Criminal History Background Checks

The University of California, Santa Barbara strives to provide the safest possible work environment; to protect key organizational assets such as people, property, and personal or other sensitive information; and to enable hiring authorities to make prudent employment decisions for career, limited appointment, contract, and student employee positions designated as critical based upon more comprehensive job-related information as consistent with Systemwide Personnel Policies for Staff Members - Policy 21.E: Background Checks (revised 2/3/17).

To support these efforts and to minimize risk to the University, a criminal history background check, which is typically conducted as a fingerprint background check, is required on the candidate recommended for hire into a critical position. An offer of employment must be contingent upon completion of a satisfactory criminal history background check.

Step 1: Department determines if a new or vacant position is critical.

A position shall be designated as critical if the position has one or more of the elements listed below:

  1. Possession of building master keys for access to residences, offices, or other facilities.
  2. Direct responsibility for the care, safety and security of people, including children and minors, or property, including personal and University.
  3. Direct access to or responsibility for controlled substances (as defined in BFB-BUS-50); access to certain high risk hazardous chemicals, biological or radioactive/nuclear materials for which background checks are required by federal or state regulations or access to any other hazardous material specifically designated by the UC Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety.
  4. Direct access to and/or responsibility for protected, personal, or other restricted or sensitive institutional information, including information on students, faculty, staff, or other University constituents, and IT resources that process, transmit or store restricted or sensitive institutional information.
  5. Responsibility for operating commercial vehicles, machinery or toxic systems that could result in accidental death, injury or health problems.
  6. Requirement for a professional license, certificate, or degree, the absence of which would expose the University to legal liability and/or negative public reaction.
  7. Direct access to and/or responsibility for information affecting national security.
  8. Direct access to or responsibility for cash, cash equivalents, checks, credit/debit cards, University property, disbursements or reciepts (as defined in BUS-49, Section III.C.).
  9. Authority for committing the financial resources of the University through contracts or agreements.

If the position is determined to be critical, the department is responsible to document the critical nature of the position on the job description and on the requisition when submitting one for recruitment.

Step 2: Department initiates fingerprint background check for the candidate recommended for hire.

1. Department completes Fingerprint Authorization Form - Form A for the candidate recommended for hire.

a. Select the level of service: California Department of Justice (DOJ) check is required if the candidate/employee has lived and worked in California only; otherwise, both DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) checks are required.

b. Provide a recharge or BARC account number for the DOJ or DOJ/FBI Live Scan processing fees.

c. Indicate if the employee is to be reimbursed for any "rolling" fee collected by the Live Scan operator at the time of the appointment.

d. Complete the remainder of the form with the appropriate department budgetary approvals and contact information for results.

2. Department submits a hiring proposal to Employment via OACIS and emails the completed Fingerprint Authorization Form - Form A to the Recruiter.  If a recruitment was not conducted, the department submits the completed Fingerprint Authorization Form - Form A and Authorization to Release Information - Form C to the Human Resources Office via email to katharine.martin@hr.ucsb.edu or has the candidate/employee deliver the completed forms in-person. 

Questions? Send email to katharine.martin@hr.ucsb.edu or call x3482.

Step 3: Human Resources extends job offer, collects Form C from candidate and issues the Request for Live Scan Service form.

1. Recruiter extends the job offer for the critical position. If the candidate is a current or former employee, the Recruiter determines if a fingerprint background check was conducted within the last six months. If yes, another criminal history background check will not be required for appointment to the position.

2. If the offer is accepted, the Recruiter forwards the appointment letter and  Authorization to Release Information - Form C to the candidate.

3. Upon the receipt of the completed Form C, the Recruiter forwards a Request for Live Scan Service form to the candidate that is partially completed with Human Resources' account and billing information. If no recruitment was conducted. Human Resources will issue the partially completed Request for Live Scan Service form to the candidate/employee, or the department, upon receipt for the completed Forms A and C.

Step 4: Candidate schedules Live Scan appointment and attends appointment.

1. The candidate schedules a Live Scan appointment with either:

a. A California city police or a California county sheriff's department - Click here for a "local" list.  For other listings by county, visit: https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations.

b. UCSB-approved Mobile Live Scan Operator - Click here for details.

  • Accu-Prints
  • Lori's Mobile Notary Services and Fingerprinting

2. The candidate attends appointment, bringing the Request for Live Scan Service form, acceptable identification (CA Driver's License, CA Identification Card, or U.S. Passport), and cash for the "rolling fee" and, if applicable, the Live Scan fee.

3. After the appointment, the candidate requests two copies of the completed Request for Live Scan Service form and a receipt for any fees paid.  The candidate retains one copy of the Request for Live Scan form for his/her records and returns the other copy to Human Resources in-person or via interoffice mail (and not via email given sensitive data on the form). The candidate submits the receipt to his/her department for reimbursement of any fees paid, as applicable.

Questions? Send email to katharine.martin@hr.ucsb.edu or call x3482.

Step 5: Human Resources receives the results for the fingerprint background check and determines if they are satisfactory.

If the fingerprint background check contains a criminal conviction or other potentially disqualifying information, Human Resources must conduct an individualized assessment. A criminal conviction will not automatically disqualify a candidate from employment. When conducting an individualized assessment, factors to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Whether the law prohibits the candidate from holding the position based on the nature of the conviction;
  • The nature and gravity of the offense(s)
  • The length of time that has passed since the offense(s) occurred and/or completion of the sentence;
  • The nature of the position applied for, including the circumstances under which and the environment in which the duties must be performed, i.e., whether the position offers the opportunity for the same or a similar offense to occur;
  • Evidence of rehabilitation (documentation or testimony) or other evidence of good conduct;
  • Whether the candidate is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program; and
  • Any explanation offered by the candidate.

Step 6: Human Resources notifies department of status of fingerprint background check

Employment will notify the department if the candidate/employee has completed a satisfactory criminal history background check. Questions? Send email to katharine.martin@hr.ucsb.edu or call x3482.

Forms and Live Scan Locations

Fingerprint Authorization Form - Form A

Authorization to Release Information Form - C

Live Scan Locations

Important Note: The Request for Live Scan Service form is only available from Human Resources. If the candidate/employee attends their appointment without this form in hand, the Live Scan operator can charge the candidate/employee for the full cost of the rolling fee plus the Live Scan processing fee.

Delay and Reject Notifications

In addition to fingerprints matching criminal offender record information (CORI) in the criminal history database, delays can be caused for a variety of other reasons; some of which occur before the transaction ever reaches the DOJ. For example, poor fingerprint quality or incorrect data in the electronic transaction can cause a delay.

Poor fingerprint quality means the fingerprint image is not as clear as it should be, which impacts the system’s ability to confirm or dismiss a potential fingerprint match. When the ambiguity is identified, the potential match or matches must be manually (visually) compared and verified before the transaction can be processed. It is also entirely possible that fingerprints accepted by the DOJ system could be rejected by the FBI, because the FBI uses a higher threshold (sensitivity when comparing one print to another) to define a match.

Incorrect data entries can be prevented by making sure the live scan operator has entered all the information provided on the Request for Live Scan Service Form correctly.

Fingerprint images can be rejected by the DOJ and/or the FBI. Fingerprints that are rejected twice by the DOJ due to poor print quality will be processed by the DOJ using the applicant’s name to check the criminal history database for any existing criminal history. If an applicant’s fingerprints are rejected twice by the FBI due to poor print quality, the form BCIA 8020, REQUEST FOR APPLICANT NAME CHECK BY THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) must be submitted.

(Source: State of California Office of the Department of Justice website, https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints)

Follow-up Requests

DOJ does not accept questions or status inquiries related to Live Scan submissions that have not been in process 30 days or longer.  Send email to katharine.martin@hr.ucsb.edu or call x3482 if more than 30 days have passed and you would like to request a follow-up.

Other Information/Resources

Cleaning Your Record

DOJ Fingerprint Background Check website

FAQs (Source: State of California Office of the Department of Justice)

For information regarding criminal history background checks for vendors and international candidates/employees, send email to katharine.martin@hr.ucsb.edu, x3482 or melinda.crawford@hr.ucsb.edu, x5781.