Bail Agent Licensing Requirements

How to Become a Bail Bondsman in California
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California Department of Insurance Bail Agent Licensing Requirements





Please read the following:


Answer the background screening questions on your application truthfully and completely. You must read the background screening questions on the application carefully and answer truthfully and completely. Provide all the information being requested at the time you file your application to prevent delays.


Failure to disclose disciplinary actions or crimes which occurred, can be considered an attempt to obtain a license by fraud or misrepresentation and could result in the DENIAL and/or DELAY in processing of your application. Regardless of any advice that may have been received from others, the license applicant is held responsible, under penalty of perjury, for disclosing accurate and complete information.


Carefully review your entire history and provide complete and accurate information. You must provide accurate, complete and detailed background information regarding:


·         Any disciplinary action taken against a business or professional license;

·         Any criminal convictions (except juvenile offenses) (This includes DUIs, reckless driving convictions, driving on a suspended license convictions, misdemeanors, felonies, military offenses, etc.); and

·         Any criminal charges pending at the time you submit your application.


When in Doubt – Disclose


In the event you have one or more offenses to report, please make sure you disclose all convictions regardless of how long ago they occurred, or whether or not a conviction has been dismissed under California Penal Code Section 1203.4 or a similar statute.




The failure to disclose charges/convictions will cause substantial delays in the processing of your application and may result in denial of your license application. Failure to disclose all convictions is falsification of the application which was signed under penalty of perjury and is grounds for denial.


Keep in mind that due to the severity and nature of the criminal history in some instances, the license application can still be denied irregardless of how well the applicant follows instructions in the application process in completing the background questions.



Applicable Forms


·         Application for Bail License, form LIC 431-1

·         Application for a Bail Agent Corporation License, form LIC 431-2

·         Bond of Bail Agent, form LIC 437-9

·         Action Notice Statement of Employing Bail Agent or Permittee, form LIC 438

·         Bail Agent Action Notice, form LIC 437-23

·         Change of Stockholder, Officer, or Director, form LIC 437-25


Candidate Information Bulletin


Authorizing Act: Section 1802 of the California Insurance Code reads, in part: A bail agent is a person permitted to solicit, negotiate, and effect undertakings of bail on behalf of any surety insurer.




·         Minimum Age: 18 years.

·         Residency: California residency is required. (Further Details Provided During Class)

·         Pre-licensing Experience/Education: Require a minimum of 20 hours of approved pre-licensing classroom study in subjects pertinent to the duties and responsibilities of a bail licensee, including, but not limited to, all laws and regulations related thereto, rights of the accused, and ethics.


Continuing Education: Require  a minimum of 12 hours (within two years) of approved continuing bail education classroom study prior to the renewal of his or her license.



Entity: Individual/Corporation


Filing Requirements - Individual:


·         Application: Application for Bail License, form LIC 431-1.


·         Bond: A Bond of Bail Agent, form LIC 437-9, in the penal sum of $1,000 executed by a California admitted surety, and signed by the principal.

·         Action Notice of Appointment: A Bail Agent Action Notice, form LIC 437-23, executed by a surety insurer or its authorized representative.

·         Forms Filing List: A copy of the forms or documents which the bail agent intends to use regularly or frequently in connection with bail transactions.

·         Action Notice Statement of Employing Bail Agent Or Permittee: Form LIC 438, is required when employing or terminating the employment of another bail agent or permittee.


Fingerprint Impressions:


Fingerprint impressions are required for all unlicensed bail applicants.


Fees - Individual:


First Time Applicants - two year term: $622.00 per surety company. This fee does not include the examination fee.


Bail Exam Fee: CDI (Los Angeles Only) $62.00 - PSI (28 Locations) $95.00

Renewal - two year term: $188.00


Examination: Applicants must pass the examination prepared and administered by the Department.


Examination is based on information and materials covered during the 20 hour prelicensing course available via and its licensed bail agent instructor.


Filing Requirements - Corporation:


Application: Application for Bail License, form LIC 431-2.


Bond: A Bond of Bail Agent, form LIC 437-9, in the penal sum of $1,000 executed by a California admitted surety, and signed by the principal.


Action Notice of Appointment: A Bail Agent Action Notice, form LIC 437-23, executed by a surety insurer or its authorized representative.


Forms Filing List: A copy of the forms or documents which the corporation intends to use regularly or frequently in connection with bail transactions.


Action Notice Statement of Employing Bail Agent or Permittee: form LIC 438, is required when employing or terminating the employment of a natural person to act as a bail agent for the corporation.


Fees - Corporation:


·         License filing - two year $622.00 per surety company.

·         License Term: Two (2) Years

·         Pursuant to Section 1807.7. of the California Insurance Code, licenses are issued for two year terms.

·         Renewal of License

·         Notice - Changes to License Renewals

·         Notice - Changes in Licensing Laws for 2021


Note: Bail Agent Individual and Business Entity insurance producers must submit their renewal filings to CDI electronically.


The California Department of Insurance (CDI) discontinued mailing renewal notices to individuals and business entities licensed through CDI's Producer Licensing Bureau. CDI now emails licensees a renewal notification to their email address on record. The email notification includes the license number, license term, license type, and information regarding any continuing education requirements. You can update your e-mail address using CDI's Online Address Change service.


Individuals and business entities who do not receive the email notification must still renew their license online by following the prompts on CDI's Online Renewal Service at the following website link: Free Application Online Renewal Service (FLRS).


Any Bail licensees that do not renew their license by the license expiration date will be required to refile for the license with a new application, appointments and pay double the filing fee. "Late" is defined as any renewal for which the requirements to renew (including completing the continuing education hours) are not met until after the expiration date of the previous license term.


Additional Information

Federal law (Title 18 United States Code Section 1033) prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a felony involving dishonesty or a breach of trust from conducting the business of insurance unless they have obtained the written consent of the Insurance Commissioner. It is a violation of this statute to conduct business of insurance without the Commissioners written consent. If you have been convicted of a felony involving dishonesty or a breach of trust then you must attach a copy of this consent. If you have not obtained this written consent you must do so by filing a 1033 Short Form Application for Written Consent prior to filing your application.


Licenses may be issued to corporations to act as bail agents. Each officer, director, stockholder, and employee must hold an individual bail agent license.


Any change in stockholders for the corporation shall require the prior approval of the department. Changes in stockholders, officers or directors may be submitted on form LIC 437-25.


·         Bail licenses are issued for two year terms.

·         A Bail Identification card will be issued for all individual licensees.

·         An individual Bail agent's and a permittee's license may be applied for at the same time, on the same application. Only a permittee's bond is required.

·         If a currently licensed bail permittee is now applying for an agent's license, the permittee's bond on file will cover both licenses.

·         If a bail solicitor applicant is to work for two or more bail licensees who are members of a partnership, a separate Action Notice Statement from each employer and an additional filing fee for each is required.


Note: A corporation may not employ a bail solicitor or permittee.


To obtain insurance licensing forms by mail, send an e-mail request to: Producer Licensing Bureau.


To obtain Bail licensing information, you may phone the Producer Licensing Bureau Bail unit at (916) 492-3035.


All fees mailed to the Department must be addressed to:


Department of Insurance
P.O. Box 1139
Sacramento, CA 95812-1139


All filing fees submitted are not refundable, whether or not the application is acted upon or the examination taken. [LIC 651 (Rev. 04/2013)]



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