DPS Criminal History Records section of the DPS website.
Does the Applicant Team send criminal history directly to out-of-state agencies?
No. We only process fingerprint criminal history checks for authorized Arizona agencies. Agencies must have a legal authorization to submit fingerprints; those agencies submitting for noncriminal justice purposes such as employment, licensing, adoptions, etc., must have a valid user agreement on file with DPS and be an active participant in the Arizona Noncriminal Justice Fingerprint Compliance Program.
Contact The DPS Applicant Team
If you have questions regarding fingerprint submission payments or processing, please contact the DPS Applicant Team:
Arizona Department of Public Safety
P.O. Box 18430 | Mail Drop 3190
Phoenix, AZ 85005-8430
Phone: (602) 223-2223
Fax: (602) 223-2972
Thank you for your interest in contacting the Access Integrity Unit Noncriminal Justice Compliance Team. You may contact us with questions regarding fingerprint compliance, training, or applying for access using any of the methods listed below:
Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday
Closed on all state holidays
Arizona Department of Public Safety
Access Integrity Unit
Attn: Noncriminal Justice Agency Compliance
P.O. Box 6638 | Mail Drop 3160
Phoenix, AZ 85005-6638
For questions regarding fingerprint submission payments or processing, please contact the DPS Applicant Team.