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Private Investigator


A private investigator conducts private investigations to locate missing persons; obtain confidential information for fee, hire or reward; locate or recover lost or stolen property; and/or ascertain the causes and origin of, or responsibility for fires, libels, losses, accidents, or injuries to real or personal property.

Licensing Requirements:

An applicant must file an application for licensure with the New York State Department of State in order to become licensed as a private investigator. First-time applicants who are 25 years of age at the time of application, are a principal in the business, and have passed the private investigator examination within the last 2 years may apply for a license based on either 3 years of experience or an equivalent position and experience as indicated below. The latest information and requirements for licensure are available on the New York State Department of State website at .

Age Requirement:

Applicants must be at least 25 years of age.


Three years of full-time investigative experience such as privately employed investigator, investigator in a government investigative agency or police agency.


Three years of full-time equivalent position and experience. This experience must have been acquired in a position where the primary duties were to conduct investigations.

- or -

Three years of experience supervising and reviewing the work of at least three persons performing investigations may be substituted.

- or -

Police officers with 20 years of service, irrespective of title, and fire marshals with 20 years of service.

Examination Description:

Written (must pass written examination prior to submitting application)

Fees:(as of August 1, 2012)

  • $15 -- Written examination
  • $75 -- Division of Criminal Justice Services fingerprints fee and an applicable fingerprint vendor fee (payable to MorphoTrust USA)
  • $400 -- Individual or sole proprietor license (2-year term)
  • $500 -- Corporation, partnership, LLC, or LLP license (2-year term)

Licenses Issued and Active:

From January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, there were 1,389 licenses issued for this occupation.
As of June 29, 2012, there were 3,149 active licenses outstanding for this occupation.

Licensing Authority:

New York State Department of State
Division of Licensing Services
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 22001
Albany, New York 12201-2001
Phone: (518) 474-4429
Fax: (518) 473-6648

Standard Occupational Classification:

33-9021 - Private Detectives and Investigators
To learn more about this occupation search the Occupational Information Network (O*Net).

Additional Information:

Society of Professional Investigators
SPI c/o David Zeldin, CFE
PO Box 1128
Bellmore, New York 11710


Fees stated and other information contained in this report are subject to change. Please contact the licensing authority listed above for the most current information.

This page was last updated on 8/3/12.

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