Fingerprint Clearance: 6 Level 1 Facts
The concept of fingerprint clearance has become integral to various professional and licensing procedures. Among the different types of fingerprint clearance cards, the Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card stands out for its specific requirements and purposes. This card is crucial, especially for those working in sensitive areas or with vulnerable populations.
Historical Background of Fingerprint Clearance Cards
- In 2009, a significant change occurred in the realm of fingerprint clearance. Before this, only one type of clearance card was issued. However, from July 1, 2009, the Arizona Department of Public Safety began issuing two types: the standard fingerprint clearance card and the more restrictive Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card. The latter’s introduction marked a pivotal moment in enhancing safety measures in various sectors.
What is a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card?
- A Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card is a form of authorization issued primarily for employment or licensing purposes. It signifies that an individual’s fingerprints have undergone a comprehensive background check, including criminal history records at both state and federal levels. This card is particularly relevant in Arizona, where it is often required for positions involving contact with vulnerable populations.
- The key distinction between a Level 1 card and a standard one lies in the stringency of the background check. A Level 1 card is more restrictive, with a broader range of criminal charges that can lead to its denial or suspension. This makes obtaining a Level 1 card more challenging and more assured regarding safety and reliability. More information on the differences can be found on the FBI Criminal History Summary Checks website.
Application Process for Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card
- Applying for a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card is a multi-step process that involves both online and offline procedures. Applicants can utilize the Public Service Portal (PSP) to submit their applications electronically. This portal guides them through the process, ensuring all required information is captured. It also facilitates secure payment of associated fees.
- The application process entails choosing between electronic fingerprinting (available only in Arizona) and traditional paper fingerprint cards. Regardless of the method, including the Reference Number provided during the application process is crucial. Once the Arizona Department of Public Safety receives the fingerprints, they do the necessary background checks.
- For those who prefer a paper application, the process involves a fee of $67.00 (or $65.00 for volunteers). Payment can be made via cashier’s check, money order, or business check. This method also necessitates the submission of fingerprint cards by mail. More details on the application process can be found on the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting website.
Uses and Requirements
- The requirement for a Level 1 card is mandated by the Arizona Revised Statutes, which list over 52 reasons for needing such a card. These range from professions in education and healthcare to roles that involve direct interaction with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable groups.
- The Applicant Clearance Card Team (ACCT) at the Arizona Department of Public Safety plays a pivotal role in reviewing applications and determining eligibility for the card. This process ensures that individuals in sensitive positions have the necessary clearance, safeguarding public safety and trust.
Managing and Understanding the Clearance Process
Criminal Record Check and Suitability
In obtaining a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card, the applicant’s fingerprints are used to conduct a thorough criminal history check. This check is pivotal in assessing the individual’s suitability for the roles requiring such clearance.
- The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) collaborate in reviewing criminal records at both state and federal levels. This comprehensive evaluation ensures that individuals with disqualifying criminal histories are identified.
- It’s important for applicants to be aware that any inaccuracies in their criminal records can be challenged. DPS and the FBI provide mechanisms for applicants to contest or correct their records, ensuring that the background check is based on accurate and current information.
Renewal and Validity of the Card
A Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card has a specific validity period and requires renewal to maintain its active status.
- The card is valid for six years, after which renewal is necessary. DPS recommends initiating the renewal process approximately six months before the card expires to allow adequate processing time and address potential issues.
- For those whose card contains an IVP number, re-fingerprinting may not be required if the fingerprints are stored electronically. However, in cases where the quality of the stored fingerprints is insufficient, re-fingerprinting may be necessary.
Denial, Suspension, and Exception Process
The process surrounding the denial or suspension of a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card is intricate, involving several key steps and criteria.
- Should an individual’s application be denied or their existing card suspended, it’s crucial to understand why this decision is made. Often, this involves specific criminal charges or convictions that preclude eligibility for the card.
- In cases of denial or suspension, individuals may seek a good cause exception from the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting. This process requires demonstrating rehabilitation and non-recidivism, shifting the burden of proof onto the applicant.
- The criteria for granting a good cause exception include the extent of the criminal record, the nature of the offense, mitigating circumstances, and evidence of rehabilitation.
This comprehensive guide on managing and understanding the Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card process aims to provide a clear pathway for applicants, ensuring they are well informed about each step and requirement. By adhering to these guidelines, individuals can navigate the system more effectively, enhancing their chances of successful application or renewal.
Comprehensive FAQ Section for Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card
Q1: What is a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card?
- A: It’s an authorization card issued after a background check, including state and FBI criminal records, primarily for positions involving vulnerable populations.
Q2: How do I apply for a Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card?
- A: Apply through the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Public Service Portal or submit a paper application with the required fee.
Q3: How long is the Level 1 Card valid?
- A: The card is valid for six years, after which it needs to be renewed.
Q4: What should I do if my application is denied?
- A: Contact the Department of Public Safety for clarification and consider applying for a good cause exception through the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting.
Q5: Can I challenge inaccuracies in my criminal record?
- A: Yes, you can contact DPS or the FBI to correct or challenge inaccuracies in your criminal record.
Q6: What are the reasons for denial or suspension of the card?
- A: Denial or suspension can occur due to specific criminal charges or convictions.
Q7: What is the good cause exception process?
- A: It involves demonstrating rehabilitation and non-recidivism to the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting if your card is denied or suspended.
Q8: How can I renew my Level 1 Card?
- A: Submit a renewal application approximately six months before expiration. If your card has an IVP number, re-fingerprinting might not be necessary.
Q9: Are there different types of fingerprint clearance cards?
- A: Yes, the standard fingerprint clearance card and the more stringent Level 1 card.
Q10: Who reviews the applications for these cards?
- A: The Applicant Clearance Card Team (ACCT) at the Arizona Department of Public Safety reviews the applications.