OSPRA 100 Fingerprinting Information and Instructions

Fingerprint Instructions

Please read this form before you start the fingerprint process.

  1. Request Fingerprint Cards:

    Individual fingerprint cards are available at your local school district, charter school, BOCES, colleges with teacher preparation programs or by sending a request to the Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA) at the address below.

  2. Get Fingerprinted:

    Fill out the top of both blue fingerprint cards as completely as possible, in accordance with the sample fingerprint card. Do not make any stray marks on the card. Carefully compare your card to the sample. Sign your fingerprint card.  If your fingerprint card is missing required information, or your fingerprint card has stray marks or highlighting on it, your application will be rejected before it is processed, which will result in a significant delay in processing.  Click Sample Fingerprint Card to view a sample card.

  3. Call the Location Where You Will be Fingerprinted:

    You may be fingerprinted at a number of locations, such as a local police station, school district, BOCES, and some colleges. Please call the location prior to when you need to be fingerprinted. Find out whether they will "roll" fingerprints for civil purposes; whether they charge a fee to "roll" your fingerprints; whether they have specific dates and times dedicated to "rolling" fingerprints; and whether you need to make an appointment to have your fingerprints rolled.

  4. Apply Online for Fingerprint Clearance and Make Payment:

    Enter your personal information on the online fingerprint application.  Pay the $$91.50 fee with a credit card or by mailing a certified check, bank check, money order, or employer check, payable to the New York State Education Department.  Personal checks will not be accepted. You will need a printer available to complete the payment process.

    Click Indicates you can Apply Online to apply for fingerprint clearance.

  5. Mail Fingerprint Cards and Credit Card Confirmation or Coupon with Fee:

    • Two fingerprint cards
    • Credit Card payment confirmation OR payment coupon with $$91.50 fee. 

    Mail To:
    Fingerprint Processing
    NYS Education Department
    PO Box 7352, Albany, NY 12224.

  6. Fingerprint Processing:

    Upon receipt of your fingerprint cards and fee, OSPRA will process your fingerprints with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). DCJS and the FBI  provides OSPRA with a copy of your criminal history background, if any, so that OSPRA can make a determination on your clearance for employment or application for certification. After receipt of the criminal history, the Department then analyzes any information received in accordance with the requirements of the Executive Law and the Corrections Law.

Fingerprinting Information

SAVE Law: Effective July 1, 2001, Education Law §§305(30), 3004-b, 3004-c and 3035, as amended by Chapter 180 of the Laws of 2000, and Part 87 of the Commissioner's Regulations require the Commissioner of Education to request a fingerprint-supported criminal history background check for applicants for certification as well as for prospective employees of school districts, charter schools and boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES). The Commissioner of Education carries out these responsibilities through the New York State Education Department's Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA).

Rejection of Fingerprints and/or a Fingerprint Application: There are several reasons why an application and/or fingerprints are rejected prior to completion of the fingerprint process. OSPRA may reject the application because the fee submitted was either insufficient or was a personal check, or because the fingerprint application or fingerprint cards were not completely filled out. DCJS and/or the FBI may reject the fingerprints because there was a problem with the quality of the fingerprints, such as, the fingerprints were smudged, or too light or too dark. If a fingerprint packet is rejected, OSPRA will send the applicant detailed instructions on the steps to take to resubmit the fingerprint packet for reprocessing.

Clearance Process: If there is no criminal history OSPRA will automatically issue a clearance. If there is a criminal history, the matter is reviewed by OSPRA, pursuant to the provisions in Executive Law §296(16) and Correction Law §§752 and 753, to determine whether there is any basis for a possible denial of clearance.

Full Clearances for Employment: Full clearances for employment will be forwarded directly to the prospective school employee and the appropriate school district, charter school or BOCES. A full clearance for employment does not entitle the individual to a job. Final employment decisions rest with the school district, charter school or (BOCES).

Conditional Clearances for Employment: In the event that the FBI criminal history report is delayed and there is no possible basis for denial based on the DCJS report, OSPRA may issue a conditional clearance for employment (pursuant to Chapter 147 of the Laws of 2001). A conditional clearance for employment would permit the school district, charter school or BOCES to hire the prospective employee on a conditional basis while OSPRA is waiting for criminal history results from the FBI. A conditional clearance for employment does not entitle the individual to a job. Final employment decisions rest with the school district, charter school or (BOCES).

Clearance for Certification: The New York State Office of Teaching Initiatives is automatically notified that the individual is cleared for certification after OSPRA has reviewed both the DCJS and FBI criminal history reports and determined that there is no basis for a possible denial of clearance. The individual will not receive a clearance letter from OSPRA indicating that his or her fingerprints have been cleared, unless they have also completed the employment information in Section 3 of the OSPRA 101.

Denial of Clearance for Employment: If OSPRA makes an initial determination that clearance for employment should be denied, OSPRA follows the due process steps outlined in Part 87 of the Commissioner's regulation. The prospective employee will receive an "Intent to Deny" letter. A copy of the "Intent to Deny" letter will not be forwarded to the prospective school district, charter school or BOCES. The letter will advise the prospective employee on how to submit written material to demonstrate that clearance for employment should be granted. OSPRA will then review any information submitted by or on behalf of the prospective employee and make a final determination on clearance for employment. The prospective employee will then receive either a clearance for employment or a final denial. If the prospective employee receives a final denial of clearance for employment, the prospective school district, charter school or BOCES will receive a notification that the prospective employee has been denied clearance for employment. The school district, charter school or BOCES will not receive a copy of the denial letter. A final denial of clearance for employment may be appealed to the Executive Coordinator for the Office of Teaching. Instructions on how to file an appeal will be provided to the prospective employee with the final denial letter.

Denial of Clearance for Certification: Applicants for certification who have issues in their criminal history background and who may potentially be denied clearance for certification will be provided with information on their due process rights. Such individuals may not be denied clearance for certification without following the due process steps set forth in Part 83 of the Commissioner's Regulations.

Submission of Additional Information: At any time during the process, an individual has the right to submit any information, in writing, that may be relevant to the consideration of his or her application for clearance, including, information in regard to good conduct and rehabilitation.

Subsequent Arrests: If an individual is arrested subsequent to providing their fingerprints to OSPRA, notice of the arrest will be made to OSPRA by DCJS. OSPRA is obligated to notify the school district, charter school or BOCES of the name of the arresting agency, the date of the arrest and the court of jurisdiction

Destruction of Fingerprints: The FBI will destroy the fingerprints its criminal background check is completed. DCJS will retain the fingerprints following its criminal background check as part of its "Search and Retain" services, until the Department requests that the fingerprints be destroyed. If an individual was fingerprinted for employment purposes, leaves that employment and is not reemployed within 12 months at a public school, charter school or BOCES, OSPRA shall request that DCJS destroy his or her fingerprints. Such individuals also have the right to request that his or her fingerprints be destroyed prior to the end of the twelve-month period. An individual who seeks employment in a school after his or her fingerprints have been destroyed will need to be fingerprinted again. Individuals who are fingerprinted for certification purposes may not have their fingerprints destroyed for the period of time that their certification is valid.

Individuals who were fingerprinted by the NYCBOE

Individuals who were previously fingerprinted for employment with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) after July 1, 1990 may not have to be fingerprinted again. Chapter 380 of the Laws of 2001 authorizes the NYCBOE to share the results of such background checks with OSPRA for the purpose of clearance for employment and certification. Applicants must complete an Authorization to Forward Criminal History Record Information from the City School District of the City of New York to the New York State Education Department (OSPRA 104) form and mail it to the NYCDOE at the address on the form. The NYCDOE will forward the results of your criminal history background check to OSPRA for review. No fee is due to OSPRA for this service.

Review of Criminal History

An applicant has the right to obtain a copy of his or her criminal history for review from DCJS and/or the FBI at the addresses listed below. He or she has the right to make a written challenge to the accuracy or completeness of any entry on his or her criminal history record. Challenges must be addressed directly to DCJS and/or the FBI. OSPRA does not have the authority to obtain reviews and seek corrections of individual criminal history information.

NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services
Criminal History Bureau
Record Review Unit - 5th Floor
4 Tower Place
Albany, NY 12203
(518) 485-7675

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division
ATTN: SCU, Mod. D-2
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

Subsequent Applications for Certification and Clearances for Employment

Once an individual has been fingerprinted and entered into the OSPRA fingerprinting database, he or she does not have to be fingerprinted again for future employment in a school district, charter school, or BOCES in New York State or additional certification applications as long as the fingerprint records have not been destroyed. For additional clearances for employment, a prospective employer will need to submit a Clearance for Employment Request (OSPRA 102) form. All subsequent clearance determinations will follow the procedures as detailed in the above paragraphs.

OSPRA Forms and Web site

OSPRA created a comprehensive website to provide information and assistance about the fingerprinting process. The website address is: www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/ospra. It contains the relevant laws and regulations, the most recent OSPRA forms for filing, a sample properly completed FBI card, frequently asked questions (FAQs), special information for individuals who were previously fingerprinted by the New York City Board of Education (NYCBOE), a chart describing who must be fingerprinted and other critical information and updates.

Additional Questions or Concerns

If you have any additional questions or concerns, contact the Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability.

Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability
NYS Education Department
981 Education Building Annex
Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 473-2998; Fax: (518) 473-8812
Website: www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/ospra
Email: OSPRA@nysed.gov

Sample FBI Fingerprint Card

(The information may be typed or legibly printed)

Fingerprint Card

Last Updated: January 15, 2013
January 15, 2013