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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about
Private Security

   Company/Insurance Questions
    1. What type of company licenses does the Private Security Program include?

The Private Security Program includes the following company licenses:

  • Class A – Private Investigation Company (Private Investigation services, including heir finders and unclaimed funds)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Alarms Systems, including camera/closed circuit television systems (selling, installing and monitoring)).
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Guard services, including armed and unarmed guards)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Guard dog)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Armored Car or Courier Service)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Locksmith services)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Electronics Access Control Device)
  • Class B – Security Contractor License (Private Security Consultant)
  • Class C – Combination of Private Investigation & Security Contractor
  • Class T – Telematics Company
  • Class P – Private Business Letter of Authority
  • Class X – Government Letter of Authority
  • Class F   Level III and Level IV Training School
  • Class O – Alarm Level One Training School

    2. How do I apply for a company license?

    3. What does the Private Security Program accept as proof of company insurance?

The Private Security Program accepts proof of company insurance on the PSP-05 (PDF) (Certificate of Liability Insurance Form).

In addition, proof of company insurance may be submitted on an Accord-25.  The Accord-25 must include the following:

  • That the insurance is applicable to the conduct for which the licensee is licensed;
  • The exclusions or endorsements specific to the activity for which the licensee is licensed, or that there are no such exclusions or endorsements; and
  • The statutory minimum coverage limits, specifically distinguishing the limits for:
    • Each occurrence of bodily injury and property damage;
    • Each occurrence of personal injury; and
    • The total aggregate amount of coverage for all occurrences.
  • The applicant or licensee must also provide the department with the insurance agent's current contact information and Texas license number.

Please be sure to include your current company license number on all proof of company insurance documents.


    4. When does a company license expire?

A company license expires every year on the last date of the expiration month. In addition, the expiration date is printed on the company license.

Note: A Branch Office license expires on the same date as the Parent Company license.


    5. Where can I check the status of my company application?

You can check the status of a company application by searching Companies in Texas Online Private Security (TOPS). This information is updated in real-time.


    6. When can I renew my company license online?

You can renew a company license sixty (60) days before the expiration date, and up to one (1) year after the expiration (late fees will be applied, if company license is expired). If you are within the renewal period and experience problems, please visit our secured online Contact Center or call (512) 424-7293.


    7. My company license is under insurance suspension; can I pay my reinstatement fee online?

No, the reinstatement fee must be mailed to the appropriate address. See PSP-24 (PDF) (Application for Reinstatement of Company License).


    8. Can I make a payment for my company renewal if my company insurance is expired and the system displays insurance suspension?

Yes, you can make payment for your company renewal. However, the renewal will not be processed until your company is reflecting current insurance in our database.


    9. Do I need to use a special format when entering the company license number online?

Yes, please use a capital letter such as A and do not include a space between the letter and number (a 00101 instead use A00101). In addition, do not use any special charters such as a dash, a comma or any others when entering the company license number (A-00101or A,00101 instead use A00101). Do not enter any other information in the company license field (NONE or NA, instead leave the field blank).


    10. How do I check the status of my company license renewal?

You can check the status of a company renewal by searching Texas Online Private Security (TOPS). This information is updated in real-time.


    11. How do I renew a branch office?

You may renew a branch office license at Texas Online Private Security (TOPS).


   Eligibility/Compliance Questions
    1. What are the qualifications for a license/registration with regard to criminal history?

Applicants are encouraged to review the eligibility criteria in Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1702 of the Private Security Act and Board Administrative Rules. These publications are on this website in the Statutes and Rules section.


    2. Will I be notified if I am disqualified due to my background check?

Yes, a detailed letter will be sent to the applicant listing the reason(s) for denial. In addition, the employing company will receive a notification letter concerning the disqualified applicant. The letter sent to the company will not include any specific criminal history information.


    3. Do I need to submit court documents if I have ever been arrested for a felony, Class A or Class B misdemeanor, when applying for an original individual registration?

Yes, we will need such documents in order to verify the disposition of the case.


    4. How will I know my license has been reinstated?

A letter of reinstatement will be sent to you and your employer.

You can also check the status of an individual registration by searching Texas Online Private Security (TOPS). This information is updated in real-time.


   Fingerprint/Crime Records Questions
    1. Do I qualify for the alternative fingerprint process?

To accommodate those registrants who may perform regulated services remotely, while outside of the state, the department will provide the alternate fingerprint process for the following applicants residing outside of Texas: Alarm Monitor, Alarm Salesperson, Security Salesperson, Private Investigator, Owner, Officer, Partner, Shareholder, Supervisor, and Manager.

Applicants for all other registration types must submit fingerprints electronically through the Fingerprinting Services.

Applicants who qualify for the alternate fingerprint process must first submit an application.  After the application has been submitted, please contact RSD by phone at 512-424-7293 or by email to request a fingerprint packet. Once the application has been validated, the fingerprint packet along with detailed instructions will only be mailed to applicants who meet the criteria for the alternate fingerprint process.

Any applicant who resides in Texas must submit fingerprints electronically though the Fingerprinting Services.

Note: Rolled ink fingerprints may only be taken at a law enforcement agency by an employee of that agency. The fee for this service will vary by law enforcement agency. The fee must be paid to the law enforcement agency. Processing ink-rolled fingerprints will require additional review and handling.


    2. How do I schedule an appointment for electronic fingerprinting?

Information relating to electronic fingerprints may be found on this website at Fingerprinting Instructions.


    3. What do I do if an electronic fingerprinting appointment cannot be scheduled within three business days?

Please contact Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) for assistance.


    4. How do I challenge the criminal history record contained in a Texas Record?

Please visit Criminal History Error Resolution for the procedures to challenge the criminal history record contained in a Texas Record.


    5. How do I challenge the criminal history record contained in an FBI Record?

Please visit Challenge of a Criminal Record for the procedures to challenge the criminal history record contained in an FBI Record.


    Individual Registration Questions
   1. Am I eligible to work?

Pursuant to Texas Occupations Code §1702.230: If 48 hours have passed since the submission of a substantially complete application in accordance with Texas Administrative Code §35.21 (including fees and electronic fingerprints), and the employee status appears as 'Not Registered or Incomplete Application' or does not appear in the online search, the applicant may be employed in an unarmed capacity if the employer conducts a background check on the applicant including a review of the DPS Criminal History and Sex Offender databases and confirmation that the applicant is not ineligible for registration. The employer must maintain a record of the background check.

Per Administrative Rule §35.3 (effective Sept. 15, 2016): In cases in where the employee does appear in the online search with a status of 'Registered or Substantially Complete Application' within 48 hours, employment in an unarmed capacity is permitted following a background check on the applicant. A commercially available criminal history background check (as an alternative to the DPS database) is acceptable in this case.

Again, if DPS has not provided the notice within 48 hours, the background check must include a review of the DPS Criminal History database. If notice has been provided prior to 48 hours, the criminal history background check can be conducted through a commercially available database. In either case the DPS Sex Offender Registry must be reviewed.

Commissioned security and personal protection officers: Please note that the above provisions do not allow for employment in an armed capacity prior to licensure.


    2. How do I apply for an original registration?

Apply at Texas Online Private Security (TOPS)

The application must include:

  • All original Private Security applicants are required to submit fingerprints to DPS through the Fingerprinting Services as part of the complete application. Private Security applicants must submit fingerprints electronically, unless the applicant qualifies for alternative fingerprint process. Please see Instructions for scheduling a fingerprint appointment. If an electronic fingerprinting appointment cannot be scheduled within three business days, DPS can be contacted at Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST)
  • A copy of the applicant's training certificate:
    • Level II certificate of completion (Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Security Officer Applicants); or
    • Level III certificate of completion (Commissioned Security Officer Applicants);
  • If you do not hold a Texas ID card or Texas Driver License, a copy of your out-of-state ID card, out-of-state driver license, or a copy of your military ID will be requested. You do not need to submit a copy, if you have a Texas ID card or Texas Driver License.;

Applicants who are not U.S. citizens must include a copy of their Alien Registration Card.  Non-resident aliens must also submit a copy of a current Work Authorization Card; and

Upon request of DPS, any court documents required as part of DPS's criminal history background check. The failure to comply with the request may result in the rejection of the application as incomplete.


    3. What are the requirements for submitting a Personal Protection Officer Application?

Apply at Texas Online Private Security (TOPS)

The application must include:

  • All Original Private Security applicants are required to submit fingerprints to DPS through the Fingerprinting Services as part of the complete application. Private Security applicants must submit fingerprints electronically, unless the applicant qualifies for alternative fingerprint process. Instructions for scheduling a fingerprint appointment can be found here. Applicants not currently registered with the private security program will need to submit the $25 FBI fee.
  • A copy of the applicant's Level IV Training Certificate of Completion
  • Submit proof of completion of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test or equivalent (proof of completion of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test shall be on the form of the board approved Declaration of Psychological and Emotional Health and shall be signed by a licensed psychologist).
  • If you do not hold a Texas ID card or Texas Driver License, please submit a copy of your out-of-state ID card, out-of-state driver license, or a copy of your military ID. You do not need to submit a copy, if you have a Texas ID card or Texas Driver License.

Applicants who are not U.S. citizens shall include a copy of their alien registration card. Non-resident aliens must also submit a copy of a current work-authorization card; and

Upon request of DPS, any court documents required as part of DPS's criminal history background check. The failure to comply with the request may result in the rejection of the application as incomplete.


    4. When does my individual registration (pocket card) expire?

An Individual registration expires every two (2) years from the date of issuance. A Personal Protection Officer registration expires on the same date as a Commissioned Security Officer registration. In addition, the expiration date is printed on your pocket card.


    5. How do I renew my individual registration (pocket card)?

Renew online at Texas Online Private Security (TOPS)

You can renew a registration online sixty (60) days before the expiration date, and up to one (1) year after expiration (late fees will be applied if registration is expired). You can renew a registration by mail ninety (90) days before the expiration date. If you are within the renewal period and experience problems renewing online, please visit our secured online Contact Center or call (512) 424-7293.


    6. When renewing my registration online, do I need to use a special format when entering the company license number?

Yes, when entering a company license number, please use a capital letter such as A and do not include a space between the letter and number (a 00101 instead use A00101). If renewing to a branch office, the branch office designation is not required when renewing an individual registration (A00101A, instead use A00101). In addition, do not use any special characters such as a dash, a comma or any others when entering the company license number (A-00101or A,00101 instead use A00101). Do not enter any other information in the company license field (NONE or NA, instead leave the field blank).


    7. I have multiple registrations that are renewable. Can I select which registration I renew online?

Yes. After signing in to TOPS, select the RENEW button and you will be presented with the list to choose which registration(s) to renew.


    8. How do I renew a registration that has expired?

You may renew online if the registration has been expired for less than one year. If the individual has changed employers, once renewal is complete, the individual must submit an employee information update application.

If the registration has been expired for more than one year, the individual must submit an original application.


    9. Currently, I hold a registration that has not expired and I am seeking other employment. Do I need to complete an original application for the same license registration type? (i.e. current registration locksmith and applied as a locksmith for a different private security licensed company)

No, the license registration (pocket card) initially issued to you is a transferable card. Sign in to TOPS to submit an employee information update application.


    10. I renewed online and have printed my receipt. Do I need to submit any documents?

Yes, if a commissioned security officer registration was renewed, please submit the required firearm proficiency certificate. For all other registration types no documents are required to be submitted. However, you should keep a copy of the renewal receipt if there are any questions related to your payment transaction. If you are employed by a new company and have renewed your registration, please Sign In to TOPS and complete an Employee Information Update application.


    11. Do I need to submit a copy of my driver license, identification card, or military ID?

If you have a Texas Driver License or a Texas ID card, you will not need to submit a copy.  If you do not hold a Texas ID card or Texas Driver License, DPS will request a copy of your out-of-state ID card, out-of-state driver license, or a copy of your military ID.


    12. Where can I check the status of an Individual application or Individual renewal?

You can check the status of an Individual application by searching Individuals in Texas Online Private Security (TOPS). This database is updated daily.


    13. When does my instructor registration expire?

An Instructor registration expires every one (1) year from date of issuance. In addition, the expiration date is printed on the pocket card.


    14. What license number do I use if I am renewing my instructor registration online?

Instructors have been issued a new license number with the implementation of TOPS. The same license number will apply to all instructor registrations, and all instructor registrations will have the expiration dates aligned.


    15. I am a Level III Firearm Instructor. Can I sign my own firearm proficiency certificate?

No. An instructor cannot certify his or her own firearm proficiency. Texas Occupations Code §1702.1675 and Texas Administrative Code §35.145 require an “actual demonstration of proficiency.” A “demonstration” requires the presence of another person, and in this case, another Level III Firearms Instructor.


   Military Fee Exemption Questions
    1.Who qualifies for the military fee exemption (SB 807)?

Active Duty Military Service Member: current full-time military service in the armed forces of the United States or active duty military service as a member of the Texas military forces, as defined by Texas Government Code §437.001, or similar military service of another state.

Military Veteran: a person who has served on active duty and who was discharged or released from active duty.

Active Military Spouse: a person who is married to an active duty military service member who holds a current license issued by another jurisdiction that has licensing requirements that are substantially equivalent to the requirements for registration in this state; or a military spouse who, within five years preceding the application date, held the license in this state.


    2. What fees are waived with the military fee exemption (SB 807)?

For qualified applicants, the application fees for individual original and renewal applications are waived.  Applicants will be responsible for the subscription fee, pocket card fee, and the FBI fee.

The military fee exemption does not include any company license fees. Please see Military Exemption Fee Schedule (pdf).


    3. How do I apply for the military fee exemption?

Submit an application through the TOPS website. As part of the application process you will be provide your military status. Supporting documents will be required to qualify for the exemption.


    4. What supporting documentation do I need to submit with my application to obtain the military fee exemption?

Active Duty Military Service Member: A copy of your active military ID card (front only) and copy of current orders.

Military Veteran: A copy of your DD-214 (Member Copy - 4).

Active Military Spouse: A copy of your active dependent military ID card (front only) and a copy of your spouse's current orders. If licensed in another jurisdiction, a copy of your out-of-state license.

Note: The following training documents must be submitted with all original applications:

  • Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Security Officer Applicants: Level II certificate of completion
  • Commissioned Security Officer Applicants: Level III certificate of completion
  • Personal Protection Officer Applicants: Level IV Training Certificate of Completion
    Proof of completion of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test or equivalent (proof of completion of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test shall be on the form of the board approved Declaration of Psychological and Emotional Health and shall be signed by a licensed psychologist).

    5. My registration expired while I was serving as an active duty military service member. Do I need to pay the late fees?

Late fees will be waived, if the individual was serving as an Active Duty Military Service Member in this state or any other state. Applicants seeking this exemption will need to submit a copy of their orders reflecting they were on active duty.


    6. I am a qualifying Active Duty Military Service Member, Military Veteran or an Active Duty Military Spouse, seeking to take the qualified manager exam. Does the military fee exemption waive the qualified manager exam fee?

Yes, if you are a qualifying Active Duty Military Service Member, Military Veteran or an Active Duty Military Spouse, the manager exam fee will be waived.


   Miscellaneous Questions
    1. Are fees submitted refundable or transferable?

No, in accordance with Texas Administrative Code §35.131, and as printed on all applications submitted to the Private Security Program, “fees submitted are non-refundable or transferable.”


    2. Can I change an application/license from one registration type to another (i.e, non-commissioned security officer to a commissioned security officer)?

No, a new application must be submitted for the new registration type, plus you must submit the appropriate fees.


    3. How do I obtain a replacement pocket card or company license?

Sign on to TOPS and request a duplicate pocket card. The pocket card will be mailed to the individual's mailing address.


    4. How do I notify DPS an individual has been terminated from my company?

To notify DPS an employee has been terminated from a company, please submit PSP-19B (PDF) (Notification of Termination for Employee Registration). However, please keep records of all terminations in your company files for inspection.

For Owners, Corporate Officers, Partners, Shareholders, Managers and Supervisors please submit PSP-19A (PDF) (Notification of Termination for Owners, Corporate, Officers, Partners, Shareholders, Managers and Supervisors)

(Note: A notification for termination states an employee was terminated by the current employer however a termination notice does not remove the individual from the company employee list.)


    5. What does Incomplete Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corp. (TG) mean and who do I need to contact to resolve this matter?

This means the applicant has been identified as being in default of a student loan guaranteed by the non-profit corporation. Education Code §57.491 prohibits a licensing agency from renewing an occupational license until the matter is resolved. Applicants must contact the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corp. at (800) 222-6297 or (512) 219-7337 to obtain a clearance letter.


    6. How do I get copies of my paperwork, certificates, files, etc?

Open Record Requests must follow the Texas Public Information Act, please refer to the following requirements and guidelines.


    7. How do I file a complaint against a regulated company or individual?

Complete the online form on our Contact US site, or complete and submit PSP-22 (PDF) (Complaint Form) and submit by using the secured online Contact Center.


   Texas Online Private Security (TOPS) Questions
    1. What is TOPS?

TOPS is the new Private Security licensing system, providing secure, web-based, online access to program services. TOPS will include a new look and interface for applicants and businesses.


    2. When will TOPS be available?

TOPS will be available by August 31 2016.


What can I do in TOPS?

    3. What applications will be submitted online?

All applications, including original, renewal and change applications for both individuals and businesses must be submitted online.


    4. Will there be assistance available?

The application will have helpful hints and text throughout. We will also have user guides on our website for submitting applications, for business paying for applications, business approval of employee affiliation and other functionality as it becomes available.


    5. What if I do not have an email address?

Free email accounts can be established at a variety of sites. We suggest searching the internet for Free Email accounts.


    6. What if I do not have an email address on file?

Go to http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/RSD/PSB/Reports/searchOptions.htm before August 1, 2016 to submit your email address.


    7. How do I submit documents electronically?

Go to our Contact Us page, choose Private Security, then choose Submit Documents and follow the instructions.


    8. What is the process for an individual applying without a company affiliation?

An individual can submit an application without specifying a company affiliation. The application will process as normal, including all background checks, required documents and training required. The individual will be in a ready status, but will not receive a pocket card until affiliated to a business.


    9. How does the employer verify employment?

Registered Owners, Managers, Shareholders will be able to log in to the system to verify employment.


    10. Can my employer pay for my registration?

Yes, you may request that your employer pay for your registration. Even if you have chosen employer pay, until the point that payment occurs, you will also have the option to pay for your own registration.


    11. I am an employer, how do I pay for an employee’s registration?

Registered Owners, Managers, Shareholders will be able to log in to the system and will see the employee requests for company payment. You will then be able to choose to pay, or return that to the employee for payment.


    12. Is bulk payment an option?

Yes, all businesses in good standing will be able to utilize bulk payment.


TOPS Program Updates

    13. Will applications be taken by mail?

Individuals who desire to submit a paper application. Please note it may take 4-8 weeks* to process a manual paper application. The PS program highly recommends all applications be submitted online. Benefits to online applications include: reduced processing time, live notifications, and payment via credit/debit card versus mailing a check. Paper applications may be requested via the contact us link.


    14. Will I need to be reprinted for background check on renewal?

DPS will use your prints on file if available, and will inform you if new prints need to be submitted.


    15. What is the cost of background check on renewal?

$25


    16. How do I receive my pocket card?

Your pocket card will be mailed to your physical address on file. You will have the ability to update/correct this address when submitting a new or renewal application.