SIA Licences – Vehicle Immobilising – Getting a licence

by SIA Site Admin // February 12

Applying for a licence

It will be illegal to work as a vehicle immobiliser (VI) from 28 February 2005 if you do not have an SIA licence. This applies to both in-house and contract staff. You can apply for a VI licence from 1 November 2004.

When you apply you will need to supply information such as your name and contact details. We will then send you a part-completed application form which you need to fill in and return to us, together with supporting documentation, for example, proof of identity, a photograph and the application fee (documentation will be returned).

Your application will be assessed against criminality, competence and other criteria and a decision made on whether to grant a licence. The SIA will write explaining its decision and, if you are successful, a licence will be issued.

Before you apply for your licence you will need to obtain the SIA recognised qualification. Training is now available, but you should allow yourself plenty of time to organise it and to get the right certificate.

To ensure you have a licence by the enforcement date of 28 February we recommend that you apply as soon as possible, and no later than 17 January 2005. This does not include the time needed for training in order to meet SIA standards.

The following gives a rough timescale for training and applying for a licence.

If you already have qualifications which make you exempt from the SIA qualifications:

  • Two-three weeks. This is to allow sufficient time for your present certificate to be replaced with the SIA approved certificate.

If you do not have any previous qualifications:

  • Minimum two weeks to book and attend your course.
  • One-three weeks after you’ve done the examinations for them to marked and certificates issuued.
  • Four-six weeks, once you have your certificate number, for your application to be processed by the SIA.

Total time:

  • Nine-fourteen weeks approximately

The licence
There are two types of licences:

  • The vehicle immobiliser licence for front line staff
  • The vehicle immobiliser licence (in the form of a letter) for non-front line staff such as managers and supervisors.

If you have a non-front line licence as a vehicle immobilisatier you do not need to get another non-front line licence if you are involved in another area of licensable activity. For instance, if you are a director of a firm supplying vehicle immobilisers but you also supply security guards, you will not need to get a second non-front line licence.

You will need to assess your duties, responsibilities and job functions to decide whether or not you need a licence. If you carry out both roles you should obtain a front line licence.

How to get a licence

If you are front line staff, you must be over 18, pass an identity and criminal record check, and have the right SIA approved qualification. If you are non-front line staff, such as a manager or director, you will need to pass a criminal record check and an identity check. You will not need to take the training. We may also need to look at other information.

There are two ways to apply for a licence:

  • By calling 08702 430 100 (lines open 8am until 6pm Mon-Fri)
  • Through our website

To request an application pack click here

We will ask for information such as name, contact details and the type of licence required. We will then put this information on an application form and send it with a copy of the completion notes to help you fill in the application. There will also be a copy of this booklet in the pack. The application form must be returned to us with the necessary supporting original documentation such as proof of identity and a countersigned photograph of yourself.

All documentation will be returned to you but do not send anything you require in the near future such as a passport.

If you are successful with your application, the licence will be granted for one year. We will contact you before the expiry date of your SIA licence to remind you that it is due for renewal.

All information supplied in connection with your licence application will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. The SIA is a data controller for the purposes of this Act. Information you supply may be shared with other government departments and law enforcement agencies but only where the law allows.

Licence holders will have their name, date of birth and licence categories published on a register, which will be made available to the public.

If your application has been refused, or granted subject to special conditions (other than those listed on page 6 which apply to everyone) or your licence has been modified or revoked, you can appeal to your local Magistrates’ Court.

Your appeal must be brought in writing within 21 days. This period starts with the date beginning the day after the 21 day special considerations period has ended. The appropriate Magistrates’ Court is the one for the petty sessions area which covers the address at which your licence is registered. Where a Magistrates’ Court makes a decision on appeal, an appeal to the Crown Court may be made by you or the SIA.

Conditions of the licence
When carrying out vehicle immobilisation duties the following conditions must be followed:

A vehicle must not be clamped / blocked / towed if:

  • a valid disabled badge is displayed on the vehicle.
  • it is a marked emergency service vehicle which is in use as such.

Any licence holder who collects a release fee must provide a receipt, which must include the following:

  • the location where the vehicle was clamped or towed.
  • their own name and signature
  • their licence number.
  • date.

You must also agree to the following conditions regarding the licence (if you are front line staff) and the SIA letter (if you are non-front line staff).

If you are front line staff you must:

  • Wear the licence where it can be seen at all times when working (unless it is in the possession of the SIA, or you have reported it lost or stolen).
  • Tell the SIA and the police immediately if the licence is lost or stolen.
  • Tell the SIA at once of any convictions, cautions and warnings or charges for relevant offences whether committed in the UK or abroad.
  • Tell the SIA of any change of name or address.
  • Produce the licence for inspection by authorised personnel if asked to do so.
  • Not deface or change the licence in any way that prevents all parts of it from being seen.
  • Not wear a defaced or altered licence.
  • Return the licence to the SIA if we ask you to do so.

If you are non-front line staff (managers and supervisors/directors and partners) you must:

  • Tell us and the police immediately if the letter is lost or stolen.
  • Tell us at once of any convictions, cautions and warnings or charges for relevant offences whether committed in the UK or abroad.
  • Tell us of any change of name or address.
  • Produce the letter for inspection by authorised personnel if asked to do so.
  • Not deface or change the letter in any way that prevents all parts of it from being seen.
  • Return the letter to the SIA if we ask you to do so.


The application form will ask about aliases. You must state if you have ever been known by a name that has not been officially changed from your name at birth. You must also let us know if you are known by any other name during working hours – such as nicknames. We do not count a maiden name (if you are a married woman) as an alias, nor a previous name if you have changed your name by Deed Poll


If you employ or supply unlicensed vehicle immobilisers or work as a licensable vehicle immobiliser without an SIA licence, or are a land occupier and allow unlicensed vehicle immobilisers to operate on your land you will be committing an offence. The penalties for committing these offences can be either;

  • Summary conviction at a Magistrates’ Court – the maximum penalty is 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000, or
  • Trial on indictment at the Crown Court, whereby an unlimited fine and/or 5 years imprisonment could be imposed.

Overseas applications

(including Northern Ireland)

This section will apply if you have lived overseas or in Northern Ireland in the last 5 years. It relates to both front line and non-front line staff. We have to apply this process because the Criminal Records Bureau does not have access to criminal records from overseas or Northern Ireland.

If you have been based for 6 continuous months or more overseas, you must produce evidence of a criminal record check covering that period from an official source which we can verify. This applies if you are a UK citizen or an overseas national. Records from Northern Ireland are not covered by the Criminal Records Bureau so you will also need to obtain evidence of a criminal record check.

For information about where you can apply for a criminal record certificate from the country concerned or from Northern Ireland, go to our website or call our helpline on 08702 430 100. If we do not have the information you need, go to the embassy or high commission of the country concerned for advice.

We will apply the same rules as those described under the section Criminal record checks. If you have spent 6 months or more serving overseas with HM Armed Forces you will need to produce evidence of a criminal record check in the same way. Details of where to apply are on our website. If we do not have the information we need, we will not be able to give you a licence. Whether you have a clean record or have committed any offences, we must be satisfied that the evidence you produce is authentic, up-to-date, complete (so it covers every area where you have lived and lists any offences on your record) and comes from a competent official source which we can confirm.

If we have no information about how records are supplied in a particular country (i.e. the country is not listed on our website or with our helpline) or we have not seen the documents before, we will need confirmation that the record comes from the right source. If that country has no central recording system, we may also need confirmation that the record covers everywhere you have lived.

To get the confirmation you need go to the embassy or high commission of the country concerned. You are strongly advised to obtain such confirmation before applying for a licence or we may not be able to agree the application. See for contact details for overseas embassies in London or phone 020 7008 1500.

If we are uncertain that any documents presented to us are authentic, further checks may be made with the help of the police, if necessary.

If your record shows convictions for activities which would not be a relevant offence in the UK, we will not take them into account when deciding whether or not to grant licence.

Any information we have about licences awarded by other countries will be placed on our website and may be obtained from our helpline. Where we do not have sufficient information, we will need confirmation from the issuing authority of the validity and conditions of the licence you hold. If we have not seen documents from that country before we will need to verify them. You are strongly advised therefore to go to the embassy or the high commission of the country concerned to have your documents verified and for confirmation that they come from the correct official source.

If your application is based on an existing non-UK licence or qualification which you hold, then you must tell the SIA of any changes in the validity or any changes in the conditions attached to the licence or qualification. You must also inform us of any disciplinary action taken or proposed to be taken against you in connection with that licence.

Already hold a licence awarded overseas?
Even if you hold a valid licence issued overseas to work in the private security industry you are breaking the law if you work as a vehicle immobiliser here without an SIA licence. But if you already hold a valid up-to-date overseas licence for which you were required to have your criminal history checked, we will take that into account if the checks match our requirements. You will in any case need a criminal record certificate from the Criminal Records Bureau for any period spent in the UK.

Training requirements
Applicants from overseas who have a relevant qualification in vehicle immobilisation may present their certificates for consideration for part accreditation. All overseas applicants will be required to undergo an assessment in English of their knowledge of relevant English legislation.

We will only accept originals of any records and documents and they must, where necessary, be translated by an accredited translation agency. A list of agencies can be found on our website or by contacting the helpline.

If things go wrong
The SIA is committed to providing a professional, responsive and flexible service to our customers but occasionally things go wrong. We welcome constructive comments and complaints as they help us to improve our service, so contact us on 08702 430 100 and we will do our best to resolve the problem.