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How to get your license: Private investigative agency

We have a new online service for managing professional and business licenses. Learn how to set up account access. If you need help with the new service, please contact your professional licensing program.

We expect a processing delay for mailed applications and renewals. Renew or apply online for faster processing of your license. Thank you for your patience and we apologize for any inconvenience.

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:
    • No convictions that directly relate to your capacity to perform the duties of a private investigator and/or hinders public safety. Read more conviction information.
  • The business must have a physical location in Washington

How to apply

Apply online with the Department of Revenue

Note:We issue this license, but it is processed by Department of Revenue and is printed on the business license they provide. It's considered an endorsement to your 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 business licensing 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

Apply by mail

Send the following:

Mail to:

State of Washington
Business Licensing Service
PO Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034

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 instructions.
  • For more details, see Fingerprinting and background checks

Supporting documents for your application

  • Written certification of 3 years of experience performed prior to applying for the license or passed exam.
  • Proof of financial guarantee:

For veterans, military personnel, and partners

Your military experience or training might help you meet licensing requirements. You may also be able to get a temporary license if you're moving here with a current license from another state. For more information visit military assistance.

If you're a U.S. veteran, you may be eligible for partial reimbursement of your fees. For more information, visit Get paid back for test fees.

Questions? Need help?

Washington Healthcare Finder
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Access Washington – official state government website