The general requirements to become a locksmith in California are:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Undergo a criminal history review by the Department of Justice and the FBI
- Specify who will run the business
The Application Process
The application package consists of the following items:
- License Application (Form 31A-4)
- Personal Identification (Form 31A-9)
- A copy of the Live Scan Form (BCII 8016)
- Two (2) recent photographs or IDs
- Request for Authorization of Business name (this is typically only for fictitious business names)
- Endorsed Articles of Incorporation (if filing as a corporation)
In addition, if you maintain a physical office you will be required by Code 6980.26 to obtain a branch office registration. Mobile locksmiths are exempt from this requirement. If you need to start working immediately you can apply for a temporary registration which will be valid for 120 days or until you receive your actual registration.
You can download all application forms here (make sure you scroll to the “Locksmith” section of the page): https://www.bsis.ca.gov/forms_pubs/index.shtml
Fees and Processing
Compile the above documents and forms. Double-check them to ensure you filled them out correctly.
The locksmith applicant must submit the application to the following address:
Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
P.O. Box 989002
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002
Breakdown of fees that need to be included:
Application Fee: $250
License Fee: $250
The locksmith applicant is required to submit fingerprints electronically using Live Scan. You must only use the Live Scan forms downloaded from the Bureau’s Website or obtained in person from the Bureau.
Breakdown of fees paid at Live Scan site:
DOJ Fingerprint Fee: $32
FBI Fingerprint Fee: $17
Once the application has been reviewed by the Bureau and criminal history clearances granted, you will be able to find the processed application on the Bureau’s Website. The actual locksmith registration will be mailed to the applicant within 10-15 business days.
Just remember California requires all locksmiths to maintain a current license and renewal certificate conspicuously displayed at all times.
*If you are opening a physical office you will also be charged at $35 branch office fee.
One Last Note
If for any reason your services will include work that exceeds $500 you will also need a contractor’s license. You can find more information about that here: https://www.cslb.ca.gov/