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Frequently asked questions: Private investigators

Choose a topic below:

Licenses and exams

Where do I mail private investigator applications and forms?

  • Send all applications, forms, or documents that require payment to:
    Public Protection Services Section
    Department of Licensing
    PO Box 35001
    Seattle, WA 98124-3401

    We encourage companies to collect forms with payments and mail them together rather than mailing each form separately.

  • Send correspondence without payments to:
    Public Protection Services Section
    Department of Licensing
    PO Box 9649
    Olympia, WA 98507-9649

Please discard all old application and forms, and see forms to get updated versions. contact us if you have questions.

How long will it take to get my license?

If you are mailing in a paper application it can take up to 60 days to issue your license after we receive your completed application and fee.

Where will I take the exam?

Exams are scheduled at driver's licensing offices around the state. The exam will be mailed to the licensing office you chose on your application. After you take the exam, it will be returned to our office to be scored.

When will I get the results?

About 10 days after you take your exam. We’ll notify you either by phone or email.

How often can I take the exam?

You must wait at least 7 working days between exams. There is no limit to the number of times you can take the exam.

How do I get re-scheduled if I don't pass?

Login or sign up to request a reexam online, or mail in the reexam application. To be rescheduled by mail, complete and return the application with a check or money order for the fee. It costs $25 each time you reexam.

Private investigator agencies

If I'm just working for myself and don't want to hire employees, do I still have to get an agency license?

Yes. Anyone who works as a private investigator must be licensed either as a private investigative agency principal, or as a private investigator licensed under an agency.

How do my employees get licensed?

Once your agency is licensed, employees can submit their application online or by mail. They're required to complete 4 hours of pre-assignment training from a licensed certified trainer. The company can attest to the completion of the training through the online application or on the paper application.

Can I have a certified trainer from another agency give my employees the training?

Yes, if they're currently employed and hold a valid private investigator certified trainer's license.

Where do I mail my private investigative agency applications and forms?

  • Send your private investigative agency application to:
    State of Washington
    Business Licensing Service
    PO Box 9034
    Olympia, WA 98507-9034
  • Send all other forms, documents and correspondence to:
    Public Protection Services Section
    Department of Licensing
    PO Box 9649
    Olympia, WA 98507-9649

Please discard all old application and forms, and see forms to get updated versions. If you have questions, please contact us.

Certified trainers

How do I become a certified trainer?

Once you're licensed and have at least 3 years of compensated investigative experience, submit a certified trainer exam application with the $25 exam fee. A passing score of 90% will qualify you to become a certified trainer.

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