Private Detective Agencies

A private detective agency license is required to:

  • Conduct business that provides private detective services for compensation
  • Maintain an office for that business
  • Employ individuals as private detectives
  • Represent to the public as a private detective 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​.

Where to Mail Applications


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

Who Should Apply?


A person who conducts a business that provides private detective services must be licensed by the Maryland Department of State Police. Unless otherwise provided, a person must be licensed by the Maryland State Police as a private detective agency before the person may conduct a business that provides private detective services in the State and/or employ certified private detectives.

An applicant may be either an individual or a firm. An individual shall be of good character and reputation. If the applicant is a firm, each firm member shall be of good character and reputation. The individual or firm representative shall be at least 25 years old. All applicants shall meet the required experience outlined below:

  1. At least 5 years of experience as a full-time certified or licensed private detective; OR
  2. At least:
    1. 5 years of experience as a full-time police officer with an organized police agency; and
    2. completed successfully a police officer training course that is recognized and approved by the Maryland Police Training Commission; OR
  3. At least 3 years of experience in an investigative capacity as a detective while serving as a police officer with an organized police agency; OR
  4. At least:
    1. 3 years of experience in an investigative capacity in any unit of the United States, of the State, or of a county or municipal corporation of the State for the purpose of law enforcement; and
    2. completed successfully the police officer training required by the Maryland Police Training Commission; OR
  5. At least:
    1. 5 years of experience as a full-time fire investigator for a fire department or law enforcement agency of the State or of a county or municipal corporation of the State; and
    2. completed successfully the training certified by the Maryland Police Training Commission or the Maryland Fire-Rescue Education and Training Commission.

How To Apply


The Private Detective Unit will only accept applications completed electronically.  Please click HERE​​​ to access the Private Detective Agency application. Make sure all questions are answered 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. If the Licensing Division does not receive the renewal application, satisfactorily completed, by the expiration date, the applicant must begin as a new applicant and complete all requirements necessary for an initial application.

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, no dark glasses). They must also submit two tax forms and the Article of Corporation.

How Much Does It Cost?


The fee for an initial application is $200 for an individual (unincorporated) and $375 for a firm (incorporated). The fee for a renewal application is $200 for an individual and $400 for a firm. Additional fees and fines may apply; see the Fee Schedule​ for more information. Fees must be paid by check or money order made payable to the Maryland State Police.

When Should I Renew?


A Private Detective Agency License expires two (2) years after its date of issuance and upon the date the Secretary of State Police sets. Licenses are staggered resulting in expiration in either January or July depending on the date of initial application. The license may be renewed for an additional 2-year term.

The Licensing Division will mail to the licensee a renewal notice at least one month prior to expiration. The renewal notice will include:

  1. A renewal application form; and
  2. A notice that states:
    1. the date on which the current license expires;
    2. that the Secretary must receive the renewal application and the statements required under § 13-309 of this subtitle, at least 15 days before the license expiration date, for the renewal to be issued and mailed before the license expires;
    3. the amount of the renewal fee;
    4. that, if the statements required under § 13-309 of this subtitle are not received at least 15 days before the license expiration date, a fee of $10 per day shall be charged against the licensee until the statements are received; and
    5. that the submission of a false statement in the renewal application or in the annual statements is cause for revocation of the license.

The renewal application must be received by the Maryland State Police at least 15 days prior to the expiration date.

Note: it is the responsibility of the employing agency to notify the Maryland State Police when the holder of a private detective identification card is terminated.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to submit the license?

 

For the private detective agency application, make sure you are submitting the following: two (2) passport size photos, all applicable fees, the application itself, two (2) tax forms, and articles of corporation. All of these can be found under Documents.​

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.​

What qualifies as an organized police agency?

 

An organized police agency is considered a police department of the State or of a county or municipal corporation of the State; a private police department that is allowed to enroll its officers in approved Maryland Police Training Commission schools and academies; or a law enforcement agency of the United States, of any state, or of any county or municipal corporation of any state.​

Do I need a different license if I have more than one office?

 

No. The MSP will issue one agency license that lists the primary office and each branch office, and each branch office will be issued a certificate.​

Can anyone submit an application as a firm?

 

If the applicant is a firm, the firm shall appoint a firm member of good moral character and reputation as the representative member to make the application on behalf of the firm. That person must be at least 25 years of age.​

Statutes

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 June 12, 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:  In order to view documents that are PDFs please utilize Internet Explorer or disable the PDF Viewer in Google Chrome.  Instructions for disabling the PDF Viewer can be found HERE​.​

  
  
  
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