Before You Can Apply
If you haven't already done so, create a personal online account on our self-service website*. Login credentials from our old site will not work. You will need to set up a new account, with a new username and password.
You will be sent an e-mail with an activation link after you register. You must click on this link to complete the registration process. If you have held an SIA licence before, your account will be matched with existing information that we hold on you.
Registering for a personal online account (video)
* We will accept paper applications in exceptional circumstances and on a case-by-case basis. If you believe this applies to you, you should contact us to explain why you are unable to apply online. We will respond to let you know whether we will accept a paper application from you.
Stages of an Application
Fill in your application. You will be asked for certain personal information - for example, where you have lived within the last 5 years. You don't have to do this all in one go: you can do this over the course of several visits to our site if you need to.
You can only make changes to your application while it is in the draft stage.
If you have started an application, but not submitted it, it will be saved as a draft and shown as 'Draft' in the Application Status Checker.
Completing an application (video)
Once you submit your application you will not be able to change it, so please make sure that the information you give us is complete and accurate.
After you make your application you can check its progress at any time via your online SIA account. If you click on the 'My Applications' tab in your account, this opens the Application Status Checker. This shows the progress of your application in a simple visual way.
3. Next Steps
Once you have submitted your application, your status will change to 'Next Steps'. You will get a message in your online account headed "Action required: Instructions to complete your SIA application". This message will also be emailed to you. We call this the 'Next Steps' letter.
See an example of a 'Next Steps' message
This will tell you exactly what we need from you to continue with your application. Please read it carefully and make sure you understand what we require from you. This could include going to the post office to pay the licence fee and have your identity documents checked, or sending physical documents to us for verification.
We cannot process your application until you have followed all the instructions in your Next Steps letter.
4. Checks in Progress
Once you have provided everything that we've asked for in the 'Next Steps' stage, you will get a message in your online account headed "Your application is complete and will now be processed". This message will also be emailed to you. Your status will now be shown as 'Checks in Progress'; this is the stage at which we start to process your application.
We check your criminal record, right to work and photographs, amongst other things. In some cases we will ask you to send further documents related to these checks. These will show in your online account as 'further information requests'.
How long will it take?
We aim to reach a decision on a minimum of 80% of applications within 25 working days. This includes renewal applications and it starts at the point that you enter the 'checks in progress' stage.
Some applications will take longer to complete. Some examples are those that require additional checks for criminality or right to work in the UK.
Responding quickly to any requests from us for further information will speed up the processing of your application.
Read more about this
5. Decision Made
Once we have made all our checks and reached a decision, you will get a decision notification in your online account and via email. If you are successful, you will appear on the register of licence holders, and receive a physical licence shortly afterwards.
If we decide that it necessary to refuse your licence application we will write to you to explain why; you will then have 21 days from the date on our decision letter to provide a response. You can respond through your personal online account (using the 'Contact the SIA' form) or by post. If we do not receive a response from you within the 21 days the decision to refuse you a licence will automatically take effect.