Certificate of Eligibility
What is a COE
A certificate of eligibility is a 1 page document that looks like a high school diploma and is authorized by Penal Code Section 26710. It is valid for one year and issued by the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms.
Why would I want a COE?
The COE is required if you are a commercial Federal Firearms Licensee. It is an optional nice to have for your employees. If you are a C&R or 03 FFL holder, you can use your C&R license and your COE to avoid the limitation on purchasing more than 1 handgun in 30 days. The exemption to the 1 in 30 rule applies to all handguns and not just C&R handguns.
27535(a) No person shall make an application to purchase more than one pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person within any 30-day period. (b) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to any of the following: ... (9) Any person who is licensed as a collector pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto and who has a current certificate of eligibility issued to him or her by the Department of Justice pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 26700) of Chapter 2.
How do I get a COE
After obtaining the form from CA DOJ BoF, you need to locate a Livescan location near you. Livescan operators tend to be at places like law enforcement agencies, UPS stores, Pack and Mail shops, and school districts.
At the Livescan operator, they will take digital fingerprints and electronically submit them to CA DOJ and FBI to run a criminal background check. This is the same system required of firefighters, police officers, and school and pre-school teachers. The Livescan operator will charge their own fee that is usually $15 to $35. In addition you will pay a $32 DOJ fingerprint processing fee and a $19 FBI fingerprint processing fee at the time of completing your fingerprints at the operator for an average out the door cost of $71 ($52 FBI/CADOJ, $20 Operator).
You will then mail the completed CA DOJ form with the ATI number that the operator gives you to the CA DOJ at the address listed in the form. You will usually receive your COE in the mail after about 30 to 45 days and it will be valid for about 350 days when you receive it.
About 60 days before it expires you will receive a letter to your address on the COE reminding you to renew for $22. All you have to do to renew is sign the enclosed renewal form and include a check to CA DOJ in the renewal. Your subsequent renewal will be for one full year from the existing renewal date.