What is a SIA licence

updated 31/10/23

So what is a SIA licence? A Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence is a requirement for anyone who works in the private security industry, such as door supervisors and CCTV operators. It’s issued by the SIA (Security Industry Authority) and ensures that all security staff are trained to a high standard and fit to carry out their duties.

Obtaining the licence is a two-part process: firstly you’ll need to undertake an accredited training course, and then apply for the SIA licence.

How to get SIA licence

Getting your SIA licence really isn’t as difficult as you may think. The main things to remember are that you must complete an accredited training course and then submit an application for the SIA licence, and make sure you have all the necessary documents ready to go.

The process starts with finding a training provider who offers courses (both online and in-person) that are accredited by the SIA. It is important to make sure that you check the credentials of your chosen provider, as not all courses will meet the required standards or be accepted by the SIA. Once you have found a suitable course, you can begin your training and work towards obtaining your licence.

Once you have completed the training, you can submit your application for the SIA licence. This will include submitting proof of identity (such as a passport or driving licence), two photos and a fee payment. Finally, once your application has been accepted by the SIA, you’ll be issued with an SIA licence that is valid for three years.

Table of Contents

This is a detailed guide from our friends over at Get Licensed.

Here is the SIA’s own Guide to completing an SIA application.

Different types of SIA licence

There are seven types of SIA licence available, each of which allows you to work in a different area of the security industry. These are:

  • Door Supervision
  • Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)
  • Close Protection
  • Security Guarding
  • Key Holding Services
  • Vehicle Immobilisation
  • non-front line licence

These licences are specific to the areas of security that they cover and allow you to legally undertake paid work in the UK. Different courses will be required for each licence, so it’s important to make sure you choose the right one for your needs.

By obtaining an SIA licence, you can feel confident that you have met all the necessary requirements and are able to work in a professional security environment. 

No matter what your background or experience is, with a bit of effort and dedication, you can join the ranks of the professionally qualified and licensed security personnel.

How much is a SIA licence

The cost of an SIA licence varies depending on the type of licence you require. For a door supervisors licence, for example, the fee is currently £184 for three years and there’s a 50% discount applied to the second and any subsequent licences. This means you’ll pay the £184 SIA licence cost for the first licence and £92 for any others after that.

It’s also important to remember that there will be additional costs associated with completing the training and taking the relevant examinations.

If you work in the private security industry, having an SIA licence is essential and can open up new opportunities for career advancement and higher salaries. It’s important to remember that the SIA are very strict about who they allow obtaining licences, so make sure you’re properly informed before beginning your journey towards getting one!

Being rejected for a licence

It is possible to be rejected for an SIA licence. The most common reasons for rejection include providing false or misleading information on the application form, a criminal conviction during the five years prior to applying, or failure to complete the relevant training course and examinations.

If you are rejected for a licence, it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the road. You can appeal the decision and provide further information or evidence to support your application if necessary.

The Criminal Record Indicator is a ‘no-cost’ way of predicting if you are likely to pass the test and the licencing teams decision before you pay for your SIA licence application, so this is a VERY IMPORTANT exercise.

Registering for a personal online account

To register for a personal online account, visit the login page on the self-service website of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and select “register for a personal account.

The registration form is free of charge and requires personal information such as name, address, email address, as well as a chosen username, password, and security question.

Upon submission, a confirmation email will be sent to the provided email address, and activation is completed by clicking on the link in the email. After logging in for the first time, the user will be prompted to confirm if they have ever held or applied for an SIA license before, which allows for relevant information to be transferred from an old account to the new online account.

Once logged in, the personal account can be used to manage activities related to licenses, including applying for licenses, checking the status of existing applications, and notifying the SIA of any changes to personal circumstances.

More information regarding the SIA’s services and guidance on the license application process can be found on their website.

How to renew SIA licence

Renewing your SIA licence is a relatively straightforward process, but it’s important to note that you’ll need to-apply for the licence as the renewal process does automatically take place.

In order to renew your SIA licence, you will need to provide proof of identity (such as a passport or driving licence), two photos and a fee payment (which varies depending on the type of licence). Once your application has been accepted by the SIA, you’ll be issued with a renewed SIA licence that is valid for three years.

It’s also important to note that you can renew your SIA licence upto 2 months before it expires, so make sure you plan ahead and apply in plenty of time.

Once your licence has been renewed, it’s important to keep it up-to-date with any changes to your personal information (such as a change of address) and to make sure that the relevant paperwork is kept safe and secure.

It is recommended that you consult your employer prior to renewing your license. Your employer might cover the cost of the application fee or even handle the renewal process for you.

How long do you have to renew your SIA licence after it expires

Your SIA licence will expire three years after it was issued, and you must renew your licence before it expires – ideally at least two months in advance. If you fail to renew your SIA licence within 3 years, you may be required to complete new training and/or undergo additional checks before being allowed to continue working in the security industry.

It’s important to note that once your licence has expired, you no longer legally work in the security industry until you have successfully renewed your SIA licence. So make sure you plan ahead and renew your licence well before it expires! Additionally, penalties may be issued if you are found working without a valid SIA licence.

How to check SIA licence status

To check the status of a license application for the Security Industry Authority (SIA), individuals can easily access their personal online account, which can be registered for free on the self-service web site.

After logging in, individuals can view any updates on their application’s status, including messages from the SIA requesting further information or notifying them of a decision. If a decision has been made, the status of the application will change to “decision made” in the table and individuals will receive a letter informing of the decision. In the event of a refusal, the SIA will provide reasons for the decision and instructions on how to appeal.

Fortunately, all this information and guidance about the license application process can be found on the SIA website.

When did the SIA licence start

The SIA (Security Industry Authority) was established in 2003 as a result of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The aim of the SIA is to regulate the private security industry and to ensure that all individuals working in it are properly trained, vetted and licensed.

Licensing has been in place since 2003, with all security personnel such as door supervisors, CCTV operators, close protection officers and key-holders now needing to be licensed in order to work legally.

Obtaining an SIA licence is a straightforward process and with the right background/ experience or qualifications, you can join the ranks of professionally qualified and licensed security personnel. So if working in private security is something that interests you, having an SIA licence could be your first step to success!

Working in the Security Industry

Working in the Security industry is hard work, Door Supervisors and security guards are on the front-line and you will almost certainly be abused or attacked by drunk/confused customers.

You have a duty of care and a responsibility for keeping everybody safe and secure, the hours are unsociable, you need to have a decent level of fitness and a positive attitude.

But the upsides of the industry balance out the negatives, during the summer months you can apply to work at festivals and events, and you will always been in work.

Get yourself the right equipment, buy boots that are sturdy and allow for standing for long periods, Get a body camera to prevent any false accusations when dealing with the public, make sure the earpiece you have is compatible with the two way radios that they are using, consider a stab vest, this will depend on where you are working and what type of venue you are working at, but they tend to be a good investment for most people working in the industry.

During cold winters, it is possible that you will be working outside, so a good Protection vest or security vest will your body keep warm, safe and keep the cold weather out, a heated jacket can also help by warming yourself during a cold shift.

Further training can lead to close protection work, working in crowd management at stadiums and events as well as possible progression to local authorities and police services, essentially it can be a doorway to a good career in a stable industry or other careers and opportunities.

Working before your licence is issued

Working in a security role that requires an SIA licence before receiving the licence (or proof of its granting) is considered an offence under the Private Security Act 2001. This rule remains in effect even during the period before you physically receive the licence.

Once your application is at the ‘Checks in Progress’ stage, you can legally work for an ACS company approved by the SIA on a Licence Dispensation Notice (LDN), which is an exception to the usual rule.

How long does SIA Licence last

Your SIA licence is valid for three years, after which you will need to apply for renewal. Generally speaking, the renewal process is fairly straightforward and can be done online via the official SIA website.

It’s important to remember that your licence cannot legally be used until it has been renewed and you receive confirmation from the SIA. So, make sure you apply for renewal in plenty of time – ideally two months before the licence expires.

Once your licence has been renewed, it’s important to keep up-to-date with any changes to your personal information (such as a change of address) and to ensure that your paperwork is kept safe and secure. Failure to renew your licence before it expires may result in additional training and/or checks being required before you can continue working in the security industry. So make sure you plan ahead and keep your SIA licence up-to-date!

Which SIA licence is best

Choosing the right SIA licence for you can be a tricky decision. The type of licence that best suits you will depend on your experience, qualifications and interests.

The Door supervisor licence is the most popular with 66.5% (SIA stats for 2022) of all licence holders having one. It allows you to work in a variety of settings, such as nightclubs, pubs and retail outlets.

The Close Protection Officer licence is ideal for those looking to work in the field of personal security and VIP protection. This type of licence requires additional qualifications beyond that of the Door Supervisor licence.

If working in CCTV operations is of interest, then the CCTV Operator licence is a good choice as it allows you to provide surveillance services in public places.

Finally, there is the Security Guard licence which covers general security operations at venues such as retail, banks and business premises.

Whichever SIA licence you decide to get, one thing’s for sure – you’ll need to put in the work and dedication to successfully complete the training and application process. Good luck on your journey!

What is a non frontline SIA licenses

There are 2 catagories of SIA licence:

A Front-line SIA licence is required for security professionals who are directly involved with the public. This includes roles such as door supervisors, guard dog handlers and close protection officers.

A Non-front line SIA licence is for those carrying out security operations in a non-public facing role. This includes company directors and security consultants.

The best SIA licence for you will depend on the nature of your job. If you are involved in public facing roles then a front line licence is required but if your role is a non-public facing one then a non-front line licence is needed.

Further Reading