Can You Work While Waiting for Your SIA Licence?

Can You Work While Waiting for Your SIA Licence?


If you’ve recently completed bodyguard training or close protection training with an authorised provider like ATR, your next step to working in security is to apply for an SIA licence.

Once you submit your SIA close protection or bodyguard application, there can be several weeks before you receive your official licence. Due to some additional security qualification and criminal record checks, the wait time for an SIA licence application can be longer than anticipated. Some applications can take between 5 and 6 weeks.

If you aren’t currently employed, this might leave you wondering what to do if you are waiting for your SIA licence to be sent to you, and what you can do in the meantime. We’ve compiled a short guide to help make it easier for you.

What is the SIA (Security Industry Authority)?

Security Industry Authority (SIA)

The SIA (Security Industry Authority) is the organisation which is responsible for the regulation of the private security industry. They report directly to the Home Office. Their primary responsibility is to monitor the suitability and activities of those working in security roles, such as bodyguards, door supervisors, Close Protection Officers and surveillance operatives, among others.

The SIA are also responsible for ensuring all companies authorised to carry out SIA licence training, such as ATR, are approved and working to the correct security training standards.

How Long Does an SIA Licence Take to Come?

The expected wait time for an SIA licence to be sent is about 25 working days, but most people can expect their application back in approximately 6 weeks from submission. The SIA aims to process 80% of applications within this time frame.

To find out more about the application process, visit the SIA website.

Working in Close Protection or Security While Waiting for an SIA Licence

There are some exceptional circumstances where, if you are currently waiting for an SIA licence, you can still work.

If you receive an acknowledgement letter from the SIA that your licence is in progress, some employers will accept this as valid reasons for you to begin work. However, this is not universally accepted by every employer, as some security organisations will not allow these acknowledgement letters.

Some SIA-approved companies may consider you for work while your application is being processed, and as long as you meet all their other criteria. But in the majority of cases, you will need to wait for the full SIA licence.

Working Without an SIA Licence?

Working without a valid licence can have serious consequences. These can include:

  • Up to 6 months imprisonment
  • Fines of up to £5000
  • Disqualification from working in future security roles
  • Termination of employment

We appreciate waiting for your licence can feel like an eternity, but we advise you to exercise patience and ensure that your information is entirely accurate. As any errors or omissions can adversely affect the process, and cause it to take even longer.

If all is well with your application, you can have your full licence in just a couple of weeks.

SIA Licence Training

To apply for an SIA licence, you must complete an SIA-accredited training course in a relevant field of security. Without a valid SIA licence, you cannot legally work as a security officer.

You have the freedom of choice to decide which security training courses you attend, as long as it is a recognised qualification. These include:

However, once you have completed the training in one or more of the above courses, you must apply for an SIA licence. This confirms that you are verified and qualified to work in the industry.

SIA Licence Training from ATR

ATR provides specialist, bespoke close protection courses for those seeking new opportunities in the security and protection sectors. Whether you are looking at a fresh start in close protection or whether you have spent time serving in the military or in law enforcement, for example, our SIA-verified close protection training courses can provide you with all the relevant skills and experience you need.

View More on our SIA Licence Training

We provide unique, scenario-based training that provides you with all the practical and theoretical knowledge you need to work in security. We can also provide you with valuable situational awareness skills and techniques to help you in your career.