How To Get A New York Private Detective License

new york private detective license

A New York private investigator is hired to obtain information on the identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, reputation, or character of a group or of an individual. If you wish to conduct this type of business, you will first need to get a New York Private Investigator License.

Private investigators are licensed by the New York Department of State Licensing Division.


How to get a New York Private Investigator License

Step #1: Meet initial requirements

To get issued a license you must:

  • Be at least 25 years of age
  • Be a principal in the business entity that is being licensed
  • Pass a private investigator examination within the last two years

For information on taking the written exam, please see this resource.

Private investigator applicants must also meet at least one of the following experience requirements:

  • 3 years full time experience as a private investigator
  • or 3 years full time equivalent position and experience where the primary duties were to conduct investigations
  • or 20 years of service as a police officer
  • or 20 years service as a fire marshall

Step #2: Complete license application

Download the New York Private Investigator License Application.

Your application will need to include proof of electronic fingerprinting by an approved vendor.

Step #3: Purchase $10,000 surety bond

A New York Private Investigator Bond is a type of surety bond that promises you will conduct ethical business. If you don’t, someone can make a claim against your surety bond. You can learn how the bond claim process works.

The bond amount is set at $10,000.

You do not need to pay $10,000 to get bonded. Most people pay $100 for their bond. 

The best way to see what you’d pay for this bond is to get a free quote:

Get free Private Detective Bond quotes!

Step #4: Submit paperwork

Submit the license application and original bond to the New York Department of State.

Include a check or money order for the correct application fee payable to the “NYS Department of State”.

You are required to have either 3 years experience in professional investigation or 20 years experience as a police officer or fire marshall. You will also need to pass an exam and pay a $15 exam fee.


The Associated Licensed Detectives of New York State offers many additional resources for members.

License Expiration and Renewal

Licenses are valid for two years. Before the expiration date, you will need to renew your license to remain in compliance.

The renewal fee can be found on the Licensing Fee page.

Related Links:

NY Private Investigator Forms

 NY Private Investigator FAQ

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