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 Applying for an Individual Security Guard License

Apply for an individual license only if you plan to provide security services on your own and under your own name.

Follow these steps: 

  1. Decide the type of business structure you plan to use to work as a licensed security guard. This step is required if you work for anyone on a contract basis rather than as an employee. If you will be a sole proprietor, you may want to wait to obtain a business license with the State Tax Department until after your security guard license is approved. If you prefer to establish a legal entity, such as a corporation or limited liability company, you should at least reserve your name before you apply for a license, to make sure the name on your license application and the name under which you do business are the same.
  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. 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 the 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 be signed.

  4. Get the two required photographs which where 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 your application.

  5. 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 you, the applicant, as principal. Take the surety bond form and instructions (included in the application) to the agent representing that company. Your signature as principal must be notarized. The agent's signature must be notarized, and a power of attorney must be attached.

  6. Provide a blank character reference letter form (included in the application) to five reputable citizens who have known you for five years and who are not related to you by blood or marriage. Ask them to complete and sign the reference and return it to you. DO NOT mail or deliver your application until you have five completed references.

  7. Provide copies of the documentation proving that you have 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.


  8. Pay the fee. A $50 non-refundable processing fee is included in the fee. If your license is denied, the remainder will be refunded. The license is for one year.

    • $150 West Virginia Resident
    • $550 Non-Resident of West Virginia
  9. Submit your application, photographs, fingerprints, references, surety bond, documentation of qualifications, and fee to: 

              Licensing Division
              Secretary of State
              Bldg. 1, Suite 157-K
              1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
              Charleston WV 25305

  10. If your license is approved, complete your business registration. (See step 1)