Apply for a firm license if you plan to employ or allow anyone to perform security guard services for you. Your firm may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership or voluntary association.
1. Organize your company, or get an out-of-state company authorized by registering with the proper agency. A good standing certificate will be required with your application if the company is a corporation.
2. Get the application form and fingerprint cards. Use one of these ways:
- Download the application form and request fingerprint cards by e-mail
- Call (304) 558-8000 to request an application packet.
The online form requires the Acrobat Reader. You can fill it out on screen, then print. If you start with a printed form, please type or print in ink and make certain every entry is legible.
3. The fingerprint card must be an official West Virginia fingerprint card -- no substitutes. You will need cards for your qualifying agent, for officers, members or partners of the firm, and for each employee who will conduct security guard business under the firm's license. Taking clear fingerprints is difficult, therefore, we urge you to go to your local law enforcement detachment and have them take the prints. If you live out of state, request the card and go to your local law enforcement office for assistance. Also, be sure each card is completed fully and signed or it will come back to you and cause delays. The authorization on the back of the card must also be signed.
4. Make sure the the qualifying agent, (the person who is eligible to be licensed as a security guard and who will be responsible for the operation of the security guard operations of the firm) completes the security guard license application. [Note: It is not permissible to have a person act as qualifying agent unless that person is directly involved with and responsible for supervising the security guard operations of the firm.] Also, each officer, member or partner of a corporation, LLC, or partnership is required to submit a completed application form, including references. Documentation of qualifications are not required for anyone other than the qualifying agent.
5. Complete the firm application, including the list of employees (include only those employees who will conduct security guard operations in West Virginia). Each officer of a corporation or voluntary association, member of a limited liability company, or partner of a partnership must sign the application.
6. Get the two required photographs for each applicant, and for each officer, member or partner, taken within the last year. Have passport size color photos taken by a photographer. A colored background, such as light blue or gray, works best. Attach two photos to the application. Also, get photographs of each employee who will conduct investigations under the firm's license. Those photographs must be on file at your firm's main office throughout the year.
7. Find a surety company authorized to do business in West Virginia who will agree to issue a surety bond in the amount of $2,500 naming the firm as principal. Take the surety bond form and instructions (included in the application) to the agent representing that company. If the firm is a corporation, the president or vice-president is required to sign the bond and have that signature notarized, unless a corporate resolution authorizing someone else to sign is attached, and a corporate seal must be attached. The agent's signature must be notarized, and a power of attorney must be attached.
8. For the applicant, and for each officer, member or partner, provide a blank character reference letter form (included in the application) to five reputable citizens who have known the individual for whom the reference is given for five years and who are not related to that individual by blood or marriage. Ask each person to complete the reference and return it to you. DO NOT mail or deliver the firm application until you have five completed references for each individual.
9. For each employee who will conduct security guard business under the firm's license, obtain a fingerprint card. This must be maintained on file throughout the year in the firm's main office.
10. Provide copies of the documentation proving that each qualifying agent has met the training and/or experience requirements.
Documentation may include:
- A transcript showing successful completion of at least thirty semester hours of credit in investigative or law enforcement studies or a comparable training program; or
- A sworn statement (under penalty of false swearing) signed by one of the principals of a licensed private investigative or security guard firm which specifies the time you were employed (hours per week and number of weeks), or evidence of equivalent law enforcement employment. If all requirements are to be met by this experience, the work must include a minimum of 32 hours per week for 50 weeks; or
- A combination of transcripts and experience certified as provided above. To determine if the requirements are met, divide the number of appropriate college credits by sixty to determine the percentage of the total requirement met by education. For example, 12 credit hours / 30 hours = 40% met by education. This leaves 60% to be met by experience. Multiply the percentage to be met by experience times 50 weeks. For example 60% x 50 weeks = 30 weeks (minimum 32 hours per week) of experience.
11. Pay the fee. A $50 non-refundable processing fee is included in the fee. If the license is denied, the remainder will be refunded. The license is for one year.
- $250 West Virginia Company
- $550 Non-Resident Company
12. Submit your application, photographs, fingerprints, references, surety bond, documentation of qualifications, and fee to:
Secretary of State
Bldg. 1, Suite 157-K
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Charleston WV 25305