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 Renewing a Private Investigation License

Remember, if you decide to employ or allow any other person to assist with investigations in the coming year, you must first obtain a firm license.

Follow these steps: 

  1. Make sure your business registration is up to date with the Tax Department. 

  2. Get the application form and fingerprint cards. Use one of these ways:

    • Download the application form and request fingerprint cards by e-mail or
    • Call (304) 558-8000 to request a renewal application packet


    The online form requires the Acrobat Reader. You can fill it out on screen, then print. If you start with 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 state police detachment or sheriff's office 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 also be completed.


  4. Get one new photograph or have one taken at the Secretary of State's Office when you submit your renewal application if you want your photo to appear on your license. Old photographs from our file will not be used. Photos must be passport size color photos taken by a photographer, preferably on a colored background, such as light blue or gray. Attach one photo to your application.


  5. Renew your surety bond and obtain a renewal certificate or continuation to submit with your application. If your surety company will not renew your bond, you must obtain a new surety bond


  6. 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. If it is not renewed after one year and you wish to do private investigations, you must register as a new applicant with the initial application. The fee for an individual license is:

    • $150 West Virginia Resident
    • $550 Non-Resident of West Virginia 

  7. Submit your application, fingerprints, current business registration from the Tax Department, surety bond or continuation certificate and fee to: 

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