Thank you for your interest in becoming a Private Investigator. Below is information and links to help you read about the process to become a legally registered Private Investigator in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Department of Criminal Justice Services, Division of Law Enforcement and Security Services (Regulatory Affairs), is charged by the Code of Virginia and the Virginia Administrative Code with promulgating guidance regarding several categories of private security registrants. Here is their website:
To begin, in Virginia it is important to understand the following terms: Individuals are "Registered," Instructors and Compliance Agents are "Certified," and Businesses are "Licensed." To become a Registered Private Investigator in Virginia, you must complete a compulsory Entry Level Training Course. To do so, you have two choices:
1) The first option is to attend a 60-hour, "02E" course of instruction (Private Investigator Course - Entry Level), from a Certified DCJS Private Security Services Training School. The following linked webpage provides information as to the initial requirements that must be met to become a Registered Private Investigator in Virginia:
The following linked webpage also provides information on what information is to be covered in the 60-hour entry level training course:
The following linked webpage will allow you to search for Certified Training Schools that offer the Entry Level Private Investigator Course:
You may also search search for a list of Certified Training Schools who are members of PIAVA, on the following webpage:
2) The second option to become Registered Private Investigator in Virginia is to request what is know as a "Partial Training Exemption" from DCJS. This is an exemption from the standard 60-hour required training, and is based on your personal previous law enforcement or private security service training and experience. The following linked webpage has more information regarding this exemption:
If your training exemption is approved, you will receive a letter from DCJS indicating so, but you will still need to take six (6) hours of Orientation and sixteen (16) hours of training in the law. Additional training may be required based on your previous training and experience.
After completing your Entry Level Training, you will need to submit an Initial Registration Application. One can be found here:
You must also submit an Approved Fingerprint Card and Application Form. Like the one found here:
The training school where you take your training should have fingerprint cards for this purpose with the DCJS’s ORI number already on them.
Upon you have been approved by DCJS as a Registered Private Investigator, you may wish to apply to carry a concealed handgun while performing duties. If 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 by a Certified Training School. The following linked webpage has more information on obtaining firearm endorsements on a Registration:
Upon successful completion of your firearms training, you must be provided with a Firearms Endorsement Card issued by DCJS-PSS.
It is important to remember, that even though a person may be a Registered Private Investigator, with or without a Firearms Endorsement, they still may not legally solicit business or work independently as a Private Investigator. Only a PI Business can contract with a person to conduct an investigation. A Registered PI works for a PI business and is not permitted to have clients independent of a PI business.
See the DCJS Business website for more information about establishing a Private Investigation business in Virginia.