Detailed guide: Apply for an SIA licence

Security Industry Authority

April 8
12:44 2021

Applying for a licence does not mean you will get one. To be successful, you will need to pass all of our application checks.

But you can help your application by taking care to provide correct and complete information whenever we ask for it.

Get ready for our application checks

When we get your application for an SIA licence, we will run checks on your information. These are to confirm your identity and make sure you are suitable to hold a licence.

Before you start your application, please make sure:

  • you have all the information you need for our checks
  • you are likely to pass the checks (for example you have the right qualification)

Being prepared can save you time, and even money, during the application process. The licence fee is not refundable. This means that you will not get your money back if your application is not successful.


You will need to provide documents that prove you are who you say you are.

Address history

You need to provide details of all the addresses you have lived at during the last 5 years.

We use this information for our identity and criminal record checks.

If you live in the UK, our system will automatically check your current address. If this check does not confirm that you live at this address, we ask you to provide documents to prove that you live there.


You must be 18 or over to hold an SIA licence.


You must have a licence-linked qualification before you can apply for a front line licence.

You do not need a licence-linked qualification to get a non-front line licence or a key holding licence.

Read more about training for a licence-linked qualification.

Criminal record

You need to pass our criminal record checks.

If you live outside the UK, or you have spent 6 continuous months or more outside the UK in the last 5 years, you need to provide evidence of overseas criminal record checks.

Right to work in the UK

In most cases, you must have the right to work in the UK to get a front line or non-front line licence.

All UK citizens have the right to work in the UK. If you are not a UK citizen, we check your right to work.

You may not be able to get a licence if our check shows:

  • your right to work in the UK has run out
  • you are waiting to get the right to work in the UK

In these cases, we ask you to send us evidence of a valid right to work in the UK. If we do not get this within 21 days, we will cancel your application.

If you do not have the right to work in the UK but you are a director of a UK-registered company (or one of its parent companies), we may allow you to hold a non-front line licence.

Mental health

When you apply for an SIA licence, we ask you if you have been compulsorily detained, or subject to any compulsory measures (such as a community treatment order), under the Mental Health Act in the last 5 years.

If you answer yes to this question, we ask you to provide contact details for 1 of the following:

  • a psychiatrist or psychologist who is treating you
  • a general practitioner (GP) who is in regular contact with you and monitoring your condition

We then contact this medical professional to ask for a medical report about your condition and any treatment you are getting for it. Once we get the report, we will look at how it affects your application.

For example, the report might recommend that a medical professional reviews your condition regularly. If so, we may say that you can hold an SIA licence as long as this medical professional gives us a regular report on your condition.

Other information we look at

We also look at any other information we hold about you.

This might be information given to us by the organisations we work with, such as the police, HM Revenue and Customs, other regulators, local authorities, and private security companies.

It might be information from our own sources, such as:

  • any previous warnings we have given you
  • county court judgements
  • fixed penalty notices and penalty notices for disorder
  • CCTV footage
  • social media
  • news reports
  • reports from Crimestoppers
  • reports from members of the public

We check if this information shows:

  • any relevant criminal activity
  • any links to criminal activity
  • any anti-social behaviour
  • any failure to comply with SIA licence-linked training
  • any failure to comply with the Private Security Industry Act 2001
  • any activity that might give the private security industry a bad reputation
  • that you have knowingly or recklessly misled a government body
  • that you are not suitable to hold a licence

Check you have the right documents to prove your identity

During the application process, you need to provide documents to prove your identity.

We suggest that you check you have the right identity documents before you start your application.

You will need to give us each of the following:

Each document should be the original, physical document. We will not accept a scan or photocopy unless we have told you that we will accept a notarised copy.

If any of your documents are not in English, you must give us both:

  • the original document
  • an English-language translation from an approved translator

You need to arrange the translation of your document into English and pay any costs.

We only accept translations from the following:

Group A documents

You need to provide 1 document from group A.

We accept:

  • a passport that is signed, current, and valid
  • a driving licence photocard issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK
  • a driving licence photocard and its paper counterpart issued by the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland
  • a UK original birth certificate issued within 12 months of birth
  • a UK biometric residence permit card

Group B documents

You need to provide 2 documents from group B. Each of these documents must show your current address.

Unless we say otherwise, we will not accept 2 of the same type of document. For example, we will not accept 2 council tax statements. we will only accept 1 council tax statement and 1 document of a different type.

We will accept:

  • a bank or building society statement from the last 3 months (we will accept 2 statements, but only if they are from different banks or building societies)
  • a utility bill (for example: gas, electric, telephone, water, satellite TV or cable TV) from the last 3 months
  • a credit card statement from the last 3 months (we will accept 2 statements, but only if they are from different credit-card providers)
  • a council tax statement from the last 12 months

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