Private Detective Certifications

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.​

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. 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). 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.

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

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:  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​.​

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