How to become a CA Travel Agent

Who needs to register as a California travel agent?

All travel agents in California must register with the CA Attorney General prior to operating as a travel agency in the state.  A travel agent is any person or business who sells, arranges, or advertises they can sell or arrange the following:

  • Flights or cruises; or
  • Land or water transportation which exceeds $300.

Do I still need to register if my travel agency isn’t located in California?

The answer is yes if you market to California residents or market California tourist destinations.  This includes advertising trips to Disney World, Yosemite, and other popular CA destinations.

How do I apply for a California seller of travel license?

Step 1 – Complete the California Seller of Travel Registration Application

Step 2 – Return the completed application with your registration fee to:

Seller of Travel Program
Office of the Attorney General
Department of Justice
300 South Spring Street, Suite 1702
Los Angeles, CA 90013-1230

Step 3 – Receive your California Seller of Travel Certificate in the mail (typically in 1-3 weeks).

Can you help me apply for my CA seller of travel license?

Please visit thelicensecompany.com for help applying for your license.  They’ll take you from start to finish, help you complete the app, and ensure you have all the required documentation.  The licensing process is confusing and they often obtain state licenses faster and easier than going it alone.  The cost is $199 and they can also assist with other state filings, if needed.

What does the California travel agent license cost?

The cost of your travel agency’s license depends on a few things.  The first factor is the number of locations you intend to have.  The cost to register as a CA travel agent is $100 per location.  For example: An agency with 1 location would pay a registration fee of $100, an agency with 3 locations would pay a registration fee of $300, and so on.

Do I need to pay a late fee?

The attorney general may require payment of a late fee in addition to your registration fee.  However, this depends on your agency’s filing deadline date.  The filing deadline date is 10 days before you start doing business as a travel agency in California.  You are required to pay a late fee if your agency started doing business prior to the filing deadline.  The late fee is calculated by finding number of days difference between the date you started doing business and the date your application was sent (postmarked).  For example: Let’s say your agency began selling travel on Sept 1st and didn’t sent the license application until Sept 30.  The number of days difference would be 29 (30-1).  The late fee required by the state of California is $5 per day late.  In the previous example, the travel agency would be responsible for a $145 late fee in addition to their registration fee (29 days x $5/day).

The maximum amount of late fees charged by the state cannot exceed $500 per year.  The most important term in the previous sentence is “per year”.  Meaning, if you’ve been doing business as a travel agency for multiple years, you could be charged up to $500 in late fees for each year.  This is why a timely registration is so important.

Lastly, many late registrants may feel the urge to “cheat” on the date they started doing business to avoid paying the fine.  This isn’t a wise choice as it could end up in the denial or revocation of your license.  The California seller of travel application authorizes the state to inspect any and all records of your travel agency upon request.  This includes financial statements, bank records, and other items which will ultimately show the true date you started doing business as an agency.

What happens if I don’t register my travel agency?

Failing to register your travel agency can have serious consequences.  You could receive a cease and desist order from the state which would bar your agency from selling travel.  In turn, this could lead to fines, fees, and possibly the denial of a license in the future.

What is the CA Travel Agency surety bond requirement?

The California seller of travel surety bond requirement is meant to protect consumers.  The surety bond acts as a safeguard against the mishandling of your customer’s money.  Your customer’s generally pay up front for certain travel packages.  Typically this payment includes the actual cost of travel plus a commission for your agency.  CA law says you cannot spend the money held in trust for your client’s purchases on operating expenses such as salaries, etc. unless a surety bond is in place.  Please visit our California Seller of Travel Bond page to learn more about the requirement.

How do I contact the state for questions about my application and its status?

Phone: 213-897-8065
Fax: 213-897-8846
Email: sellers.travel@doj.ca.gov

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