Frequently Asked Questions

See also Infrequently Asked Questions
If I register in the county where I reside or do business, am only allow to serve in that county?
No. Registration is statewide. Once registered, you may serve anywhere in California.
Can I post $2000.00 cash instead of a bond?
Yes.  You may post cash or a money order for $2000.00 instead of the bond.  Since the cash amount replaces a performance bond, and the bond covers acts for a term certain, and a claim could come after the "term", some counties may not be immediately release the money upon the expiration of the term of the registration. They may hold if for 3 years after the termination of the bonding period - and every subsequent term.
How much does it cost to register as a process server?The fee to the County Clerk varies by county but is generally about $100 ($183 in Los Angeles )  The Live Scan fingerprints are usually about $70 and.  Passport style photos are about $10.  A process server bond is $49. (Check How to Become a RPS in California under the Resources drop down menu at the top of this page.)
I'm a licensed private investigator. Does the law require me to register as a process server?No. The new law did not affect the exemption from registering as a process server. The law continues to exempt a sheriff, marshal, or government employee who is acting within the course and scope of his or her employment, lawyers or their employees, licensed private investigators or their employees, and anyone specially appointed by the court.
However, being "exempt from registration" does not mean "registered as a process server." Several laws require that a "registered process server" serve certain documents. Being exempt from registration only permits service of summonses, subpoenas, notices and small claims documents without breaking the law.
I'm a registered professional photocopier and serve only subpoenas for records. Do I have to register?No.  There is an exemption for photocopiers who serve only subpoenas for records.  The law requires registration only if the photocopier serves other types of documents.
Do I have to request Live Scan fingerprints every time I register?The initial application is the first time a process server registers. If a registration lapses, a process server may re-register and keep the same RPS number if done within 3 years after it lapses. Under current law. the clerk will require a new Live Scan finger-print process.
Where does the Live Scan fingerprint information go? The Live Scan operator transmits the imaged fingerprints to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with a $51.00 processing fee as part of the fee that the registrant pays. Both the DOJ and FBI conducts a felony background check. Each agency conducts the check and will send a reports to the County Clerk.
Each County Clerk has filed with the DOJ a "Contract for Subsequent Arrest Notification" requesting notification of existing felonies and any arrests after the initial check.
I must register as a corporation. Do all corporate officers need to be fingerprinted?The law seems to imply that all corporate officers must sign the certificate and submit submit a Live Scan Application.

Do all partners need to be fingerprinted?The law seems to imply that all general partners must sign the certificate and submit submit a Live Scan Application.
I am fingerprinted already as a Private Investigator, Notary Public, etc. Do I need to do it again?Yes.  This initiates another background check.  The law requires it. The background check designates the County Clerk as the agency to which the Department of Justice and FBI  provides "subsequent arrest notification" if the applicant is convicted of a felony.
I have been a resident for less than one year. Can I register?This has been a requirement since 1971 and has not changed with the new law.  Corporations and partnerships must also be in existence for a year prior to registering as a process server.  However, if the officer or partner has been individually registered, he or she may register the company because of the pre-existing registration.
I had a DUI in 1973. Can I still register as a process server?The registrant must sign a statement of the of registration that he or she has not been convicted of a felony. Because the registration process is a form of licensing through the government, you must disclose that fact.

There is a process to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. A person may register if they file the certificate with a copy of the certificate of rehabilitation, expungement, or pardon.

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