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Can You Be a Private Investigator Without a License?

There have been significant steps to push forward compulsory licenses for those who wish to operate as private investigators in the UK. Although there has been plenty of progress, the industry is yet to take that final step.

However, as much as it is still possible to work as a private investigator without a license, this isn't recommended for those who are hoping to operate with a certain degree of professionalism in the industry.


What Do You Need To Be A Licensed Investigator?

In the UK, the requirements to get a private investigator license are quite low. Most private investigators should be able to make these requirements without too much hassle.

What you'll need when you're applying for a private investigator license are:

  • An IQ Level 3 Certificate for Private Investigators
  • Proof that you have the mental capacity to handle the demands of the job
  • A clean criminal record or one that doesn't conflict with the services you plan on offering
  • A right to work in the UK
  • £220 for the application fee

As soon as you meet these requirements, you'll be ready to receive your private investigator license from the Security Industry Authority. Additionally, SIA licenses can only be held by adults so you'll also need to be over the age of 18 when applying for your private investigator license.


What Do You Lose By Not Having A Private Investigator License?

Although you don't need to have a private investigator license, it's highly recommended that you have one if you plan on working as a private investigator. This is because without a private investigator license:

  • You will not come across as a real professional which is a huge problem when you meet new clients
  • Certain clients will be reluctant to work with you
  • You may find yourself scrambling to get a license at the wrong time if the law changes and makes licenses a must for private investigators
  • You may find it difficult to find employment with some agencies or companies
  • You may not be able to join certain professional associations


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