Thank you for visiting the Private Investigators Association of Virginia Inc website to learn more about becoming a Private Investigator in the Commonwealth of Virginia.



The Private Investigators Association of Virginia Inc, commonly known as PIAVA, has assembled information and web links to help you learn about becoming a properly registered Private Investigator in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Anyone interested in private investigation should become familiar with the Department of Criminal Justice Services, Division of Law Enforcement and Security Services (Regulatory Affairs) website because the Department is charged by the Code of Virginia and the Virginia Administrative Code with promulgating guidance regarding several categories of private security registrants.



To begin with, you should be aware of basic VA DCJS Private Security Services terms and requirements:

  • Individuals must be Registered.
  • Instructors and Compliance Agents must be Certified.
  • Businesses must be Licensed

To become a registered Private Investigator in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a candidate must complete a compulsory Entry Level Training Course, for which there are two options:

OPTION 1: Attend a 60-hour, "02E" course of instruction, known as Private Investigator Course - Entry Level, offered by a Certified VA DCJS Private Security Services Training School.

Information about the initial requirements for becoming a VA DCJS Registered Private Investigator can be found at DCJS - Private Investigator Requirements.

Information on topics covered in the 60-hour entry level training course can be found at DCJS - Private Investigator Entry Level Training Course Topics.

A search tool for Certified Training Schools offering the Entry Level Private Investigator Course can be found at DCJS - Certified Training School Directory.

A search tool for Certified Training Schools that are PIAVA members can be found at PIAVA - Member Certified Training Schools.

OPTION 2: Request what is known as a Partial Training Exemption from VA DCJS.

This is an exemption from the standard 60-hour required training, and is based on your personal previous law enforcement and/ or private security service training and experience.

More information regarding this exemption can be found at DCJS - Partial Training Exemptions.

If your training exemption is approved, you will receive a confirmation letter from VA DCJS. However, you will have to complete six (6) hours of orientation and sixteen (16) hours of training in the law. And, depending upon your previous training and experience, additional requirements might be imposed.



After completing your Entry Level Training, you will need to submit an Initial Registration Application, which can be found at DCJS - Private Security Services Initial Registration Application Form.

You must also submit an Approved Fingerprint Card and Application Form, which can be found at DCJS - Fingerprint Processing Application Form.

The training school where you take your training should have VA DCJS compliant fingerprint cards containing the VA DCJS ORI number.



Once approved by VA DCJS as a Registered Private Investigator, you may wish to apply to carry a concealed handgun, should your duties call for it.

To do so, you must apply for and obtain a Concealed Handgun Permit from the Circuit Court of the County in which you reside, and attend an Entry Level Handgun Course (07E) taught at a Certified Training School.

More information on obtaining firearms endorsements on a Registration can be found at DCJS - Firearms Endorsements.

Upon successful completion of your firearms training, you must be provided with a Firearms Endorsement Card issued by VA DCJS PSS.



It is important to remember that only licensed Private Investigations Businesses are permitted to contract for private investigation services and conduct private investigations in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, registered Private Investigators (1) must have formal relationships with licensed Private Investigations Businesses in order to service clients, and (2) must not independently solicit business or perform investigative services.

See the DCJS - Business Website for more information about establishing a Private Investigations Business in the Commonwealth of Virginia.



The Private Investigators Association of Virginia Inc is the only organized membership group in the Commonwealth of Virginia with a singular focus on the private investigations industry.

Among the objectives of the association, PIAVA strives to maintain and improve industry standards for operators and the public good, encourage networking and opportunity for our members, and make essential and desirable benefits available to our members.

PIAVA values our members, welcomes all membership inquiries and invites you to Apply for Membership.

We hope the information we have presented has helped you to understand what is required for a start in the private investigations industry here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Feel free to Contact PIAVA for more information on these and any other Private Investigation industry topics.


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