Private Detective Certifications

All applications shall be returned if the required fee is not submitted with the application. 

A certified private detective may only be employed by a licensed private detective agency and may not offer private detective services outside the scope of his sponsoring agency.

Private detective services include, but are not limited to: conducting investigations, securing evidence for use before any investigating committee or board of arbitration, non-uniformed personal protection, and locating or apprehending fugitives from justice. For more information, refer to Business Occupations and Professions Title 13.​

Private Detectives working at multiple Agencies are required to have separate certifications for each Agency.  Private Detectives leaving one Agency and beginning at a new Agency must submit a Original application with the new Agency as the Sponsor. 

Where to Mail Applications


Maryland State Police
Licensing Division
1111 Reisterstown Road
Pikesville, MD 21208
Attn.: Licensing Services Section - Private Detective Unit

Who Should Apply?


Individuals desiring employment by a private detective agency to provide services as outlined above must meet the following criteria. Any individual employee of a private detective agency wishing to act as a private detective should submit an application.

The following conditions will disqualify you from becoming a private detective:

  1. Has been convicted of a violent crime (abduction, arson, burglary, escape, housebreaking, kidnapping, manslaughter, mayhem, murder, rape, robbery, sodomy, or an attempt to commit any of the above offenses, or assault with intent to commit any other offense for which the court sentenced imprisonment for more than 1 year)
  2. Has been convicted of a felony;
  3. Is a habitual drunkard;
  4. Is a fugitive from justice, which is defined as a person who has fled from a sheriff or other peace officer within this State, or who has fled from any state, territory, or the District of Columbia, or possession of the United States, to avoid prosecution for a crime of violence or to avoid giving testimony in any criminal proceeding;
  5. Is addicted to or a habitual user of narcotics, barbiturates, or amphetamines;
  6. Has been confined to a mental institution for treatment of a mental disorder or disorders, unless there is attached to the application a physician's certificate, issued within 30 days before the application, certifying that the applicant is of no danger to the applicant or others;
  7. Has falsified any information on the applicant's application; or
  8. Has been convicted of any criminal act directly related to the applicant's employment with a detective agency licensed or required to be licensed by the State Police.

How To Apply


The Private Detective Unit will only accept applications completed electronically on the PDF form(s) provided below in the Documents section for initial and renewal applications. Please answer all questions accurately, completely and honestly. Once completed, the PDF form should be printed, signed, and mailed.​

Mail the application packet to the Licensing Division at the address provided above. Allow 90 business days for the completion of the application process. 

All original applications require FBI and CJIS fingerprint submissions. Additionally, applicants must submit two photographs of applicant (2"x2" square, light background, head and shoulder full face, no hat or head  covering, no dark glasses). Renewal applications only require FBI fingerprint submissions.

How Much Does It Cost?


The fee for an initial application is $15. The fee for a renewal application is $10. Fees are not refundable. Fees must be paid by check or money order made payable to the Maryland State Police.

When Should I Renew?


Renewed private detective certifications are for a 3-year term. The private detective identification card is valid for employment only with a private detective agency listed on the application. The card remains the property of the State and shall be returned to the state within five days after it is:

  1. Voluntarily surrendered
  2. Revoked by the State Police
  3. Convicted of a prohibiting crime
  4. Death of the cardholder
  5. Terminated from the private detective agency through which the certification was obtained

Note: It is the responsibility of the employing agency to notify the Maryland State Police when the holder of the card is terminated. It is the responsibility of the terminated employee to return the Certification Card to the Maryland State Police Licensing Division upon termination. 

At least 90 days before the certification expires, the applicant shall mail the application for renewal. As a condition for certification renewal, an applicant shall submit to the Licensing Division:

  1. A properly completed renewal application; and
  2. A fee of $10 plus a copy of the LiveScan receipt showing payment for FBI fingerprint record check.
  3. Any applicable late fees
NOTE: Private Detective Certification Renewal applicants must be entitled to be certified.  If a prohibiting conviction or event has occurred, the renewal will not be granted.  The applicant is required to submit the renewal application at least 90 days before the license expiration date.  

If the application is not received at least 30 calendar days before the certification expires, the Maryland State Police SHALL assess a late fee of $5 per day, starting 30 days before the expiration of the license, until the applicaiton is RECEIVED​ by the Maryland State Police.  (Maximum late fee total is $150)

EXCEPTION:  Late fee will not be assessed if the applicant did not make timely renewal because of incapacity, hospitalization, being called to active military duty, or other hardship.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long is the process?


90 days, not to include weekends and holidays.​

Who do I make the check or money order out to?


Make all checks and money orders payable to the Maryland State Police.​

Is there an additional fee to expedite?


No, we do not expedite applications.​


Below you will find links to PDFs of relevant Maryland statutes, provided for your convenience. Please note that laws change over time. The below documents were created on August 20, 2013, and are for reference purposes only. To obtain the most recent text of any legislation, please go online to LexisNexis to access the up-to-date Maryland code.

Note:  If you are experiencing issues viewing any of the documents on our website please Click Here​.

Advisory LD-SSU  15-002 - Scope of Security Certification3.pdf
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Private Detective Certifications.pdf
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