Office of Justice Programs

Registry Requirement FAQs

  1. What information is required in jurisdictions’ sex offender registries?
  2. What are the jurisdictions required to do with the collected information about sex offenders?
  3. What information must be available to the public through public websites?
  4. Which information is prohibited from being available on public websites?
  5. What entities must registry information be shared with and what information must be shared?
  1. What information is required in jurisdictions’ sex offender registries?

    The following information is required to be placed in a jurisdiction’s sex offender registry:

    • Criminal History
    • Date of Birth
    • DNA Sample
    • Driver’s License or Identification Card
    • Employer Information
    • Fingerprints
    • Internet Identifiers
    • Name
    • Palm Prints
    • Passport and Immigration Documents
    • Phone Numbers
    • Photograph
    • Physical Description
    • Professional Licensing Information
    • Residence Information
    • School Information
    • Social Security Number
    • Temporary Lodging Information
    • Text of Registration Offense
    • Vehicle Information

    See Part VI of the Final Guidelines for more detail.

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  2. What are jurisdictions required to do with the collected information about sex offenders?

    SORNA requires the immediate sharing of information among jurisdictions and specified entities, and the posting of much of the information on public sex offender registries.

    See Part VII of the Final Guidelines for more detail.

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  3. What information must be available to the public through public websites?

    Below is a list of the types of registration information that jurisdictions must include on their public sex offender websites to satisfy the requirements for SORNA implementation. The list of informational items that jurisdictions must include on their public sex offender websites is as follows:

    • Current Offense: The sex offense for which the offender is currently required to register and any other sex offense for which the sex offender has been convicted.
    • Employer address: The address of any place where the sex offender is an employee.
    • Name: The name of the sex offender, including any aliases.
    • Photograph: A current photograph of the offender.
    • Physical description: A physical description of the offender.
    • Resident Address: The address of the sex offender, including any information about where the offender "habitually lives".
    • School address: The address of any place where the sex offender attends school.
    • Vehicle(s) license plate number and description.

    The foregoing list remains subject to the discretionary authority of jurisdictions under section 118(c)(1) to exempt information about a tier I sex offender convicted of an offense other than a specified offense against a minor. 

    See Part VII.A of the Final Guidelines for more detail.

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  4. Which information is prohibited from being available on public websites?

    Jurisdictions must exempt five types of information from disclosure. These exemptions only constrain jurisdictions in relation to the information made available on their publicly accessible sex offender websites. It does not limit the discretion of jurisdictions to disclose these types of information in other contexts, such as to law enforcement. The mandatory exempted four types of information are:

    • The victim’s identity,
    • The Social Security number of the sex offender,
    • Any reference to arrests of the sex offender that did not result in conviction,
    • Passport and immigration document numbers, and
    • Internet Identifiers.

    There are also four optional exemptions, which apply to information that jurisdictions have the discretion to exempt from their public websites. These are:

    • Any information about a tier I sex offender convicted of an offense other than a specified offense against a minor.
    • The name of an employer of the sex offender,
    • The name of an educational institution where the sex offender is a student,
    • Any other information which the Attorney General allows to be exempted.

    See Part VII.A of the Final Guidelines for more detail.

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  5. What entities must registry information be shared with and what information must be shared?

    After a sex offender registers or updates a registration, the information in a registry (other than information exempted from disclosure by the Attorney General) must be provided to various specified entities and individuals. These include:

    • National databases.
    • Law enforcement and supervision agencies.
    • Any jurisdiction where the sex offender resides, is an employee, or is a student, and each jurisdiction from or to which a change of residence, employment, or student status occurs.
    • Any agency responsible for conducting employment-related background checks under section 3 of the National Child Protection Act of 1993.
    • Each school and public housing agency in each area in which the sex offender resides, is an employee, or is a student.
    • Social service entities responsible for protecting minors in the child welfare system.
    • Volunteer organizations in which contact with minors or other vulnerable individuals might occur.
    • Any organization, company, or individual who requests such notification pursuant to procedures established by the jurisdiction.

    The requirements in the list above for sharing information among jurisdictions and with certain governmental entities (such as law enforcement agencies) are subject to special standards and procedures described in the Final Guidelines.

    With respect to schools, public housing, social service, and volunteer organizations, as well as any request for notification, these information dissemination objectives can be achieved by incorporating appropriate notification functions into the sex offender websites that are similar to measures currently used by some jurisdictions. Specifically, a jurisdiction will be deemed to have satisfied the requirements of SORNA in this regard if it adopts an automated notification system which incorporates substantially the following features:

    • The information required to be included on sex offender websites is posted on the jurisdiction’s sex offender website within three business days.

    • The jurisdiction’s sex offender website includes a function under which members of the public and organizations can request notification when sex offenders commence residence, employment, or school attendance within zip code or geographic radius areas specified by the requester, where the requester provides an e-mail address to which the notice is to be sent.

    • Upon posting on the jurisdiction’s sex offender website of new residence, employment, or school attendance information for a sex offender within an area specified by the requester, the system automatically sends an e-mail notice to the requester which identifies the sex offender sufficiently that the requester can then access the jurisdiction’s website and view the information about the sex offender on the website.

    The Department of Justice has developed software resources to support an automated email notification system that is available to all registry jurisdictions.

    See Part VII.B of the Final Guidelines for more detail.

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