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What Does a Private Investigator License Look Like?

Many people will advise you to only work with private investigators who hold an official license from the Security Industry Authority. This is very sound advice because rogue investigators who operate with little or no oversight aren't the kind of people you should be comfortable entrusting certain kinds of information to.

However, this advice may not be of much use if you have no idea what an authentic private investigator license looks like. There are different types of licenses for many roles in the UK. Each of these licenses is unique and if you can't differentiate them, you could be fooled by a business card that has all the right bells and whistles to make it look like something official.


What Does An Official Private Investigator License Look Like?

The Security Industry Authority for those who perform frontline roles has many distinct features. There have been five different designs of the license since the SIA was formed back in 2001.

However, since SIA licenses are only valid for a three-year period, only two of these designs are still in use at the moment. The oldest of the two designs was last issued in June 2016. This design has a silver hologram and a security chip.

The updated design which is still being issued today has several security features including:

  • Micro text
  • Engravings
  • UV security features
  • A holographic overlay that replaced the silver hologram in the initial design
  • A Barcode
  • QR Code

With all these features, the new licenses have a distinct look that's very hard to falsify. Additionally, the inclusion of the barcode and QR code means that you can quickly scan the license card to verify if it's authentic and if it's being used validly since it may be suspended.


Where Are Investigator Licenses Issued?

Private investigator licenses are sent by mail to those whose applications are successful. The applications are sent to the Security Industry Authority who process them and send the licenses to the applicants. The application process is done online although some parts of the process may require you to go to a post office e.g. identity verification.



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