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Private Investigator License Minnesota

How to Become a Licensed Private Investigator in Minnesota

Private investigation is a dynamic profession in Minnesota, involving extensive investigative tasks to assist individuals, businesses, or government entities. A private investigator's role is crucial in uncovering vital information, tracing missing persons, and providing valuable evidence for various needs.

Licensing Requirements in Minnesota

Minnesota mandates licensing for anyone intending to work as a private investigator, also referred to locally as a private detective. Compliance with state regulations is essential to commence operations legally within the state.

Minimum Requirements

  • Age: Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Business Registration: Prospective private investigators must secure a license for themselves or their firms before offering services. This requirement extends to firms based outside Minnesota intending to operate within the state.
  • Background Checks: A comprehensive criminal background check is mandatory for all applicants.
  • Financial Responsibility: Evidence of financial responsibility must be presented as part of the licensing process.
  • Surety Bond: A $10,000 surety bond is necessary prior to submitting your application.


  • Criminal Convictions: Felony convictions disqualify applicants from obtaining a private detective license in Minnesota.
  • Dishonorable Military Discharge: This does not automatically disqualify an applicant, contrary to some jurisdictions.

Education and Experience

  • Experience: Minnesota does not insist on educational qualifications but does require substantial experience. Candidates need to have accumulated 6,000 hours of investigative work, which can be through private agencies, governmental investigative roles, or law enforcement positions.

Training Recommendations

While Minnesota does not officially endorse specific training programs for private investigators, pursuing educational courses related to law, forensic science, criminal justice, or investigation can enhance a candidate’s qualifications and preparedness for the role.

Licensing Procedure

  • Application Fees: Applicants must pay a fee when submitting their license applications — $1,000 for individuals, with higher fees for partnerships and corporate entities.
  • Documentation: Necessary documentation includes proof of work experience, a criminal history release, fingerprint cards, character references from non-relatives, and a recent photograph.
  • Renewal: License renewal requirements vary based on the number of employees. For sole proprietors, the renewal fee is set at $540.

Employment and Salary Outlook

While specific salary data for Minnesota is not provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average annual salary for private investigators was reported as $45,610 in 2015. The field is known for its competitive nature and potential for significant income variation based on experience, specialization, and client base.

  • Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services: Oversees the licensing and regulations for private detectives in the state.
  • Minnesota Association of Private Investigators & Protective Agents: Offers resources and networking opportunities for professionals in the industry.

FAQ Section

Q1: What is the first step to becoming a private investigator in Minnesota? A1: The first step is to ensure you meet the minimum age requirement of 18 years and prepare to undergo a thorough background check.

Q2: Do I need a specific degree to become a private investigator in Minnesota? A2: No specific degree is required, but having a background in criminal justice or related fields can be extremely beneficial.

Q3: How much does it cost to apply for a private investigator license in Minnesota? A3: The application fee for an individual is $1,000, with varying fees for partnerships and corporations.

Q4: What kind of experience is necessary to apply for a license? A4: You need at least 6,000 hours of professional investigative experience to qualify for licensing in Minnesota.

Q5: Is ongoing education required for maintaining a private investigator license in Minnesota? A5: While ongoing education is not mandatory, staying updated with the latest in investigative techniques and law is recommended to maintain professionalism and effectiveness.

This detailed guide provides a comprehensive overview for anyone looking to navigate the requirements and successfully establish themselves as a private investigator in Minnesota.

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