Approval to Visit

Applying to Visit
Before an adult can visit a prisoner at a state prison, s/he must be approved.  To be approved, the prisoner must send a signed Visitor Questionnaire (CDCR Form 106) to fill out and return to the institution.  The form must be sent by the prisoner and must be signed by the prisoner.

Fill out the form completely.  If you leave out any information, your application will be denied.  The questionnaire calls for the applicant to list all criminal convictions and all arrests, even if the arrest never led to charges or conviction. CDCR will conduct a background check for arrests and convictions when processing the application and will deny approval to visit if the check indicates an arrest or conviction not listed on the questionnaire, so you should be thorough when completing the questionnaire. It is important to note that any contact with law enforcement may result in a record of the contact in the California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System, and may require clarification by the applicant. If you are unable to remember all the specifics about an arrest or conviction, be as specific as you can in providing the approximate date and the cause of the arrest. Unpaid traffic tickets, outstanding warrants and outstanding warrants for failure to appear for a traffic violation WILL cause your application to be denied.

Mail the completed application to the Visiting Sergeant or Lieutenant at the institution where the prisoner is located. See the CDCR website for the address for your specific prison. Do not return the application to the prisoner.

Approval
If the application is approved, the prisoner will be notified and it is his/her responsibility to inform the visitor. The visitor does not need to bring any proof of approval with them to a visit. Once a visitor is approved, the visiting approval will go with the prisoner if they are transferred to a different institution.

Denial and Appeal
If the application is denied, the visitor and the prisoner will be notified.  The visitor will receive the reason for the denial but the prisoner will not.  If you are denied approval to visit, 1) you may reapply, 2) you may appeal the denial and/or 3) the prisoner may appeal the denial. If the reason for the denial is based on inaccurate or incomplete information on the Visitor Questionnaire, you may resubmit an accurate and complete questionnaire. Sometimes the reason for denial is that the prison requires additional information (for example, evidence that the applicant is no longer on probation). In those cases, you should resubmit the questionnaire and provide the additional information.

If you do not agree with the reason given for the disapproval, you may appeal by writing to the Warden at the prison. S/He is required to respond to your appeal within 15 working days of receiving the appeal. If dissatisfied with the institution’s response or action, you may refer your appeal, with a copy of the institution’s decision, to the Director of the Division of Adult Institutions or his/her designee at:

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,
Division of Adult Institutions, Attn: Director, Room 351-N.
P. O. Box 942883
Sacramento, California 94283-0001

A written response to appeals addressed to the Director shall be provided within 20 working days from the date of receipt. The prisoner may independently appeal the denial of approval by utilizing the normal prisoner appeal process within the prison.

Visiting Approval Update
Your visiting approval must be updated when personal information changes, like a name change or an address change on your identification. In addition, some prisons follow a policy of updating the visitor’s information every 2 years.  You will be required to do so when you are processed to visit.  This can take additional time for processing.  Visiting Staff will provide a Visitor Questionnaire (CDCR Form 106) to fill out when you start to process for your visit.  Note: If you have unpaid traffic fines, your visiting approval can be denied. If there is no one on staff who can run the background check, your visit on that day will not be denied.

Visiting with Minors
Children under the age of 18 are not required to submit a Visiting Questionnaire for visiting approval. Minors are only allowed to visit when they are accompanied by an approved adult visitor. If the minor child(ren) is accompanied by his/her parent, the only paperwork necessary is an original Certified Birth Certificate or an original, embossed Abstract of Birth of each minor child. If the minor is accompanied by his/her legal guardian, a certified birth certificate and proof of legal guardianship is required. If the minor child is accompanied by someone other than his/her parent or legal guardian, in addition to the certified copy of the minor child’s birth certificate, the adult must also bring a notarized written consent authorization form signed by the minor child’s parent or legal guardian expressly giving permission for the minor child(ren) to visit a prisoner. The written consent authorization form must include the name of the prisoner the minor child is allowed to visit, the name of the person who is authorized to bring the minor child into the prison, and the date(s) of the proposed visit(s). Notarized letters must have the notary stamp on the original document; it may not be stapled or attached as an amendment.  This document must be updated each calendar year. Download the approved consent form here: Minor Consent Form Updated 2016.