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.
The SIA Security Guard Licence costs a non-refundable £220. This is paid directly to SIA, who are the licensing authority for the security industry. Please see the following answers if you are self-employed or currently hold a separate SIA Licence.
If you are self-employed and have paid for your own licence fee, you can claim back £44 (calculated for basic rate taxpayers).
If you currently hold an SIA licence in a separate category and are obtaining an additional licence in another, you are eligible for a 50% discount. For example, if you hold a Door Supervisor Licence and are obtaining a Close Protection Licence, you will only pay £110, instead of £220.
Your SIA Close Protection Licence is valid for 3 years. Once it expires, you will need to reapply. You can start this process 4 months before it is due to expire. This will not affect the duration of your current licence or your new licence. The cost is the same as for a new licence: a non-refundable £220. There are currently no refresher courses required.
To be eligible for an SIA Close Protection Licence, you must first be over 18 years of age, be allowed to live and work in the UK and have passed the necessary criminal checks. Next, you will need to be a Certified First Aider (FAW). This is often covered by your Training Provider. Finally, you will need to have successfully completed and passed the Close Protection Training Course, which will provide you with a Level 3 Certificate for Working as a Close Protection Operative within the Private Security Industry.
The Close Protection Training Course takes you through topics that are essential to providing security for individuals and handling high-stress situations. It runs over 16 days some of the additional areas covered include Evasive Driving, Short Firearms and Close Combat. The training course and the attached qualification (Level 3 Certificate for Working as a Close Protection Operative within the Private Security Industry) is required in order to apply for the SIA Close Protection Licence.
The SIA checks the criminal background of applicants through a DBS check, as well as verifying their identity.
Having a criminal record does not necessarily prevent you from obtaining an SIA Licence. However, this will depend on the type of offence. It is best to contact the SIA directly if you are considering applying for a licence. It is also worth noting that a criminal record could cause the SIA to take longer to process your application as they would need to run extra checks.
If you spent at least 6 continuous months within the last 5 years, then you will need to produce some supporting evidence regarding your Criminal Record for your SIA application. For example, you will need to provide some evidence of a criminal check which covers this period. However, if you were serving in the military during this period, then an extract of your military record (which covers the mentioned period) will be enough.
The SIA states that it takes 25 working days to process a licence application. In rare cases where there may be issues with identity checks or there are some questions about criminal records, it could take up to 6 weeks.
With the SIA Close Protection Licence, you can work as a Close Protection Officer, or bodyguard and provide security for important individuals like celebrities or businessmen. Using your licence, you are also able to perform many other roles in the security industry, as the skills are transferable and the SIA permits this type of Licence Integration (please see below).
Licence Integration is where one licence can be used in another related area. For example, a Close Protection Licence can used where a Door Supervisor Licence is required. This depends on the licensable activity being carried out and the licence held.
It is a criminal offence on both your part and the employers to work in the private security industry without an SIA Licence unless your employer has been give the necessary exemptions under Section 4(4) of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.