What is the Close Protection Licence?
The Close Protection Licence enables you to work in the private security industry as a bodyguard or close protection operative. The licence is issued by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and is valid for 3 years. Holders of the Close Protection Licence will be expected to handle high pressure situations and the threat of assault, while providing security for important individuals, including celebrities, politicians and sports stars.
To be eligible for an SIA Close Protection Licence, you must be 18 years of age, have the right to work in the UK and have passed identity and criminal checks. Moreover, you will need to be a Certified First Aider (First Aid at Work), have successfully completed the required training course and obtained the linked qualification: Level 3 Certificate for Working as a Close Protection Operative within the Private Security Industry.
How to apply for the SIA Close Protection Licence
Getting your SIA Close Protection Licence may seem complicated, but it’s actually quite simple! All you need to do is follow these easy steps:
Pass the Level 3 Close Protection Course
The Close Protection Course usually takes 16 days to complete. The training course is assessed by multiple choice exams and practical assessments including live drills.
Apply for SIA Licence online
The cost of starting a licence application is a non-refundable £220. The SIA will get back to you within 25 working days. In rare cases where extra security checks are required, it may take up to 6 weeks. Note, if you are already an SIA Licence Holder, you will be eligible for a 50% discount.
Complete identity checks at Post Office
You will need to verify your identity to satisfy parts of your SIA application, namely your photo ID. The easiest way to do this is at the Post Office. You can also have someone with a British passport, who is not related to you, to sign the back of your photo ID.
Submit application and wait for the SIA to complete identity and criminal background checks
The SIA will verify your identity and run a background check on your criminal record. If you have lived abroad for 6 months or more, you may be required to provide some supporting evidence. Please note, if you have spent 6 continuous months outside the UK in the last 5 years, you will need to supply evidence of a criminal record check. However, if you were serving in the military during this period, parts of your military record covering the stated period will be required instead.
Receive your 3-year licence in the post
You are finally licensed! Your SIA Close Protection Licence is valid for 3 years.
For further information about how the application process works, follow our detailed guide SIA Licence Application Process.
Close Protection Licence Training Course
To apply for the SIA Close Protection License, you must show evidence of having completed the Close Protection Training Course. This is usually in the form of the following qualification: Level 3 Certificate for Working as a Close Protection Operative within the Private Security Industry.
To obtain the qualification, you will need to attend the Close Protection training course and pass the multiple-choice assessments. The modules include:
- Working in the Private Security Industry
- Working as a Close Protection Operative
- Conflict Management
Additionally, there are other optional training courses offered by training providers. These include:
- Evasive Driving and/or Convoy Driving
- Introduction to Short Firearms
- Close Combat Training
- Anti Ambush Training
For further information about how to apply, refer to our guide on the SIA Licence Application Process.
SIA Close Protection Licence Cost
The SIA Close Protection Licence lasts for 3 years and costs a non-refundable fee of £220.
You might be eligible for a 50% discount
If you currently hold an SIA Licence, you will receive a 50% discount on your application fee for the second licence. For further information, see the SIA's Licensing DiscountClaim back taxIf you are paying for your own licence, you can claim tax relief (around £44 at the basic rate).
SIA Licence Renewal
To renew your licence, you will need to return to the SIA website and re-apply for your licence. There are no refresher requirements for this licence, meaning you will not need to complete fresh training to apply.
You can begin your licence renewal application 4 months before your current licence is due to expire. Your new licence will only commence after your current licence has expired.
SIA Licence Integration
In some cases, the SIA allows the individuals who meet licensing criteria for one licensable activity to carry out other related licensable activities. For example, individuals who hold the Close Protection Licence can work as Door Supervisors or Security Guards. For further information, see the SIA's Website on Licensing Integration.