Private Investigator
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Overview

A Private Investigator is hired to obtain information regarding the identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation, or character of any person or group of persons. A private investigator may also conduct investigations regarding the credibility of witnesses; the whereabouts of missing persons; the location of missing persons; the location or recovery of lost or stolen property; and the causes and origin of- or responsibility for- fires, libels, or losses. It is the responsibility of licensees to understand the Private Investigators, Bail Enforcement Agents, Watch, Guard or Patrol Agencies and Security Guards License Law.

Term of licensure is two years.

laws, rules and regulations

Requirements

  • Be 25 years old 
  • Be a principal in the business entity
  • Pass the private investigator examination within the two years immediately prior to application date
  • Have either 3 years’ experience or 3 years equivalent position and experience or 20 years of service as a police officer or Fire Marshall.
  • Proof of Fingerprint completion
  • Proof of a $10,000 surety bond
  • If employing Security Guards, evidence of liability insurance in the minimum amount of $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 in the aggregate and a statement that the coverage includes false arrest or false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, libel, slander and violation of the right to privacy.

 

Fees

There are fees associated with a Private Investigator license. You may pay these fees by check or money order made payable to the Department of State or by MasterCard or Visa using a credit card authorization form. DO NOT SEND CASH. Application fees are nonrefundable. A $20 fee will be charged for any check returned by your bank.

  • $400 - Initial Application
  • $400 - Branch Office Application
  • $400 - Renewal

Corporate or Business:

  • $500 - Initial Application
  • $500 - Branch Office Application
  • $500 – Renewal
  • $15 - Written Exam
  • $88.75 - Fingerprinting Fee, Support Staff/Employee Statement
    (payable to IDEMIA)
  • $100 - Late Renewal Penalty
  • $150 - Change of Status
  • $25 - Employment Status Notification 
  • $10 - Change of Personal Name and/or Address (no fee is required if a name change is the result of a change in marital status)
  • $10 - Duplicate License/Registration Request

Written Exam

Renew or Update

Renew Your License

You are eligible to renew your license 90 days prior to your license expiration date. Your license expiration date is printed on the license.

Renewal forms are mailed approximately 90 days prior to the license expiration date. Complete and submit the renewal form to the address on the form.

If you are eligible to renew your license and you have not received a renewal form, email the Division of Licensing Services and request a form. Your email must include your full name, mailing address, license type, unique identification number and expiration date of your license.

Update Your License

To update your personal name, business or residence address, download, complete and submit the Change Notice to the address on the form.

To request a duplicate license certificate, download, complete and submit the Duplicate License/Registration Request to the address on the form.

Change Notice

Duplicate License/Registration Request

Apply

To apply for a Private Investigator license, submit a completed application to the NYS Department of State, Division of Licensing Services.

Additional Forms/Information:

DMV Consent Form

Request for Photo ID (Required if applicant holds no NYS driver's license)

Special Testing Arrangements Request

Licensee Search

Searches are limited to active licenses only. 

  • Search by ID Number (Unique ID or Registration Number)
  • Search by Name (last name, first name and optionally city/zip code/county)
  • Search by Business Name (business name and optionally city/zip code/county)

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained on this site is up to date and accurate. As the Department relies upon information provided to it, the information's completeness or accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

Security Guard employers are cautioned that this Web site does not circumvent or supercede the requirements of due diligence set forth in the Department of State rules, 19NYCRR§174.6

Please note that information pertaining to residence addresses is not included on this database. Such information is protected by privacy law.

Note: Private Investigator, Watch Guard and Patrol Agency, and Armored Car Carrier can only be searched by business name or UID#. Individual qualifying officers are NOT displayed and cannot be searched.

Online Security Guard Registry

The Online Security Guard Registry allows employers to determine the qualification of a security guard applicant in order to comply with their due diligence requirements pursuant to 19 NYCRR §174.6.

To access the Online Security Guard Registry, you will login using your employer unique identification number (UID). This is the eleven-digit registration number issued to you by the Division of Licensing Services that begins with an ‘11’ and is followed by nine additional digits (i.e. 11000000999.) To search the eligibility of a potential hire, an employer will enter the social security number of the individual they are looking to hire and will be returned with a registration status, a determination whether the individual is ok to hire and a transaction number. Employers should print the summary of the transaction keeping it in their business records as proof of their due diligence.

The Online Security Guard Registry is available to employers from 6:00am to 7:30pm Monday through Friday.

 

Online security guard registry

FAQs

What do the terms "experience" and "equivalent position and experience" mean?

"Experience" is defined as three years of full-time investigative experience as a proprietary investigator, employee of a licensed private investigator, or an investigator in a government investigative agency or police agency.

"Equivalent experience" is defined as three years in a position where the primary duties were to conduct investigations, or three years of experience supervising and reviewing the work of at least three persons performing investigations, or New York State police officers or fire marshals with 20 years of service irrespective of title.

If I have an employment agency license, can I also obtain a PI license?

No. If you have an employment agency license, or are a member of a partnership, or an officer or a holder of any stock in a corporation, or have any financial interest or participation in the control and management of any employment agency, you are NOT eligible to hold a PI WGP license.

Contact Contact the Division of Licensing Services

Mailing Information:

NYS Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
PO Box 22001
Albany NY 12201-2001


Please note: If you utilize express services or next day ground services such as UPS, Federal Express, DHL, etc. you should use the physical address of the building.

Albany Physical Address
Division of Licensing Services
1 Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Albany, NY 12231

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Phone Information:

General Information (518) 474-4429
Security Guard and Armored Car Guard Information (518) 474-7569
 

Call Center Representatives are available from 8:45am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday except on Legal Holidays.

Deaf, hard of hearing and speech-disabled callers, please use 7-1-1

For all other inquiries, email Licensing Services

 

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Visitor & Customer Service Center Information:

Below is a listing of Licensing Customer Service Centers and the hours of operation. All Customer Service Centers are following COVID-19 guidelines and all visitors are asked to abide by these guidelines. Please monitor this page for updates to office hours, guidelines and or any closures.

Albany: This office is open for all services. All visitors are asked to follow COVID guidelines.

NYS Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
1 Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Albany, NY 12231
 

Customer Service hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

*Important note about Apostille and Certification of Authentication Services: Apostille and Certification of Authentication documents may be dropped off for processing. Customers may provide prepaid envelopes for priority returns. Priority appointments based on travel plans within two weeks may be scheduled at our Albany or New York City customer service office. For further information, please visit https://dos.ny.gov/apostille-or-certificate-authentication

Parking
Limited on street metered parking is available for 1 Commerce Plaza in Albany. The Office of General Services has various parking lots throughout downtown Albany which have limited visitor parking. To find out more information about the OGS lots, please visit their website.  

New York City: This office is ONLY open to accept Apostille and Certification of Authentication documents and for priority Apostille appointments. The office will remain temporarily closed for all other services. All visitors are asked to follow COVID guidelines.

NYS Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
123 William St. 2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10038-3804

Customer Service hours: Monday - Friday 9:00am to 3:30pm

*Important note about Apostille and Certification of Authentication Services: Apostille and Certification of Authentication documents may be dropped off for processing. Customers may provide prepaid envelopes for priority returns.Priority appointments based on travel plans within two weeks may be scheduled at our Albany or New York City customer service office. For further information, please visit https://dos.ny.gov/apostille-or-certificate-authentication

 

Binghamton: This office is open for all services. All visitors are asked to follow COVID guidelines.

NYS Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
State Office Building 44 Hawley Street, Room 1506
Binghamton, NY 13901-4455
(518) 474-4429

Customer Service hours: Tuesday and Thursday -  9:00am to 3:00pm

 

Buffalo: This office is open for all services. All visitors are asked to follow COVID guidelines.


NYS Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
295 Main Street, 8th Floor, Suite 821
Buffalo, NY 14203
(518) 474-4429



Customer Service hours: Wednesday and Friday -  9:00am to 3:00pm

 

Hauppauge: This office is open for all services. All visitors are asked to follow COVID guidelines.

NYS Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
State Office Building
250 Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788-5519
(518) 474-4429

Customer Service hours: Tuesday and Thursday -  9:00am to 3:00pm

Utica: This office is closed until further notice.

NYS Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
State Office Building
207 Genesee Street
Utica, NY 13501-2812
(518) 474-4429