Initial Licensing Process Update by Department of State

Jun 12, 2018 | Member News

As most dealerships are aware, the Department of State is taking longer than usual to approve salesperson licenses due to the implementation of a new licensing software system (PALS),, and staffing shortages which delay the timely processing of license applications for a variety of professional occupations.


According to the Department of State, part of this project is the transition to a paperless environment, and therefore, effective June 15, 2018, the Department of State will no longer be accepting paper initial salesperson applications or initial dealership applications. At this time, paper applications for change requests and licensure reactivations will still be accepted and are not a part of this transition. Additional updates will be provided as new application types are added to the system.


The Pennsylvania Department of State has updated the initial salesperson licensing process in several ways that will impact dealers.


The Department of State has removed questions related to criminal history and will instead be using the Pennsylvania State Police’s Access to Criminal History (PATCH) system. The Department has worked with the State Police to automate this process to minimize the impact on dealerships and applicants. A fee of $27 is associated with the criminal check, and this fee will be added to the new license application fees. The criminal history record check (CHRC) request will be automatically submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police upon submission of the application and the fee will be included at checkout. The CHRC will be sent directly to the Department of State. The dealership or individual will not receive a copy.


This fee will only apply to new applications, not license renewals. The Department has worked with the State Police to introduce processes that will make this background check fee unnecessary for renewals.


Initial salesperson applicants will continue to be asked to provide a recent CHRC from the state police or other state agency for every state in which the applicant has lived, worked, or completed professional training/studies for the past five (5) years. The report(s) must be dated within 90 days of the date the application is submitted. For individuals living, working, or completing training/studies outside of Pennsylvania during the past five (5) years, in lieu of obtaining individual state background checks, applicants may now elect to provide both a state CHRC from the state in which the applicant currently resides and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Identity History Summary Check. Further guidance on submitting an FBI Identity History Summary Check will be provided once additional clarification is received from the Department of State. Again, this requirement only applies to new applicants and the applicant will not be required to repeat such background checks when renewing their Pennsylvania licenses.


These new processes to automate the Pennsylvania CHRCs went into effect on June 2, 2018.


Once an initial dealer or initial salesperson license is submitted through the PALS system, applicants can login to PALS to monitor the status of their application. Discrepancy notices will be sent via email. Applicants will be notified of approval via email.


FBI Identity History Summary Requests For Applicants Who Lived Outside Pennsylvania


Current processing time for Identity History Summary requests submitted electronically is three to five business days upon receipt of the fingerprint card. For requests submitted by mail, processing time is 14-16 weeks. For additional information on FBI Identity History Summary Checks, visit When the Department of State provides additional clarification on the FBI Identity History Summary Check process, it will be communicated to dealers.


Courtesy of PAA Bulletin No. 11, 6/12/2018