How to get your license: Private investigative agency

Who needs a license?

Any business that:
  • Provides investigation, escort, or bodyguard services
  • Performs property loss prevention activities

Requirements

  • All agency owners, partners, or qualifying agents must be:
    • At least 18 years old, if applying for unarmed license
    • At least 21 years old, if applying for armed license
    • A United States citizen or resident alien
  • The agency principal must have:
  • The business must have a physical location in Washington

How to apply

Apply online with the Department of Revenue

Note: This license is issued by the Department of Licensing, but it is processed by Business Licensing Service (BLS) and is printed on the business license they provide. BLS refers to licenses issued by Department of Licensing as endorsements to the business license

  1. Submit an application for the license

    What you'll need:

    • Supporting documents shown below, ready to upload
    • Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit or debit card to pay:
      • Applicable BLS fees
      • Private investigative agency license fee
  2. Get fingerprinted for state and national background checks.
    • Inside Washington: Go to www.identogo.com to schedule an appointment through MorphoTrust, our electronic fingerprinting vendor. You will pay IdentoGO for taking your fingerprints and for the background checks required for your license type.
    • Outside Washington: Call the Security Guard program at 360.664.6611 for fingerprint card submission instructions.
    • For more details, see Fingerprinting and background checks

Want to apply by mail?

  1. Complete or obtain all of the following:
  2. Mail your completed forms and a check/money order payable to the Department of Revenue for the applicable BLS fees and private investigative agency license fee to:
    State of Washington
    Business Licensing Service
    PO Box 9034
    Olympia, WA 98507-9034
  3. Get fingerprinted for state and national background checks.
    • Inside Washington: Go to www.identogo.com to schedule an appointment through MorphoTrust, our electronic fingerprinting vendor. You will pay IdentoGO for taking your fingerprints and for the background checks required for your license type.
    • Outside Washington: Call the Security Guard program at 360.664.6611 for fingerprint card submission instructions.
    • For more details, see Fingerprinting and background checks

Supporting documents for your application

  • If you’re applying with experience, proof of 3 years of experience performed before applying for the license
  • Proof of financial guarantee:
  • If a corporation:
    • Copy of articles of incorporation and
    • A list of officers’ names and addresses

For veterans

U.S. Veterans may be eligible for partial reimbursements of costs. For more information: Education and Training | Licensing and Certification

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