Fairfax, VA
president@vapisa.com

Become a Private Investigator (New)

A Virginia Private Security Association

In the state of Virginia, the overseeing agency that regulates the Private Investigator industry is the Department of Criminal Justice Servies (DCJS). We recommend that you go to their website to learn more about the agency, field, and process: https://www.dcjs.virginia.gov/

DCJS defines a Private Investigator (or PI) as “any individual who engages in the business of, or accepts employment to make, investigations to obtain information on crimes or civil wrongs; the location, disposition, or recovery of stolen property; the cause of accidents, fires, damages, or injuries to persons or to property; or evidence to be used before any court, board, officer, or investigative committee.”

Generally, anyone can become registered as a Private Investigator in Virginia as long as they are old enough, not a felon, are a US citizen, and complete all the required training (a 60 hour course over 2-3 weeks). No previous experience in law enforcement, investigation, or higher education is required to become registered. Final say on whether or not someone can complete their registration falls on the DCJS.

We have additional information and an Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, pertaining to info on firearms, how PISA can help, and related questions on this page.

Initial Registration

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Successful completion of all initial training requirements for each registration category, including a firearms endorsement if applicable.
  3. Must be United States citizen or legal resident alien of the United States.

Training Requirements

60 Hours, Consisting of:

Registration Steps

  1. Apply online at https://www.dcjs.virginia.gov/licensure-and-regulatory-affairs/online-regulatory-licensing, and pay applicable non-refundable fees.
    NOTE: A Criminal History Processing form is part of the on-line initial application. There is a separate processing fee that will be reflected on your invoice.
  2. Schedule an appointment for fingerprints.  Schedule an appointment at www.fieldprintvirginia.com or call 877-614-4364.  DCJS will automatically be notified once you have been fingerprinted.

Additional On-line Applications

  1. Those who will have access to a firearm must complete the requirements for a Firearms Endorsement. For more information: Firearms Endorsement
  2. Individuals already registered with DCJS who wish to add categories to his/her current registration must:
  • Complete the requirements for an Additional Registration Category. 
  • Successfully complete all initial training requirements for each additional registration category.
  • The Additional Registration Category list can be found at www.dcjs.virginia.gov/online.
  1. Current registered individual who have lost their registration card may apply for a replacement one at www.dcjs.virginia.gov/online, and pay the applicable replacement fee.
  2. Individuals convicted or found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor (not to include minor traffic violations) in Virginia or any other jurisdiction to include military court martial or currently under protective orders must submit a Criminal History Supplemental Form. For more information, view the Criminal History page)
  3. Certain training exemptions may be granted for required training courses. Refer to the Regulations related to the area of interest to check the eligibility for a training exemption.

NOTE:  You may be eligible to waive a portion of your entry-level training if you have completed certain private security services training or if you are a qualified law enforcement officer.

Before a registration will be issued, individuals must complete all required training for each category of their registration.

Renewal Registration

Training Requirements

8 Hours, Consisting of:

Renewal Steps

  1. Renew online at www.dcjs.virginia.gov/online, and pay applicable non-refundable fees.
  2. Complete in-service training. The school will submit a roster – please do not send your training completion form to DCIS.

Additional Applications

  1. Those who will have access to a firearm must complete the requirements for a Firearms Endorsement. This endorsement must be renewed every 12 months. For more information: Firearms Endorsement
  2. Individuals already registered with DCJS who wish to add categories to his/her current registration must:
  • Complete the requirements for an Additional Registration Category. 
  • Successfully complete all initial training requirements for each additional registration category.
  • The Additional Registration Category list can be found at www.dcjs.virginia.gov/online.
  1. Current registered individual who have lost their registration card may apply for a replacement one at www.dcjs.virginia.gov/online, and pay the applicable replacement fee.
  2. Individuals convicted or found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor (not to include minor traffic violations) in Virginia or any other jurisdiction to include military court martial or currently under protective orders must submit a Criminal History Supplemental Form. For more information, view the Criminal History page
  3. Individuals who meet limited circumstances, may apply for a renewal extension.  For more information: Extension
  4. Certain training exemptions may be granted for required training courses. Refer to the Regulations related to the area of interest to check the eligibility for a training exemption.

NOTE:  You may be eligible to waive a portion of your entry-level training if you have completed certain private security services training or if you are a qualified law enforcement officer.

Before a registration will be issued, individuals must complete all required training for each category of their registration.

Relevant Codes and Regulations in Virginia Law