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How to become Private Investigator in New York?

Private investigators are useful to many organizations and individuals’; e.g. Companies to get them information on employee’s conduct, for other circumstances that police don’t handle.

Private investigators are useful to many organizations and individuals’; e.g.  Companies to get them information on employee’s conduct, for other circumstances that police don’t handle. For being a private investigator in New York, you must apply to New York Department of Licensing services which possess some licensing requirements and a thorough background check. It is not a requirement for employment as a private investigator that you must be from any law enforcement or military background. Often times a degree in Criminal Justice or other security and investigation work can be just as important to prospective employers. It is against the law in New York to give the services of a private investigator without possessing any license.

You must have your own license in order to work as a private investigator individually or in firm.  The most important thing is you need of 25 years or older to get a license in New York. Getting a license as a private investigator in New York is a simple process which takes a few steps:

You need to have at least three years experience in private investigation field. Read all the private investigation licensing rules from NYS Department of State in order to be a private investigator and work accordingly. Don’t lose hope if you have no experience. Still, you can work under a firm having a license of private investigator and your working under this firm would qualify you as your work experience.


After you are satisfied with the experience clause, you need to apply for private investigator exam which includes topics such as license law; penal and criminal procedure law; investigative techniques; supervision; restrictions; interpreting written material; and report writing. Sign up on day of test and pay $15 fee.


Make an appointment by phone or online with L-1 Enrollment services ( ) to have an image of your fingerprints. Give the license type and ORI number for a private investigator at the fingerprinting site. The license type is PI/WGP/Support Staff and the ORI number is NY922020Z. Pay the $86.50 fee, as of 2010, by check or creditcard. 


After, complete and mail license application along with the prescribed fee in the form of cashiers cheque, money order or business cheque. Along with application do not forget attaching the fingerprints receipt. As per 2010 perquisites, cost of application form for an individual is $400 and for that of firm or a company is $500.  Now you have completed all the paper formalities and your license is ready in time. The given license will be valid for two years from the date of issue. Request an application by email or call or mail the Division of Licensing Services, or ask for one in person at the main office in Albany or at offices in New York City, Binghamton, Buffalo, Hauppauge, Syracuse and Utica.

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