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How to get your license: Armed private investigator

Who needs a license?

Anyone who carries a firearm on duty while working for a licensed private investigative agency that:

  • Provides investigation, escort, or bodyguard services.
  • Performs property loss prevention activities.


To be licensed as an armed private investigator, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Be licensed as an unarmed private investigator or agency principal.
  • Have a current firearms certificate issued by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC).
  • Have a current license to carry a concealed pistol.
  • Get fingerprinted for state and national background checks.
    • Inside Washington: Go to www.identogo.com to schedule an appointment through Idemia. Pay IdentoGO for your fingerprints and 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.

How to apply

You can apply online or by mail.

What you'll need


Apply online

By mail

Send the following:

Check or money order for the non-refundable application fee (payable to Department of Licensing)

Mail to: Private Investigator Program
Department of Licensing
PO Box 35001
Seattle, WA 98124-3401

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?

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