WA State Licensing: Private investigator agency

Private investigator agency

A Private Investigator Agency endorsement is required for any business that:

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


  • 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:
  • The business must have a physical location in Washington.

Post your license

A license must be posted at each location where the licensee operates. You may not begin this business activity until you receive a Business License listing the required endorsement(s).

How to apply

Supporting documents for your application

    • If you’re applying with experience, proof of 3 years of experience performed before applying for the license
    • Proof of financial guarantee:
    • Certificate of liability insurance with minimum coverage of $25,000 bodily injury and $25,000 property damage or
    • $10,000 Private Investigative Agency Surety Bond
    • If a corporation:
      • Copy of articles of incorporation and
      • A list of officers’ names and addresses


Apply by using one of the following options:

  • Online with My DOR. My DOR works best with Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

    1. Login using your Secure Access Washington (SAW) user ID. If you don’t have a user ID or aren’t sure, see if you have an account first before signing up.
    2. Once logged in, add My DOR to your list of services, then open My DOR.
    3. Follow the steps below based on your business status.

      If you do not have an existing business

      1. Click File Business License Application. Be sure to select the endorsements for which you wish to apply.

      If you have an existing business

      1. If you haven’t already, add access to your business. You’ll need a UBI number and letter ID.
      2. Click on the business you want to apply for a license/endorsement under, then click on the location.
      3. Click Add License Endorsements/Employees.
  • You can pay using an E–check or a major credit card (gift cards can’t be used).

    Find more help for using My DOR, including video tutorials.

    By mail

    1. Complete the following
    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.
    3. Mail your completed forms with a check or money order payable to “Department of Revenue” for the fees to:

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

    For veterans

    U.S. Veterans may be eligible for partial reimbursements of costs. For more information: Education and Training | Licensing and Certification


    Application fees Fee
    Private Investigator Agency with unarmed principal $600
    Private Investigator Agency with armed principal $700
    Other fees that may apply Fee
    Registering your business name as trade name $5
    Business License Application $19 (non-refundable)

    Regulatory questions

    Department of Licensing
    Private Investigators
    Phone: 360-664-6611
    Fax: 360-570-7888