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Become a California Process Server

Last updated: March 19th, 2019

California law is subject to change. Thanks to the California Association of Legal Support Professionals, (CALSPro), to help ensure the CA rules of becoming a process server found on ServeNow.com are accurate.

Requirements to Become a Process Server in California

Please see California Business and Professions Code §22350 and §22353 for more information.

  • If an individual serves more than 10 papers a year they are required to be registered in the county they serve in.
  • Registration is statewide and applicants must be a resident of the State of California for one year immediately preceding filing.
  • There is no testing, or education required.
  • Every applicant is required to post a $2,000 bond or cash deposit.
  • Licensed private investigators are exempt from the registration requirement, but are likely not permitted to serve bank levies and similar documents without being registered per the statutory language requiring that a registered process server serve those documents.

CCPS Workshops

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The California Association of Legal Support Professionals' offers regular education on becoming a process server and passing the CCPS exam. Review the CCPS Workshop Schedule to find a time and location convenient for you!

The following steps are required for the registration process in California:

1. Complete a Registration Form

Obtain from the County Clerk/Recorder’s Office a process server’s registration form. Complete, but do not sign the form until you are in the presence of the Clerk.

2. Get Fingerprinted

Fingerprints are required in order to become a registered process server. The purpose of the fingerprinting process is verification that an applicant has not been convicted of a felony.

The registrant shall submit a completed Request for Live Scan form confirming fingerprint submission to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in order to verify that the registrant has not been convicted of a felony. The clerk shall utilize the Subsequent Arrest Notification Contract provided by the Department of Justice for notifications subsequent to the initial certificate of registration.

If, after receiving the results of the Request for Live Scan, the clerk is advised that the registrant has been convicted of a felony, the presiding judge of the superior court of the county in which the certificate of registration is maintained is authorized to review the criminal record and, unless the registrant is able to produce a copy of a certificate of rehabilitation, expungement, or pardon, as specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 22351, notify the registrant that the registration is revoked. An order to show cause for contempt may be issued and served upon any person who fails to surrender a registered process server identification card after a notice of revocation.

3. Obtain a Bond

A $2,000 bond is required in order to register as a process server. You must contact an insurance or surety company in order to obtain a bond. The bond must be valid for the two-year term of the registration. The effective date of the bond and the date of the term of the registration must match, so plan ahead, particularly since fingerprinting appointments might be booked weeks in advance. You should expect to pay approximately $50.00 for a $2,000 bond. Do not confuse a surety bond with an errors and omissions policy. Consult your insurance company for a detailed explanation. You may contact any bonding or insurance company.

4. Photographs

You will need to obtain two passport photos (1” x 1”).

5. Fees

The base fee to register as a process server is $100.00 plus processing fees and a fee for the ID card. You will also be charged a recording fee for the Bond.

Once you have completed steps 1 through 5, you are ready to appear before the county clerk to deliver the registration form and Livescan form signed off by law enforcement. You will need to bring your Bond, the two passport photos, and appropriate fees. Be prepared to show valid photo ID. As mentioned above, each county in California may have specific rules, forms & fees. The foregoing is intended as a general summary for your assistance only.

You may also wish to join the California Association of Legal Support Professionals. They provide helpful guides, classes and other information to assist you in your daily operations. Please see visit calspro.org for a membership form and other information about the association.

NOTE: The requirements to become a process server change from time to time. You should contact your local county clerk or recorder to make sure the following information regarding becoming a process server in your state is still accurate.

Help us stay current. If you know of changes to legislation that affect process serving serving in your state, please let us know.

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