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How to Obtain a Private Investigator License

Why are so many private investigators in the UK keen to be licensed although it's not mandated by law? There have been various efforts in the past to make licensing of private investigators compulsory to limit the number of unscrupulous individuals who operate in the industry. However, these efforts haven't been successful yet. However, there is still a provision to become a licensed private investigator for those who wish to take the extra step. Many people have been doing this of late and there is a good reason why.


Sia Licensing Requirements

There are specific criteria that must be met by anyone who is applying for an SIA Private detective license. Included in these criteria are:

  • Age: Applicant must be 18 or more
  • Education/Training: The Applicant must possess an IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators
  • Working Status: Must have a legal right to work in the UK
  • Mental Status: The applicant must be mentally fit for the job
  • Criminal Record: Criminal records are assessed on a case-by-case basis

Cost Of A Private Investigator License

A private investigator license costs £220 and is valid for three years. These terms are similar to those of most other licenses issued by the Security Industry Authority.

However, these costs don't include the money you'll pay just to qualify for the private detective license e.g. the training fee you'll pay to the learning institution and the administrative fee (£35.5) that you'll be required to pay before you can take the IQ Level 3 exam.

The cost of training varies between institutions. The fees can be a few hundred pounds on the low end and £1000 or more on the high end. Ensure that your institution is accredited and that the course you're taking leads up to the IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators.


Getting Your Sia Private Investigator License

The best time to get your private investigator license is just as soon as you're through with your training and have achieved the necessary documents that prove you have the right qualifications. Being licensed may make it easier to find a job within certain agencies.

The process of getting the license is straightforward and only involves opening an online account on the SIA website and submitting your application online and other documents via mail. A criminal record might complicate the application process for you. You may also be asked to provide other documents. Once your application goes through, you'll just have to wait for a short period (14 days at most) to receive your private investigator license card.


Why Bother To Become A Licensed Private Investigator?

As earlier stated, becoming licensed isn't a requirement to become a private investigator in the UK. However, it's highly advisable to do so.

A license is a reflection of your professionalism and will allow you to operate in a more respectable capacity. Some people may not wish to deal with a private investigator who's unlicensed out of fear of unscrupulous tactics that have been employed by others in the industry.



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