SIA Licence: The Ultimate guide

What is a SIA licence

An SIA licence, issued by the Security Industry Authority, is a mandatory requirement for individuals working in the UK security sector. This licence serves as official evidence that the holder is a ‘fit and proper’ person, qualified and trained to meet the necessary minimum industry standards, as set by a government-approved, licence-linked training course. There are two types of SIA licences: Front Line and Non-Front Line.

SIA licence types

Front Line licences, typically issued as plastic photocards to be worn while working, further split into seven categories:

  1. Cash and Valuables in Transit Licence – For those guarding properties against damage or theft and transporting it in secure vehicles.

Table of Contents

  1. Close Protection Licence – For those tasked with protecting people from physical harm.
  2. Door Supervision Licence – For guarding licensed premises against damage, theft, unauthorised access or disorderly behaviour.
  3. Public Space Surveillance Licence – For those who monitor public spaces, premises, property or people using CCTV equipment.
  4. Security Guard Licence – For those protecting premises or properties against theft, damage, unauthorised access or disorderly behaviour.
  5. Key Holding Licence – For individuals responsible for holding keys to a property.
  6. Vehicle Immobilisation Licence (Northern Ireland only) – For those authorised to immobilise vehicles.

Each licence type requires specific training and must be applied for separately. This system ensures that all security personnel are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their duties effectively and responsibly.

Non-Front Line licences are crucial for those involved in supervising, managing, or employing individuals who conduct licensable activities as part of their job. This is also applicable if you hold the position of a director in a company or a partner in a firm where other directors, partners, or employees perform licensable activities as part of their job responsibilities.

Unlike the Front Line licences, a Non-Front Line licence is issued in the form of a letter. This letter serves as official proof that the holder, even though they may not be in direct contact with the public, is fully equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills to oversee and manage security activities responsibly and effectively. Just like Front Line licences, each Non-Front Line licence requires specific training and must be applied for separately.

SIA licence training

Before embarking on the application for a front line SIA licence, it is mandatory to undertake training for a ‘licence-linked’ qualification. This requirement guarantees that you possess the requisite skills and knowledge to hold the licence and perform your job responsibilities safely. However, it is noteworthy that this qualification is not a requirement to obtain a non-front line licence or a key holding licence.

Once you have successfully acquired the needed qualification for a front line licence, the awarding organisation will notify the SIA. This notification is a prerequisite before you can proceed to submit your licence application. Please note that without this notification, your application submission will not be possible.

If this is your first time applying for a licence, your qualification must have been received within the last 3 years. For those reapplying for a licence that was previously held, a new qualification is necessary if it has been over 3 years since your old licence was active. This helps ensure that all licensed personnel remain updated with current industry practices and regulations.

SIA licence application

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) enforces a rigorous application review process to ensure the credibility of all frontline licence applicants. This process involves a series of checks, which are universally applied across all applications. These checks are intended to ascertain the credibility of the applicant of their compliance with the fit and proper conditions to work in the security industry.

One of the key elements of the checks involves verifying the applicant’s identity. The applicant is required to provide detailed personal information that is both correct and complete. Any inaccuracies or omissions can result in significant delays in the processing of the application or even its outright rejection. Therefore, it is crucial to take care when filling out the application form.

The checks also include a criminal record assessment, a right to work verification, mental health conditions, and physical health conditions. These assessments ensure that the applicant is suitable to perform the duties associated with the SIA licence. The SIA also reserves the right to request additional information or conduct further investigations if deemed necessary.

By ensuring that you provide correct, complete, and truthful information during your SIA licence application, you contribute to a smoother and faster processing of your application. Remember, honesty is the best policy when it comes to applying for an SIA licence.

SIA licence login

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.

SIA licence requirements

In order to successfully apply for an SIA licence, there are several key requirements that must be met:

  1. Identity: Applicants must provide legitimate documents that effectively verify their identity.
  2. Address History: Complete details of all the addresses at which an applicant has resided in the last 5 years are required. This information is used in the process of identity and criminal record checks. For those living in the UK, an automatic check of the current address is conducted. If it fails to confirm residence, additional documents may be requested to prove the address.
  3. Age: All applicants must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible for an SIA licence.


  1. Qualifications: To apply for a front line licence, applicants must hold a ‘licence-linked’ qualification. However, this is not necessary for a non-front line licence or a key holding licence.
  2. Criminal Record: Applicants must pass the SIA’s criminal record checks. For those living outside the UK or having spent 6 consecutive months or more outside the UK in the last 5 years, evidence of overseas criminal record checks is required.
  3. Right to Work in the UK: In most cases, it is mandatory to have the right to work in the UK to obtain a front line or non-front line licence. All UK citizens inherently have this right. For non-UK citizens, the SIA cross-verifies this right with the Home Office records. It should be noted that if your right to work in the UK has expired or is pending, your licence application might be denied.
  4. Mental Health: Applicants are asked about any compulsory detention or compulsory measures under the Mental Health Act in the last 5 years. If an applicant has experienced such circumstances, the contact details of a treating psychiatrist, psychologist or a regular-contact GP are required. They may be asked to provide a medical report which can impact the application review.

These requirements aim to ensure that all SIA licence holders are fit and proper individuals capable of carrying out their duties responsibly and safely.

  • Other Information: The SIA also assesses any other information held about applicants. This might be sourced from our collaborative organisations such as the police, HM Revenue and Customs, other regulators, local authorities, and private security companies. It could also be derived from our own avenues, including: previous warnings issued to you, county court judgments, fixed penalty notices and penalty notices for disorder, CCTV footage, social media, news reports, reports from Crimestoppers, and reports from the general public. This comprehensive check aims to highlight: any relevant criminal activity, links to criminal activities, any anti-social behaviour, failure to comply with SIA licence-linked training, failure to comply with the Private Security Industry Act 2001, any behaviour that may tarnish the reputation of the private security industry, instances of knowingly or recklessly misleading a government body, and overall suitability to hold a licence.

SIA licence cost

As of December 2021, the fee for an SIA licence is £190, which must be paid in full upon submitting your application. If you’re applying for more than one SIA licence, you’ll receive a 50% discount on the cost of the second and any subsequent licences. That means you will pay the full SIA licence cost of £190 for the first licence and a discounted amount of £95 for any subsequent licences included in the same application.

Please note, SIA licence fees are non-refundable. Therefore, if your application is denied (for instance, due to false information provided), you will forfeit the cost. If you need to reapply following a failed application, you will need to submit a new application through your SIA account on the UK government website and again pay the necessary SIA licence fee.

SIA licence checker

Once you’ve created an account and logged in, you can conveniently check the status of your SIA licence application. Simply navigate to the ‘Application Status’ section of your personal dashboard. Here, you’ll be able to track your application’s progress in real-time, providing peace of mind as you await your licence. Remember, the SIA strives to process applications as swiftly as possible, however, the timeline may vary based on individual circumstances.