Key holding licence

Home Office Building - London - by .Martin. via Flickr

Key holding licence



You must obtain a key holding licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA) if you work or supply operatives under a contract for services, when keeping custody of, or controlling access to, any key or similar device for operating (whether mechanically, electronically or otherwise) any lock.

This does not apply to:

  • activities of a person who holds a key or other device for obtaining access to premises for purposes incidental to the provision of the manned guarding activities in relation to those premises, or an individual present on those premises, or any services that do not consist or include the carrying out of any manned guarding activities
  • activities carried out incidentally to the provision of services in connection with the sale of premises or other property to which the key or similar device gives access

A key holding licence is required only if your services are supplied for the purposes of or in connection with any contract to a consumer.

The key holding licence is a letter which must be kept and (if required) produced for inspection by authorised personnel.

How to apply

In order to obtain your licence you must be at least 18 years of age, and you must pass an identity check and a criminal record check.

You can complete you SIA licence application online or through the post. You must supply the supporting relevant documentation and pay a fee.

The licence application costs £210 and is non-refundable. Granted licences last for three years. If you pay your own licence fee, you can claim tax relief – worth £49 for basic rate tax payers. If you are an employer paying an employee’s licence fee, there will be no tax or National Insurance liability. If you require more than one licence for your activities, you may be eligible for a 50 per cent discount for the second application fee.


The SIA can attach any conditions to the licence as they believe to be reasonable.

You must renew your licence before it expires to continue working. You can apply to renew your licence up to four months before the expiry of your current licence.

The SIA may authorise a person to enter your place of business or place of work (where your licensed action is undertaken) to assess your compliance with any ongoing obligations. You may also have to provide any relevant documents or information to show your compliance with any licence obligations.


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