Get your license: Private investigators (unarmed)

Learn how to get your license to work as an unarmed private investigator.

Who needs a license?

You must be licensed to work for a private investigation agency that:

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

How to apply

1. Meet the requirements

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

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a United States citizen or resident alien
  • Be employed by, or have an employment offer from a licensed private investigator company
  • Have no convictions that directly relate to your capacity to perform the duties of a private investigator and/or hinder public safety
  • Complete the pre-assignment training requirements

2. Submit your application

You must pay the license fee when you apply. Choose the method that works best for you.

Apply for your license online

You'll receive your license faster by applying and paying online.

Log into SecureAccess Washington (SAW)

Don't have a SAW account? Learn how to create a SAW account.

Apply for your license by mail

Mail your completed Private Investigator License Application and Renewal form and a check or money order for the license fee (payable to the Department of Licensing) to:

Public Protection Services
Department of Licensing
PO Box 35001
Seattle, WA 98124-3401

3. Submit fingerprints

Submit your fingerprints for state and national background checks.

Inside Washington

Schedule an appointment through IdentoGO, our electronic fingerprinting vendor. You'll pay a fee for the fingerprinting service and background checks required for your license.

Outside Washington

Please contact your local law enforcement agency to complete the fingerprint submission process. For more details, read about fingerprinting and background checks.

Get email updates

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest rule changes and licensing updates by email.

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. Learn more about using your military training to meet professional license requirements.

If you're a U.S. veteran, you may be eligible for partial reimbursement of your fees. Learn more about getting reimbursed for fees.

Need additional help? Here's how to contact us:

call Phone: 360-664-6611
(TTY: Call 711)
mail Email:
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