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

Online - The fastest way to file! (due to high volumes, we are currently processing applications within 10 business days.)

  • File online using our new online system, My DOR. My DOR works best with Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

    To get started:
      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. If you’re filing an application for a new business, click File Business License Application.
        If you’re filing an application for an existing business:
        * Add access to your business. You’ll need a renewal letter with your UBI number and letter ID.
        * Click on the name of the business that needs attention, then click Add New Business Location. More options are available if you click on the location name.

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
Unarmed Private Investigator $200
Armed Private Investigator (in addition to Unarmed Private Investigator fee) $100
Transfer $25
Certified Trainer Examination $25
Other fees that may apply Fee
Registering your business name as trade name $5
Business License Application $19 (non-refundable)
Renewal fees Fee
Private Investigator Agency $350
Unarmed Private Investigator $175
Armed Private Investigator $175
Certified Trainer $15


Regulatory questions

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