How Do I Get My Guard Card: All About California Security Guard Card

Security guards are recruited by licensed private security operators to protect people and property from any kind of security hazard. Before employing, one question that surely comes to the employer’s mind is: have you got your guard card yet? So if you want to be a security guard, you should be wondering how do I get my guard card? 

Here, we are answering all your questions related to guard cards and why it is important to have one, especially in California. 

So let’s dive in and find out. 

What is a Guard Card – An Overview 

Security guards are licensed by the authorities to make sure they are trained and eligible for this job. As the job roles of security guards are sensitive—lives and assets of people are at stake, so it’s important to make sure security guards are well-trained and licensed to practice. 

This license is called a guard card. 

With a guard card, you can apply for jobs as private patrol operators or as individual employers. But without it, you won’t qualify to even apply for the job as a security guard. 

This shows how important it is to have a guard card. Wondering how to get your guard card and start your career as a security guard? You’ll find out shortly. 

Guard Card Application – Requirements And Criteria 

Here we’re talking about California. The security guards are licensed by the Bureau of Security And Investigative Services (BSIS). 

In order to get a security guard license (guard card) in California, you must first complete an 8 hours long pre-licensing course, often called a guard card class. You can complete this course within a day and apply right away. This course is composed of two sections: Powers to Arrest and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). 

Eligibility Criteria 

To be eligible to apply for a security guard card in California through BSIS, you must: 

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Undergo screening and criminal background check that is operated by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI. Applicants should use the security guard request for the live scan service form. It’s available on the BSIS website. According to BSIS, the request for a Live Scan Form by a security guard contains the correct coding needed to assure the BSIS receives the information in a timely manner. Livescan failure and/or incorrect information on the form will delay the processing of your application. Applicants are responsible for paying all Live Scan, DOJ, and FBI processing fees at the time of fingerprinting. To locate the nearest Live Scan site, visit”
  • Complete the power to arrest training. This helps you to carry and use firearms professionally. 

Training Requirements 

  • The power to arrest training must be completed before applying for the guard card. If it’s not completed but you have started your job as a security guard, then it must be done within 6 months of the registrant’s employment date. 
  • The 32 hours long training in security officer skills must also be completed within 6 months of registration. This training will sharpen your skills and you’d be trained to respond promptly and accurately in any security situation. According to BSIS, a guard registrant who is unable to provide their employing PPO with the certificates of satisfactory completion of the security officer skills training will have to complete 16 hours long training within a month of the registrant’s employment date and will complete the 16 remaining hours within the first six months of their employment date.”
  • An additional 8 hours of training must be done on a yearly basis

Note: The training should be done by a licensed private security operator, a BSIS-certified training facility or BSIS approved course provider. 

Once all the training is done, you should maintain all your certificates until they are expired. 

Submission of Application 

The online Application submission process 

Applicants have to apply for security guard registration online via BreEZe. The BSIS recommends submitting your application online in BreEZe as it bypasses the Cashiering Office and can reduce application processing by as much as 2 weeks. You have to create an account, pay the fee, and submit your application. 

The paper Application submission process 

The security guards can also submit their applications for Security Guard Registration along with the application fee by mail to the BSIS. 

Access the application form here.

View the application fee here.  

Mail the completed application and fee to: 

Bureau of Security and Investigative Services

P.O. Box 989002

West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002

Note: Out-of-state applicants that do not have access to a Live Scan site may submit fingerprint hard cards. For additional information, please visit the BSIS website. 

How much time does it take for the application processing of your guard card?

It takes up to 4 to 6 weeks for application processing. The time may be longer depending upon the responses of the DOJ and FBI about your application. 

You can see the timeline here

Renewing a guard card

It’s important to mention your correct residential address in your application so that the BSIS can send you a renewal notice at least 90 days before your guard card expires. 

You should send the renewal request 60 days before your guard card expires to give BSIS enough time to process your renewal application. 

Is a Guard Card Necessary For A Security Guard? 

YES. You should complete your training and apply for your guard card before thinking of getting a job as a security guard. A guard card shows you have completed your training and are ready to perform your duties and protect everyone from possible security hazards. 

There are certain other requirements as well to be a security guard. You should make sure to check and do all the necessary steps to make sure you not only get a guard card but a job at reputable security operating agency. 

Read about the requirements of how to become a security guard to know all the requirements and be well-informed. 

The Bottom Line 

A Guard card is a license that makes you eligible to apply for security guard jobs. The guard card shows that you’re trained to perform duties as a security guard. 

So now you have got the answer to “how do I get my guard card?” You’ll know the importance of a guard card and the procedure through which you can get one in California.  


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