What is a Fingerprint Clearance Card? 

What is a Fingerprint Clearance Card?

What is a Fingerprint Clearance Card? 

What is a fingerprint clearance card? In Arizona, fingerprint clearance cards are necessary for many positions, particularly those who work with vulnerable people.  When a fingerprint clearance card is required, knowing what to do to obtain one and which kind you should get is good.  

In Arizona, someone seeking employment in public-facing professions and trying to obtain a professional license or admittance to certain educational programs must apply for a fingerprint clearance card. This laminated card, similar to a regular driver’s license, shows an employer the individual is okay to be hired due to their lack of criminal background.

This card is a type of security clearance for public-facing jobs such as social workers, teachers, realtors, healthcare providers, and more. This clearance allows individuals to be in a position of trust. People not yet eighteen or over ninety-nine years old are not required to obtain a fingerprint clearance card.  However, they must instead be under the direct supervision of someone with a valid card.

The Fingerprint Division of the Arizona Department of Public Safety is responsible for issuing fingerprint clearance cards. The government division also checks the individual’s card after conducting fingerprint background checks. Periodically, this division checks up on individuals to ensure their records are current and that they still qualify to be fingerprint clearance card holders. If the individual has been convicted of any crime, they can face fingerprint card denial and could, therefore, lose their job.

Types of Fingerprint Clearance Cards

There are two types of fingerprint clearance cards. One is a standard card, and the other is a Level I fingerprint clearance card. Before 2009, there was only one card – the standard one- but the Level I card was created afterward. These cards are harder to obtain because more criminal charges can cause the card to be denied or suspended. 

Level I cards are necessary for:

  • Child care group home employees, licensees and providers
  • Child Care employees and facility licensees
  • Day care home providers
  • DES related jobs such as:
    • Chile Protective Services
    • Contractors
    • Adoption
    • Developmental Disabilities Division
    • Foster home licensed people
    • Information technology employees
    • Non-CPS employees
  • Board of Fingerprinting members and employees

If the profession is not above a standard card, it will usually suffice.

Application for a Fingerprint Card in Arizona

When an individual is applying for a fingerprint clearance card, they must submit their application to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS). With the application, they must also include a full set of their fingerprints. After receiving the fingerprints, the DPS will conduct a background check at the state and national levels. This is done so they can see if there are criminal offenses on the applicant’s record. Several offenses might cause the denial or suspension of a card. You can find a list of these offenses here.

If no criminal offenses are found, it will take three to five weeks for the application to be processed. It could take four to eight weeks for someone with a criminal record.  Once an individual obtains a  DPS, it will also occasionally update the person’s status. 

In Arizona, the fingerprint clearance card is a critical security for many professions. It’s good that a system exists to keep our vulnerable populations safe. 

How Chelle Law Can Help

If you’re facing a fingerprint card denial or suspension, contact Chelle Law today. Our qualified attorneys can help you obtain a good cause or central registry exception, should you qualify.