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Private Investigator Agency License

Private Investigator Agency


Who is required to be licensed?

Definitions from ARS §32-2401-16


"Private investigator" means a person other than an insurance adjuster or an on-duty peace officer as defined in section 1-215 who, for any consideration, engages in business or accepts employment to:

  1. Furnish, agree to make or make any investigation for the purpose of obtaining information with reference to:

    1. Crime or wrongs done or threatened against the United States or any state or territory of the United States.

    2. The identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation or character of any person or group of persons.

    3. The credibility of witnesses or other persons.

    4. The whereabouts of missing persons, owners of abandoned property or escheated property or heirs to estates.

    5. The location or recovery of lost or stolen property.

    6. The causes and origin of, or responsibility for, a fire, libel, slander, a loss, an accident, damage or an injury to real or personal property.

  2. Secure evidence to be used before investigating committees or boards of award or arbitration or in the trial of civil or criminal cases and the preparation therefor.

  3.  Investigate threats of violence and provide the service of protection of individuals from serious bodily harm or death.


Note to Peace Officers: The department may not issue a license or registration certificate pursuant to this chapter to a peace officer, including a reserve peace officer. This section does not apply to retired peace officers or peace officers who are accident reconstructionists or fire origin and cause investigators.


Instructions to start a private investigation agency can be downloaded here.


 Qualifications of Licensee

A Private Investigation agency license is issued to an individual who is the Qualifying Party (QP) regardless of the agency structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation). The Qualifying Party is sometimes called the Licensee.


The Qualifying Party must comply with the requirements as listed in the ARS §32-2422.A.10, which states:

Have had a minimum of three years of full-time investigative experience or the equivalent of three years of full-time investigative experience that consists of actual work performed as an investigator for a private concern, for the federal government or for a state, county or municipal government.


Documentation of Qualifications

The necessary documentation to fulfill the above Statute must be described in a letter from an individual or individuals, such as a former supervisor, who can specifically state their work relationship with you and personally verify your investigative experience. The author of the letter must be clearly identified by name and include an address and contact telephone number. The author must sign the letter.


You may also submit documentation from an agency from which you retired or were previously employed. This documentation may be in the form of retirement papers, performance evaluations, or military records such as DD 214, NCOERs, OERs, etc. (a DD 214 alone is insufficient evidence - we also need the copy that shows the type of discharge received). The documents must explicitly state that you have the required investigative experience from verifiable sources. Failure to provide sufficient documentation of your experience from appropriate sources will result in the rejection of your application.


Allow at least 15 business days after the submission of your application before calling the unit to check your status. Repeated phone calls will only delay your application.


Selecting Your Agency Name

You need to  get approval of your agency name through the DPS Licensing Unit before contacting the Arizona Corporation Commission or  Arizona Secretary of State.  The Licensing Unit’s standards for name approval are more stringent than other state agencies and the Licensing Unit must consider other factors before approving your agency name.


Instructions for choosing your agency name are listed here.



Application information, instructions and forms are available here.


Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to download, open, and print the forms. This is free software. A link is provided on this website to download the application.


Application Packets may also be requested from the Licensing Unit office.


Conducting investigations in Arizona

Anyone conducting private investigations in Arizona must be licensed in Arizona. Failure to do so can be a class 1 misdemeanor. You may hire other employees, such as office staff, but they cannot conduct private investigations in Arizona.

You do not need an Arizona address or a Resident Manager to be licensed as a private investigation agency in Arizona.


Surety Bond and Worker's Compensation for Employees

Do not purchase or submit evidence of your surety bond and workers' compensation policy until your company has received notification from the Licensing Unit that your agency is approved.


Surety Bond

As required by ARS §32-2423.B.1, ARS §32-2423.C. and ACC R13-2-203.A.2. Once you receive such notification (and before the agency license is issued), you must submit a surety bond that is executed by a company that is licensed to transact fidelity and surety business in Arizona. The surety bond must be valid for two years for the amount of $2,500. The Arizona Department of Public Safety must be listed as the obligee and the surety bond must benefit any person injured by an act of you, your agency, or an employee of your agency. The effective date of the surety bond should be about two weeks after you have received the notification from DPS.


Workers' Compensation for Employees

As required by ARS §32-2423.B.2. and ACC R13-2-203.A.3. Each agency with one or more employees is required to have valid Workers' Compensation insurance, issued by a company authorized to conduct business in Arizona.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety Licensing Unit  must be listed as the certificate holder.


If the private investigation agency has an out-of-state address listed on the insurance certificate, the “description of operations” must include words similar to For Private Investigation agency operations in Arizona..

This certificate must be sent to DPS upon renewal of the policy. The agency file is updated with the new expiration date.


Authorized Signers and Instructors

The Qualifying Party can authorize individuals to sign documents for the agency. Authorized Signers must be designated in writing. The Qualifying Party may add or delete signers as often as deemed necessary, but each action must be in writing.

The written authorization to DPS must include a signature sample with the printed name, as signatures are often illegible. These authorizations and sample signatures are retained in the agency file.


Agency Associates

If these individuals reside and/or work in Arizona, they are considered Agency Associates:

  • Corporation: Each officer, member or director on the corporate paperwork

  • LLC: Everyone listed on the Articles of Organization other than Qualifying Party

  • Partnership: Partners other than the Qualifying Party


Use the (one-page) Registration Application for each Associate’s application. The fee for an Associate application is $50.00 plus $22.00 for the FBI fingerprint processing fee. Each Associate must pass the background check.


The associate application is available here.


Licensing and Registration Fees

Agency licensing fees may be paid by cash, money order, cashiers checks and/or company checks issued by the private investigation agency. Cashiers checks, money orders and agency issued checks must be payable to DPS.  Private Investigation Agency licenses are valid for two-years.  Qualifying party licenses, associate and employee registration certificates expire when the private investigation agency's license expires. No refunds will be given if individuals are disqualified from obtaining a license.


Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint background check

The applicant's fingerprints will be used to check the criminal history records of the FBI. The procedures for obtaining a change, correction, or updating of your criminal history record are set forth in Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 16.34.


New agency application fee

The new agency application fee is $250 plus $22 for the FBI fingerprint processing of the Qualifying Party. The Associate application fee with fingerprints is $72 each. This covers the $50 license fee and the $22 FBI fingerprint processing fee. These are to be submitted with the new agency application paperwork.


New agency license fee

After the qualifying party experience and background checks have been reviewed and approved,  then a Ready To License Letter will be sent to the new agency requesting the $400 license fee and Surety Bond in the amount of $2,500.00.

Renewal license fee

The renewal license fee for renewing an agency is $250. Include $22 for the FBI fingerprint processing of the Qualifying Party ($272 total for the QP).


Associate renewal applications and fingerprints must be submitted with the agency renewal paperwork - include the $50 license fee and the $22 FBI fingerprint processing fee for a total of $72 per Associate.


Employee renewal applications and fingerprints must be submitted with the agency renewal paperwork - include the $50 license fee and the $22 FBI fingerprint processing fee for a total of $72 per Employee.


Allow at least 15 business days after the submission of your application before calling the unit to check your status. Repeated phone calls will only delay your application.



Arizona Revised Statutes-Private Investigators


Arizona Administrative Code-Private Investigators







Arizona Department of Public Safety

Licensing Unit

PO Box 6328 MD 1160

Phoenix, AZ 85005


Phone: (602) 223-2361

Fax: (602) 223-2938  


Last update 03-26-2014

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