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Apply for a private investigator licence

A private investigator might be hired to:

  • find out private information about a person without their permission
  • carry out surveillance to gather information about that person
  • investigate the case of a missing person.

You need to hold a current licence to do this job. To become licensed, you must:

  • meet the eligibility criteria
  • complete your training and attach proof of qualifications
  • fill out and lodge the application form.

You don’t need a licence if you work (as an employee) for:

  • legal practitioners
  • accountants
  • insurance businesses
  • insurance adjustment agencies
  • independent investigators for grievances in the Queensland Public Service.

Download the security provider licence: Individual—Class 1 form.

You can also apply online.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a licence, you must:

  • be 18 or older
  • not pose a risk to public safety
  • pass the required training course.

You are not eligible for a licence if you have been convicted of a disqualifying offence in the past 10 years, where a conviction is recorded.

You must also tell us if you have been found guilty of a disqualifying offence in the past 5 years, where a conviction was not recorded (this is known as an ‘unrecorded finding of guilt’). We may ask you for more information so we can assess if you are a suitable person to hold a licence.

Lodgement

Identification

When you lodge the form, you will need to attach 100 points of formal identification. These documents must be either original (if lodged at the counter) or certified copies.

Your identification must include at least 1 of the following 5 documents:

  • Birth certificate or extract
  • Passport
  • ImmiCard
  • A driver’s licence
  • An 18+ card.

You may also need to include some of the following documents to make up your 100 points:

  • Citizenship certificate
  • An ID card
  • A social security card
  • A letter from your employer
  • Any other official letter, card or statement listed on the application form.

You will need to pay certain fees when you lodge your application. These include:

  • the licence fee (listed on the form)
  • a criminal history check fee of $39.55
  • a fingerprinting fee of $100.

Fingerprinting

By law, the police need to fingerprint all security providers, including private investigators. We will contact you after you lodge your application form to explain what you need to do.

Learn more about fingerprinting for a licence.

Criminal history check

To confirm your suitability, we will submit your application for a criminal history check. This will be thorough and may be time consuming.

If you were born in New Zealand or have a New Zealand passport, you need to get a copy of your criminal history or a letter indicating you have no criminal history from New Zealand. Find out more from the New Zealand Ministry of Justice.

We can only accept original documents dated within 1 month of the date you send them to us. Be aware it takes 20 working days to process a request for a New Zealand criminal history check.

Processing time

The processing time is 4–6 weeks. This can take longer if you have not supplied all the information we need or you have not paid the correct fees.

Refunds

Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to a partial refund if:

  • you withdraw your application
  • we refuse your application.

You may also get a refund on the fees for:

  • fingerprinting
  • your criminal history check.

Training

To become licensed as a private investigator you must complete the following training and attach proof of your training qualifications when you lodge your application form with us.

You need to do your training through a registered training organisation. Use the My Skills website to find a training provider.

Certificate III in Investigative Services—CPP30619

You must complete the modules below from the 5 core modules and 11 elective modules from group A (factual investigation) and group B (surveillance).

This training package has replaced the CPP30607 package, which will no longer be accepted.

Name of course module Module code

Work effectively in investigative services (core)

CPPINV3026

Develop investigation plans (core)

CPPINV3027

Investigate and locate subjects (core)

CPPINV3028

Provide quality investigative services to clients (core)

CPPINV3029

Prepare and present evidence in court (core)

CPPSEC3124

Comply with regulatory, taxation and insurance requirements for the micro business
(elective A and B)

BSBSMB305

Maintain work health and safety (elective A and B)

HLTWHS003

Compile and use official notes (elective A and B)

PSPCRT007

Handle sensitive information (elective A and B)

PSPSEC009

Conduct factual investigations (elective A)

CPPINV3030

Conduct interviews and take statements to support investigations (elective A)

CPPINV3031

Develop factual investigation reports (elective A)

CPPINV3032

Produce formal record of interview (elective A)

PRPREG006

Conduct covert surveillance operations (elective B) CPPINV3033
Organise and operate surveillance vehicles (elective B) CPPINV3034
Develop surveillance investigation reports (elective B) CPPINV3035

Student visa holders

It is an offence under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 for a registered training organisation to provide training to an international student on a student visa, unless the training organisation holds registration on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Therefore, if you are in Australia on a student visa, you must make sure that the training organisation where you complete your training holds CRICOS registration.

Please note, training for each specified unit of competency must be completed through the CRICOS registered training provider. We will not accept a training certificate issued by a CRICOS registered training provider as a result of a credit transfer.

Restricted licences

A restricted licence would allow you to finish your training while you work, as long as you’re supervised by a fully licensed provider of the same licence class.

A restricted licence only lasts 6 months. Before this term expires, you must:

  • complete the training requirements
  • apply for an unrestricted licence.

You cannot extend the duration of a restricted licence.

Supervision

A supervising private investigator must:

  • give the restricted licensee detailed written instructions about the work they need to do
  • write down the tasks the licensee performs
  • regularly check their progress (including written notes).