Oct 10, 2023
Read time : 14 mins
In the United Kingdom, anyone working in specific roles within the private security industry must hold a valid Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. SIA was established to regulate and ensure the professionalism and competency of security professionals.
There are a variety of roles that require an SIA licence, including security guards, door supervisors, CCTV operators, and close protection operatives.
In this blog post, you’ll learn about types of SIA licences, eligibility requirements, required documents, and common mistakes to avoid.
Individuals or organisations must get an SIA license before engaging in specific operations within the private security sector.
Private security refers to any commercial service offered outside the government’s control. Any person employed in the private security sector who supervises doors, operates CCTV, works as a security guard, or even provides close protection is considered an operative and will need to hold an SIA licence.
SIA offers different types of licences based on an individual’s specific roles and responsibilities. Some of the common SIA licence categories include:
To be eligible for an SIA licence, applicants must meet certain criteria set by the Security Industry Authority. The general eligibility requirements include:
Below, you can find a concise step-by-step guide on how to apply for an SIA licence. These key steps ensure you are well-prepared to navigate the process and pursue your desired role in the security sector.
|Determine licence type and eligibility
|Identify the specific SIA licence category you need based on your desired role. Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, including age, right to work in the UK, and required qualifications.
|Complete approved training
|Enrol on and successfully complete the necessary training course from an approved provider. Ensure the training is relevant to your chosen licence category.
|Gather required documents
|Collect essential documents such as identification, proof of address, and training certificates. These documents will be needed to support your application.
|Submit online application
|Fill out the online application form provided on the SIA website. Provide accurate and complete information about yourself, including personal details, qualifications, and employment history.
|Undergo criminal records check
SIA runs a criminal record check to give a verdict on your suitability to work in the security industry. Follow the instructions provided to complete the check, which may include providing fingerprints.
Just so you know what to expect, you can use this online Criminal Record Indicator questionnaire to find out if you’d be able to pass criminal checks.
|Visit a Post Office
|Please bring along your SIA application reference number and the original copies of the necessary documents to your nearest Post Office branch. Find your nearest branch here. At the Post Office, they will verify your documents, take your photograph, and collect your electronic signature. They will also receive payment if required. Once everything is completed, they will send all the required materials to the SIA on your behalf.
|Await the decision and receive your licence
|Wait for SIA to process your application. Once approved, you will receive your SIA licence certificate, specifying the type of work you are permitted to undertake and its validity period.
When applying for an SIA Licence, you need to provide specific documents to support your application. The required documents fall into two categories: Group A and Group B. Here’s a breakdown of the documents you can submit for each group:
Remember, when submitting your documents to the post office, they must be original copies. The post office representative will verify your ID and give it back to you, it’s not sent to the SIA.
Ensure that you follow SIA’s instructions regarding the specific documents required and their format. Providing the correct documents will help facilitate processing your SIA Licence application and prevent delays.
Please be aware that key holding licences do not require formal education or training.
Some courses on the above list will also need Emergency First Aid at Work Training (1 Day).
Typically, the application process for an SIA licence takes around six weeks. Although SIA strives to process at least 80% of accurately completed licences within 25 working days, this timeframe may extend due to various factors. These factors include completing your application, processing time, the volume of applications received, and any additional checks required.
Unless you possess a Front Line Vehicle Immobiliser Licence, which must be renewed annually, your SIA licence will expire after 3 years. You must reapply to work lawfully when your current licence expires or is about to expire. It is crucial to maintain your SIA licence because you cannot legally work without one, which would limit your employment options.
To renew your SIA licence, you must take a refresher course. For example, if you want to renew your SIA Door Supervisor Licence, you must take an SIA Top-Up Training For Door Supervisors.
As SIA licences do not automatically renew, you must keep track of when your licence will expire. You must manually renew it if you want to keep performing the same job after your current licence expires. You may apply for an SIA Licence renewal up to four months before the expiration of your current licence., If your licence has expired, submit your renewal application as soon as possible because doing so lowers the possibility of a delay that could interfere with your capacity to work. Any remaining time on your current licence will be added to your new one, and your new licence will be valid as soon as SIA grants it.
Your SIA Licence could be withdrawn for the following reasons, among others:
If for whatever reason, SIA decides to revoke your licence, they will notify you of the decision in writing and ask for additional information in the letter. After that, you’ll have 21 days to reply to this revocation letter.
Your response to the revocation can include any inaccuracies you think they made in their evaluation. If you don’t reply within that duration, the decision to cancel your licence will go into effect immediately. You will have an additional 21 days after the licence revocation is made to use your right to appeal to a magistrate or sheriff’s court.
SIA will write to you to inform you of their decision if you submit a response.
When applying for an SIA licence, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes to ensure a smooth application process.
Be very conscious when you’re filling out the SIA application form. Always provide all the required details accurately and then double-check for any missing or incomplete sections before you submit it.
The next important thing is to ensure that you gather and submit the correct supporting documents as instructed by SIA. Otherwise, it can lead to delays or even rejection of your SIA application.
It is essential to be transparent and provide accurate information about any relevant details or criminal history. Not doing so can lead to serious consequences, and chances are that your application may be rejected.
It’s extremely important to stay informed of any updates or communications sent by SIA during the application process. Otherwise, you may face delays, misunderstandings, or missed opportunities for clarification.
Remember, by being honest and proactive in your application process and by staying responsive to communications, you can enhance your chances of a successful SIA licence application.
Regrettably, SIA Licence suspensions take effect right away. This means that even if you work for an approved contractor, you are not permitted to engage in any licensable activity if SIA has suspended your licence. SIA won’t typically suspend your licence unless it is evident that failing to act could threaten the public’s safety.
Suppose SIA decides it is essential to suspend your licence, similar to when a licence is revoked. In that case, they will send you a letter explaining their decision, which will take effect immediately. After that, you will have 21 days to use your right to appeal to a Magistrates’ Court or to inform them if their assessment contained factual mistakes.
A licence that has been suspended will remain so until the issue is rectified.
After receiving your SIA licence, the next step is to seek good employment opportunities aligned with your licence category. And for that, it’s important that you understand the scope of work your SIA licence permits. After that, consider joining professional security organisations to expand your network and access resources.
Just like any other field, it’s extremely important to continuously update your skills and stay informed about industry developments. With commitment and dedication, you can build a successful and rewarding career in the security sector.
What are the benefits of getting an SIA licence?
There are several benefits of getting an SIA licence, as you’re allowed to work legally in the private security industry. It helps you improve your professional credibility and opens up more job opportunities, and reflects your dedication to maintaining high standards of security service.
How long is an SIA licence valid?
The validity period of an SIA licence can vary based on the specific licence category. Typically, SIA licences are valid for three years.
What happens if my SIA licence expires?
If your SIA licence expires, you must renew it before continuing to work in the private security industry. Always be aware of your licence’s expiry date and initiate the renewal process in a timely manner to avoid any consequences.
Can I transfer my SIA licence to another category?
No, you cannot directly transfer an SIA licence from one category to another. If you wish to work in a different role requiring a different SIA licence category, you will need to apply for the new category separately and meet the specific eligibility requirements for that category.
This blog has equipped you with an understanding of the different SIA licence categories, eligibility requirements, required documents, and common mistakes to avoid. By following this guide, you are well-prepared to navigate the application process with confidence and ensure a smooth experience.
Here are some security courses that you can do to become eligible for an SIA licence:
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