Applying for an Individual Security Guard License

Apply for an individual license only if you plan to provide security services on your own and under your own name.

Follow these steps:

  1. Decide the type of business structure you plan to use to operate a security guard business. Registration of your business structure is a separate registration from your Security Guard license and may be filed online through One Stop Business Portal.

    • If you will be a sole proprietorship, you may want to wait to apply for the business registration certificate with the State Tax Department until after your after your security guard license is approved.

    • If you prefer to establish a legal entity, such as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC)), you should at least file a Name Reservation (Form NR-1) to reserve the business name through the Secretary of State before you apply for a license to make sure the name on your license application and the name under which you will do business are the same.

  2. Complete the application form and follow the instructions for the fingerprint requirement.
    Use one of the following methods:

    • Download the application form,

    • Request the application packet by e-mail at investigationsupport@wvsos.gov or

    • Call (304) 558-8000 to request an application packet with the correct fingerprint instructions.

    • The online form requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader. You can fill it out on screen, then print. If you start with a printed form, please type or print in ink and make certain every entry is legible.

  3. Get the two required photographs taken within the last year. You should have passport size color photos taken by a photographer. A colored background, such as light blue or gray, works best. Attach two photos to your application.

  4. Find a surety company authorized to do business in West Virginia who will agree to issue a surety bond of $2,500 naming you, the applicant, as principal. Take the surety bond form and instructions (included in the application) to the agent representing that company. Your signature as principal must be notarized. The agent's signature must be notarized, and a power of attorney must be attached.

  5. Provide five character references. Provide a blank character reference letter form (included in the application) to five reputable citizens who have known you for five years and who are not related to you by blood or marriage. Ask them to complete and sign the reference and return it to you. DO NOT mail or deliver your application until you have five completed references.

  6. Provide copies of the documentation proving that you have met the training and/or experience requirements. Documentation may include:

    • A transcript showing successful completion of at least thirty semester hours of credit in investigative or law enforcement studies or a comparable training program; or
    • A sworn statement (under penalty of false swearing) signed by one of the principals of a licensed private investigative or security guard firm which specifies the time you were employed (hours per week and number of weeks), or evidence of equivalent law enforcement employment. If all requirements are to be met by this experience, the work must include a minimum of 32 hours per week for 50 weeks; or
    • A combination of transcripts and experience certified as provided above. To determine if the requirements are met, divide the number of appropriate college credits by sixty to determine the percentage of the total requirement met by education. For example, 12 credit hours / 30 hours = 40% met by education. This leaves 60% to be met by experience. Multiply the percentage to be met by experience times 50 weeks. For example 60% x 50 weeks = 30 weeks (minimum 32 hours per week) of experience.

  7. Pay the fee. A $50 non-refundable application processing fee is included in the fee. If your license is denied, the remainder will be refunded. The license is valid for one year. If it is not renewed after one year and you wish to provide security guard service, you must register as a new applicant. The fee for an individual license is:

    • $150 West Virginia Resident
    • $550 Non-Resident of West Virginia

  8. Submit your application, photographs, references, surety bond, documentation of qualifications and fee to:

    West Virginia Secretary of State
    Investigations Unit
    1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
    Building 1, Suite 157-K
    Charleston, WV 25305
  9. If your license is approved, complete your business registration (see step 1 above).

Contact the Licensing Division for further assistance regarding Private Investigator and/or Security Guard licensing.


If we may be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us:  304.558.8000   toll free 866.767.8683  email:   InvestigationSupport@wvsos.gov