California Department of Fish and Wildlife

License Agent Questions and Answers

CDFW has converted from the manual paper-based license system to our Automated License Data System (ALDS). ALDS is an automated licensing data system that electronically links to a central database.

General Questions

  1. How does the system handle multiple licenses being purchased as gifts, as is common at Christmas?

    Vouchers are available for purchase when full customer information is not available. An individual may redeem the voucher by providing customer information at any license agent location or CDFW license sales office. At this time CDFW sells only sport fishing license vouchers. Gift vouchers are only redeemable for the license year for which they are issued.

  2. How does converting to ALDS impact you?

    New and continuing license agents have new requirements and are required to follow a new set of business rules and sign a new License Agent Contract. Also, see Question 9.

  3. How do License Agents benefit from the Automated License Data System (ALDS)?

    Overall, ALDS provides license agents the ability to improve the quantity and quality of services to your license customers. For example:

    • Your customers will be properly licensed as the system automatically enforces most licensing regulations.
    • The license sales process is faster and easier.
    • You have the ability to sell all recreational license items and never run out of inventory.
    • CDFW is able to provide you timely information through ALDS by sending messages and alerts.
    • ALDS provides the potential for increased revenue. License items that were only available at CDFW license sales offices in the past are now available for sale at license agents.

    Compared to the old paper based licensing system, being a license agent takes less overall time and effort.

    • No more paper license inventory to order and manage.
    • All license sales accounting and reporting is performed by the system.
    • ALDS enforces most licensing rules and provides license agents with relevant and timely information such as changes in regulations, requirements, costs, or rules.
    • License agents have reduced risk of penalties and/or interest charges since there are no physical books or license inventory.
    • The Internet Point of Sale (IPOS) terminals feature a training mode.

    Finally, ALDS provides CDFW the ability to better know our mutual customers as well as assess and provide services and products that meet their needs and interests. Furthermore, ALDS will improve our resource management and enforcement capabilities, which will ultimately provide for the long-term use and enjoyment of recreational activities by the public.

  4. Is there an option to continue selling paper licenses?

    No. All licenses are now processed through ALDS. Preprinted inventory has been eliminated.

  5. Will Collect On Delivery (COD) License Agent types be available under ALDS?

    No. All license agents must supply a bank account for weekly electronic fund transfers of license sales revenue.

  6. How will the CDFW accommodate charter/party boats who currently sell numerous one-day fishing licenses and do not have the environment to support the new system?

    It is CDFW's goal to process all license sales and collect all mandatory customer data using ALDS. However, CDFW is aware of the unique business needs that charter/party boat captains face. To help mitigate such specialized needs, ALDS will have the flexibility to offer the following licensing alternatives:

    1. ALDS Internet license sales are available 24-7, so that customers can print their licenses at any hour, anywhere they can access and print from the Internet.
    2. ALDS IPOS terminals include a “Quick Sale” mode that is only available for landings and Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessels. This mode is nearly automatic – with a swipe of the customer's driver's license a fishing license is printed. The system does the rest. This type of transaction takes approximately 30 seconds to complete on a DSL or faster Internet connection. The “Quick Sale” mode is limited to One-Day Sport Fishing Licenses only. This solution is ideal for charter boat businesses and landings that have access to an Internet connection with an ALDS terminal, but need to license a large number of people in a short amount of time.
    3. Anglers can now call 800-565-1458 for CDFW's 24 hour, seven day a week telephone sales service to obtain a one-day sport fishing license for fishing from a charter or six pack boat. The transaction requires phone connectivity and the angler must provide complete personal data and a credit/debit card. The entire call can take up to approximately five-eight minutes. At the end of the call, the angler will be issued a Temporary Authorization Number or TAN. The angler must write down the TAN and keep it with them to present it to a Fish and Game Warden or Charter Boat Captain. The TAN must be obtained before departing from the dock. This option is considered a last resort with our emphasis being to get your license before arriving at the dock.
  7. As a License Guide, how will I provide clients a license in the field?

    As discussed in Question 5, ALDS Internet licensing provides continued customer service to license guides that today sell one or two licenses books a year. This approach also applies to license agents and charter/party boat captains that today, sell very few licenses a year.

  8. Are One-Day licenses available by the book?

    No. However, the ALDS Online License Sales site is available 24x7. Customers can purchase and print their licenses at any hour, anywhere they can access the Internet.

  9. Can License Agents sell One-Day licenses to Party Boat captains with the dates to be completed later by the Party Boat Captain?

    This practice is not allowable under current laws and regulations. Also, see response to Question 5.

  10. Are there new requirements to qualify as a License Agent under the new system?

    Yes. All license agents must complete a new license agent contract and provide a high speed Internet connection and a bank account that allows electronic fund transfers (EFT). Additionally, new License Agents may have to submit a refundable $1,000 IPOS equipment deposit and pay a $15.00 weekly license agent terminal and support fee until the minimum annual sales threshold of $6,000 is met.

  11. Will License Agents be required to pay for the ALDS Internet Point of Sale (IPOS) equipment?

    License agents may be subject to pay a $15 weekly License Agent Terminal and Support Fees (LATS fee) for each ALDS IPOS terminal. However, the weekly LATS fee for one ALDS IPOS terminal is waived for qualifying outlets who meet the $6,000 minimum annual sales threshold. The LATS fee for a second ALDS POS terminal may be waived for high volume qualifying outlets that have $125,000 in annual sales.

  12. Can License Agents obtain more than one set of the ALDS POS equipment? If yes, how much will it cost?

    Yes. The price to lease an additional ALDS IPOS terminal is $15.00 a week.

  13. Is a dedicated telephone line or broadband (cable/DSL) be required?

    New license agents must provide a high speed Internet connection. A number of license agents have told us that satellite connectivity is becoming more available and less expensive.

  14. How much counter space does ALDS IPOS equipment require?

    To accommodate the ALDS IPOS equipment approximate counter space required is 12” Height x 27” Width x 14” Deep. Note: ALDS IPOS equipment cabling is minimal, however, cabling for Internet connectivity and power must also be considered when locating the new system.

  15. How will CDFW collect license sales revenues from License Agents with ALDS?

    License agents remit license sales revenues to CDFW via electronic fund transfer (EFT) on a weekly basis. License agents are required to provide a bank account that allows EFTs to the CDFW at the time of enrollment.

  16. Will there be any change in the 5% handling fee License Agents currently receive from selling licenses?

    No. The current license agent handling fee of 5% remains the same with ALDS.

  17. What types of ALDS training is available to License Agents?

    License agents are provided an ALDS Installation Guide, an IPOS Retail User Manual, and Training Videos. For specific questions, license agents may contact the CDFW ALDS Help Line at (916) 928-ALDS (2537) or email

License Sales Process Questions

  1. How does ALDS sell and issue a license (i.e. Collect customer data and issue a license?)

    For most resident license sales transactions, ALDS will collect customer data from their California Drivers License (CDL) or California Identification Card (CID).

    1. Swipe the CDL or CID through the card reader. ALDS reads the magnetic stripe and populates customer information automatically.
    2. Complete Customer Information. License agents will use the touch screen to update customer addresses, enter the customer's hunter education information, telephone number and additional information (as needed).
    3. Select items for purchase. Using the touch screen, license agents can select items for purchase. ALDS automatically limits items available, based on customer qualifications, such as age, residency and previous purchases.
    4. Verify purchase. Prior to finalizing the sale, license agents should verify the purchase to ensure the customer has everything they need.
    5. Print license(s). All licenses, tags, and harvest report cards will immediately print out on the printer. License agents will continue to collect monies from license buyers to conclude the sales process.
  2. Who processes the transaction, the customer or License Agents?

    The license agent will process the transaction, collect the appropriate funds from the customer and act as an agent of the State to ensure a complete and accurate transaction.

  3. What does a license look like?

    All licenses, permits, validations, tags and other entitlements will print from the IPOS on generic waterproof, tear-resistant paper at the time of purchase. Licenses can fold to credit card size or smaller. Customers making purchases via the Internet will be able to print a temporary license from home until they receive their annual license by mail.

  4. What forms of identification can the License Agent accept for purposes of selling a license?

    The following are acceptable forms of identification required for the first license purchase through ALDS:

    • Any license document or GO ID number previously issued via ALDS
    • A valid driver's license or identification card issued to him or her by the Department of Motor Vehicles or by the entity issuing driver's licenses from the licensee's state of domicile
    • US Birth Certificate
    • US Certificate or Report of Birth Abroad
    • INS American Indian Card or Tribal Identification Card
    • Birth Certificate or passport issued from a US Territory
    • US Passport
    • US Military Identification Cards (Active or reserve duty, dependent, retired member, discharged from service, medical/religious personnel)
    • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship.
    • A foreign government issued photo identification

    Customers less than 18 years of age can also provide any form of identification described above; or a parent or legal guardian's identification as described above.

  5. Will identification be required each time that a license or tag is purchased?

    No, for subsequent purchases, the customer must provide ID or a previous ALDS license, which can be scanned to retrieve the customer record.

  6. What will be the minimum customer information required to sell a license?

    Customer ID, name, address, physical description, phone number and DOB are required for all license sales. Fishing license vouchers may be sold for those customers where full information is not available.

  7. Is a prior California license enough?

    Yes, provided it was issued through ALDS.

  8. Does the License Agent have any responsibility for verifying that purchasers are who they say they are?

    Yes. In accordance with the License Agent Contract, license agents agrees to comply with all applicable laws, rules, processes, policies and issuing instructions provided by CDFW. The License Agent agrees that if he/she has a question or concern related to the issuance of CDFW Items or the collection of data and dissemination of customer information, he/she will promptly contact CDFW LRB for instructions.

  9. How will “declarations” be handled for hunting licenses?

    Declarations are no longer accepted. In order to purchase hunting items online, hunters must have proof of hunter education on file in ALDS. Hunters who have purchased hunting items via ALDS or applied during the last five years in the annual Big Game Drawing will have proof of hunter education on file. Customers not meeting these requirements, may visit a CDFW License Sales Office or a License Agent to have hunter education added to their profile and purchase a hunting license.

  10. How will “denials” be handled for licenses? For tags?

    Customers who have restrictions on file may not be able to purchase certain license items and should be instructed to contact CDFW at the number provided on the IPOS terminal.

    If an item does not appear on the IPOS terminal, the customer most likely does not qualify for the item based upon age or residency requirements.

    If the item appears but is grayed out, the customer may not have met the prerequisite (i.e. hunter education) to obtain that item or already has the max quantity for that item.

  11. Is it harder for customers to obtain a license under the new system?

    No. It is easier for people to obtain a license under the new system. Items previously restricted to CDFW license sales offices are now available at license agents. License agents will no longer run out of inventory. Once entered, customer information can be retrieved from the database for subsequent purchases, eliminating the need to capture full customer information for each license sale.

  12. How do I sell licenses if the system is not working?

    License agents should immediately call the ALDS Help Desk to diagnosis and resolve problems with their system. There are two possible types of outages: Local to your point of sale and system wide.

    Local outages: the ALDS IPOS system is offline due to a local power outage, failed internet connectivity, and/or equipment failure, and a customer needs to be licensed immediately, license agents should direct the customer to purchase the license through another venue (another license agent, internet, or telephone sales). License agents are also encouraged to place the IPOS system and network equipment on an interruptible power supply (UPS) or battery backup.

    System-wide outages: In the event the ALDS IPOS system has a system-wide outage, license agents can call the ALDS Help Desk.

  13. What is the estimated time for handling typical transactions under the new system?

    Transaction times will vary from seconds to a minute or more based on several variables. CDFW will continue to monitor and adjust the system and business processes to optimize the speed of transactions.

Accounting Questions

  1. Is a separate bank account required for license revenues collected by License Agents?

    No. However, an account must be set up at the time of application that allows for weekly Electronic Fund Transfers (EFTs).

  2. Can License Agents review and approve fund transfers prior to the fund transfer from an Agent's account to the State?

    Yes. There is a three-day review period to allow the license agent to notify CDFW of any discrepancy prior to the EFT processing.

  3. What is the frequency of the accounting period for reconciling license sales with the amount owed?

    License Agents can access daily and weekly sales reports via the IPOS terminal or the Agent Services Website to reconcile sales. A Statement Report is generated and available to view on Monday and includes the sales detail and amount CDFW will EFT on Wednesday.

  4. How are reconciliation problems handled?

    When license agents notify CDFW of disputed items and/or discrepancies, CDFW will adjust the agent's account and remove items from the scheduled EFT. CDFW and the license agent will work to resolve the problem ASAP and adjust the license agent's account accordingly.

  5. How and in what time-frame are the fund transfers processed?

    The EFT (sweep) is performed weekly (Wednesday) and includes all CDFW item fees collected from sales occurring from 12:00 a.m. Saturday through 11:59 p.m. Friday, as well as any outstanding charges (i.e. terminal fees, unreturned cancel document charges, etc.). There are three components to the process: the Sales Period; Weekly Statement; and EFT (sweep).

    For Example: the license sales period is from Saturday through Friday. A weekly Statement report is generated on Sunday and can be viewed via the IPOS terminal or Agent Services Website. License agents have Monday and Tuesday to review, reconcile and notify CDFW of any discrepancy prior to the EFT (sweep) on Wednesday.

  6. When credit cards are used to purchase a license, does it go through our account or a CDFW account? Who covers the fees associated with a credit card purchase?

    License agents will continue to be responsible for their own sales and associated credit card processing fees.

  7. Does CDFW offer a grace period for errors during the implementation of this new system? If so, how long will this grace period extend?

    The system should minimize issuance errors because customers are only offered licenses for which they qualify. If a customer is sold the wrong item, the license agent has up to 4 hours to cancel the license document(s) after the sale. Once canceled, the license document(s) are inactive and the license agent is not charged for the sale. However, license agents are required to mail canceled document(s) to CDFW's License and Revenue Branch, within 45 days; if canceled documents are not received by CDFW the license agents will be charged for the unreturned canceled document(s).

    License Agents should contact CDFW's License Agent Help Desk by telephone at (916) 928-ALDS (2537) for license documents sold outside of the four hour cancel period.

  8. Is there be an appeal process for penalty and interest charges applied to agent accounts where either a bank transfer error, internal accounting error, or other unforeseen error occurs that causes the agent's account to have an incorrect amount of funds available?

    Consistent with current statute and practice, penalty and interest charges may be appealed and waived under certain instances and circumstances.

  9. If CDFW sweeps too little or too much from an agent's account, what process is in place to correct this problem?

    License agents have the ability to generate daily and weekly sales reports, plus review the weekly statement report that coincides with the weekly sweep. License Agents must notify CDFW of any discrepancies by Tuesday 5:00 pm for the funds not to be swept. If funds are swept incorrectly, CDFW will review and adjust a license agent account as necessary.

  10. Are returns permitted? If so, on what basis and how will credit be given to the agent?

    Yes. If the document was sold outside of the four hour timeframe, the license agent should contact the CDFW's License Agent Help Desk by telephone at (916) 928-ALDS (2537). Once CDFW receives the license document a credit will be applied towards a license sales EFT. Also, see response to Question 8.

For additional information contact the License Agent Help Desk at (916) 928-2537 or email