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Private Detectives

Private Detectives

For the most up to date information on Private Detectives please visit the website of the Pennsylvania Association of Licensed Investigators.


Applicant's Instructions for a Private Detective License

Applicant must file:

Application completely filled in, including:

  • Name and Address
  • Age
  • Present and Previous Occupations
  • Citizen of the US
  • Address of Location of Principal Place of Business

Two (2) Passport-Size Pictures

Fingerprint Cards (Form SP4-124)

  • To be done by the State Police and returned to the Clerk of Courts office along with a check for $17.50 made payable to: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Two (2) acknowledged certificates that applicant has been (For a period of at least three (3) years):

  • Regularly employed as a detective;
  • Regularly employed as a detective;
  • or a member of US Government investigative service;
  • or a Sheriff;
  • or Member of PA State Police;
  • or a member of city police dept. of a rank or grade higher than patrolman

Application must be approved as to the individual by at least five (5) reputable citizens of the community where applicant resides that they have known applicant for at least five (5) years that they have read the application, and believe statements are true, that the applicant is honest, of good character, competent and not related to applicant. These statements must be signed, with the name printed and legible and they must be notarized.

Applicant must pay a $200.00 fee (if individual) or $300.00 fee (if a partnership, association or corporation) when application is filed. Make checks payable to the: Clerk of Courts (non-refundable even if applicant is rejected for whatever reason by Judge or DA). Once the application is filed in the Clerk of Courts Office, it will be posted for 10 days.

Ten (10) days after all of the above has been done, applicant must file a bond with a reputable insurance bonding company (no individual sureties will be accepted - must be an insurance company) in the amount of Ten Thousand dollars ($10,000.00). Original is to be filed with Clerk of Courts Office.

After the bond is received the Clerk will send up the application for the judge to review and if approved by the judge the Clerk of Courts office will issue a license which is good for two (2) years, an ID card and a badge. A release form will need to be signed before a badge is given out.


Instructions for Renewal of Private Detective License

A renewal of your Private Detective License must be done within 6 months from the date of expiration of a previously issued license. Upon receiving in the Clerk of Courts Office payment of fee ($200.00 if an individual and $300.00 if a partnership, association or corporation) made payable to the: Clerk of Courts, the filing of a surety bond and the filling out of a brief Renewal Form, the Clerk of Courts will reissue the license for a period of up to five years, without a mandatory waiting period, unless the clerk perceives a problem which requires submission of the renewal application to the court.

If you do not renew your license, please note every license certificate, pocket card(s) and badge(s) shall be surrendered to the court of common pleas (the Clerk of Court’s office) within seventy-two hours after its term shall have expired. Any licensee failing to comply with any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) or to undergo imprisonment for not more than (1) year, or both.