You are here: Home Tribunals Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority Applying for a Licence or Certificate of Approval Applying for a Certificate of Approval

Applying for a Certificate of Approval

Individuals now need to apply directly for a certificate of approval to work for money for a licence holder or to work as a crowd controller. Crowd controllers must have a certificate of approval even if they aren’t employed or contracted by a licence holder. You can apply for a certificate before you are employed but you will need to let the Licensing Authority know of any changes of details, for example employers.

This is different from the previous licensing scheme in which employers applied for certificates and, when an employee changed job, their certificate was transferred to their new employer.

This section covers the following:

back to top

Classes you can apply for

In your application you can apply for one or more of the following classes of work if you will be employed to do this work for a licensed person or company. Note, to work as a crowd controller you will need a certificate of approval whether you work for a licensed employer or not.

Read the definitions carefully – just because the words are not in the job title does not mean they are not doing the work.

back to top

How to apply for a certificate

You can apply to be certified either online or on paper.


The easiest, quickest, and cheapest way is to apply online. Before completing your online application you need:

  • an electronic colour photograph of your face in JPEG (.jpg) format that does not exceed 180 kilobytes in size. For more information about photographs.
  • a credit/debit card (Visa or MasterCard, not Amex) to pay the application fee. For more information about fees.

Applications for a Certificate of Approval under the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 cannot be made online, For further information click here.

Apply online for a certificate

Apply to be certified here.

Important note about applying online:  The first thing you’ll be asked is – “are you applying as a company or an individual?” If you answer “individual” then later, on another screen, you’ll be asked – “are going to work for, or be engaged on a contract by someone else in the industry?” If you reply: 

  • “Yes” then you will be applying for a certificate of approval.
  • “No” then you will be applying for an individual licence.

Paper application 

You can also apply on paper. Before completing your paper application you need:

  • a colour photograph of your face. That photograph can be:
      • in electronic format on a disk JPEG (.jpg) format that does not exceed 180 kilobytes in size.
      • a paper photo. For more information about photographs
  • a cheque for the application fee. For more information about fees.

Complete either the:

back to top

How long will it take to hear the outcome?

If there are no issues with the application (e.g. disqualification criteria don’t apply and nobody objects) you’ll hear the outcome in about eight weeks. If somebody objects or if disqualification criteria apply to you, the process will take longer.

What happens if I need to start work urgently?

You can apply for a temporary certificate of approval at the same time as you apply for the ordinary certificate. A temporary certificate allows you to start or continue working while your application is being considered. A temporary certificate will not be granted if disqualification criteria apply to you.

Please note Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Applications are not eligible for temporary certificates of approval.

A temporary certificate of approval is valid for three months and will be issued within four weeks if granted.

back to top

Application fees

All application fees include GST.

Type of licence Online application fee Postal application fee
Certificate of Approval  $170 $200
Certificate plus temporary certificate $187 $220
Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Certificate of Approval
Not available

Eligibility to hold a certificate

Bar management and staff must hold a certificate of approval if, as part of their job description, they are required to screen entry, keep order or remove people from a place.  Bar staff whose primary role is to make drinks and clear tables are not crowd control employees, even if they occasionally remove people from a premises, so do not need a certificate.

Staff working as crowd controllers must have a certificate of approval, even if their manager is not licensed.

Not every person is eligible to be certified. At a high level eligibility will be affected if any of the following disqualification criteria apply:

  • you have convictions in the last seven years for offences relating to dishonesty, violence, or drugs
  • you have had your licence or certificate cancelled or suspended in the past
  • you have been ordered to be in a hospital owing to a mental condition.

These are disqualification criteria. If any of these apply, check that you meet the eligibility criteria.

If you’re an individual applicant, go to section 62 of the Act for more information about eligibility.

Can an application still be made if one or more of those criteria apply?

An application can still be made. However, in the application, you’ll need to show why the certificate should be granted. For example, you can provide:

  • information on the circumstances of the conviction
  • evidence of character
  • other relevant information.

The Licensing Authority may still grant you a certificate, but only if satisfied that the applicant is suitable to do work in the class(es) being applied for. The Licensing Authority can put conditions on the certificate.

back to top

What happens to your certificate application? 


Step 1: You submit your application

A complete application includes:

  • a suitable colour photograph 
  • an online or paper form on which all the information has been provided in the format specified
  • the correct fee, submitted by credit/debit card if you’re applying online or by cheque if you’re applying on paper.

Your photograph

Many commercial providers take approved passport photos electronically or as prints. Such photos are suitable for your certificate of approval application.

The colour photograph, which may be electronic or printed, must be a good likeness and of good quality. It must:

  • show a full front view of your face, head, and shoulders, with your head filling most of the photograph
  • have a plain, light-coloured background (not white or dark), with no background shadow
  • show you without a head covering, hat, headband, bandanna, or scarf (except for religious or medical reasons)
  • clearly show your facial features from the bottom of your chin to the top of your forehead and both edges of your face.
  • If you submit a photo as an electronic file, it must:
      • be in JPEG (.jpg) format
      • not exceed 180 kilobytes

If you’re taking the photo yourself, you can get more details here.

back to top

Step 2: Application checked for completeness 

If your application is complete, it goes to the next step.

If your application isn’t complete, all of your application will be returned to you, including your payment.

back to top

Step 3: Information gathered on your suitability to be certified

The fee will be processed and background checks will be made. The purpose of the checks is to determine suitability to be certified. The process will include the following checks.

  • Your criminal history.
  • The Police will have a seven day opportunity to object to your being certified.
  • For a Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Application checks will be made with the relevant Authority in Australia.

back to top

Step 4: Decision made on whether to issue a certificate

Your application and the information gathered will be reviewed. That review will show either:

  • no issues with the application or
  • issues with the application.

No issues

If no issues arise from the checks and no objections are raised, a certificate will be issued.

Issues raised

There will be issues with the application if:

  • any of the disqualification criteria apply – for more information on disqualification criteria and eligibility.
  • if the Police object to your certificate application, the Licensing Authority must consider the objection. The Licensing Authority will advise you of any objections.
  • any other issues are raised by your application.

If there are issues with the application it will be referred to the Licensing Authority for decision. The Licensing Authority will make the decision by reviewing the papers or by holding a hearing.

As part of this process the Licensing Authority can ask for more information from any source. This might include you or the NZ Police or the Complaints, Investigations and Prosecutions Unit or any other person or organisation.

If the Licensing Authority decides to hold a hearing, you will be given at least 10 working days notice before you’re due to appear.

back to top

Step 5: Advising the outcome of the application

The final step is letting you know the outcome of your application.

Application is successful

If your application is successful, the Licensing Authority will issue your certificate with a new number.

Certificate of Approval - You will be informed by letter. This letter is an important document. Until you collect your certificate, it’s proof that you may legally carry out your work. Be sure to keep it safe so that you can produce it if asked.  You must pick up your certificate and your ID badge in person from the New Zealand Post Shop that you selected in the application. Take your letter, along with photo ID you selected in your application (your passport or driver’s licence or HANZ 18+ card or firearms’ licence). 

Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Certificate of Approval – You will be informed by letter.  You will receive your certificate in the post and will not to pick it up at a New Zealand Post Shop.

Application is unsuccessful

If the Licensing Authority declines your application, you will be written to with the reasons for the decision. You will be advised of your rights of appeal, including the fact that you can apply to the District Court.

back to top

Withdrawing an application

You can withdraw your application at any time during the process.

Download Withdraw an application form (PDF, 507 Kb).

Checking the progress of the application

If you’ve submitted an application, you can check its progress at any time.

Search by name or by the case number sent to you in the application confirmation email or letter.

There are 4 stages of an application.

  1. Received: Your application has been successfully submitted or received via post. In this stage we are checking the application for completeness and may still be waiting for additional information (eg, company officer forms).
  2. In progress: Information is being gathered on your suitability to be licensed or certified via the criminal history check. Objections can be made on your application during this time.
  3. Decision pending: A decision is being made on whether to issue your licence or certificate. You may be contacted for further information during this period or required to attend a hearing.
  4. Completed: You will shortly be notified of the decision. If a licence or certificate is granted your details will be added to the public register of licence and certificate holders. If your application is declined you will be advised in writing with the reason(s) why it was not granted.

Right of appeal

The applicant can appeal to the District Court if

  • if their application is refused (whether in whole or in part).
  • if an applicant is dissatisfied with a condition imposed by the Authority under section 33(7) or 53(7).

For more information on the appeals process.

back to top