Security Licensing Compliance Guide
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Private Investigator Licensing in California

A private investigator listening to a clients issue

Private investigation licenses are typically issued for individuals and organizations conducting investigative services. This guide contains information about private investigator licensing in California. For assistance with licensing, please contact us to learn about our software and managed license services.

Company Licenses

California Security Company Licenses

California Private Investigation Agency License

Agency:California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services

Initial Registration

Form:

Private Investigator Application for License

Agency Fee:

$50 application fee + $175 license fee once the application is approved.

Fact Checked:11/8/17

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Application for Private Investigator License

Agency Fee:

$125

Due:

Licenses expire two years from the date of issuance.

Fact Checked:11/8/17

California Private Patrol Operator License

Agency:California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:8/18/20

Initial Registration

Form:

Private Patrol Operator Application for License

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$550 application fee + $770 license fee.

Fact Checked:8/18/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Private Patrol Operator License Renewal Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$900

Due:

Biennially

Notes:

The Bureau recommends the renewal application be submitted no less than 60 days before expiration of your current license.

Fact Checked:8/18/20

Individual Licenses

California Individual Security Licenses

California Private Investigator License

Agency:California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services

Initial Registration

Form:

Private Investigator and Qualified Manager License Application Packet

Agency Fee:

$50 application fee + $175 license fee + $49 for fingerprinting.

Notes:

Investigators planning to carry a firearm will also need to file a firearm permit.

Fact Checked:11/8/17

Registration Renewal

Form:

Renewal Application for Private Investigator License

Agency Fee:

$125

Due:

Licenses expire two years from the date of issuance.

Fact Checked:11/8/17

Learn about security licensing in other states:

Firearm Qualification - An additional qualification attached to license applications for armed private investigators.

Private Investigator Apprentice - Apprentices are issued limited licenses and can only operate under the direction of a licensed investigator.

Qualified Representative - A licensed private investigator who is responsible for the operation and management of an investigative agency.

Reciprocity - When a private investigator is allowed to do business in a different state under the license issued by their home state.

National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI)
Industry association that sponsors education and certification efforts for members.

National Council of Investigation and Security Services (NCISS)
Private investigation and security advocacy group.

United States Association of Professional Investigators (USAPI)
Industry association focused on education and certification.

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