About CAPI Licences - Operator, Master, Legislation

Quick links: Security Licences; CAPI Licences; About SLED; Application Assistant

On this page: Licensable CAPI Activities; Operator Licences; Master (business) Licences; Owner / Operator Licences ; CAPI Legislation; Transition Arrangements (for Court-issued licences)

Licensable CAPI Activities

Activities requiring a licence under the Commercial Agents & Private Inquiry Agents Act 2014 are categorised as Commercial Agent activities and Private Inquiry Agent activities.

Commercial Agent Activities

  • Debt Collection
  • Process Serving
  • Repossession of Goods

Private Inquiry Agent Activities

  • Investigation of Persons
  • Surveillance of Persons


For more information about the definition of these activities, refer to section 4 of the Commercial Agents and Private Inquiry Agents Act 2004.

Any individual or business conducting CAPI activities must hold a CAPI licence for those activities.

All licences are subject to conditions. It is the responsibility of licensees to be familiar with and comply with all conditions.

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Operator Licences

Holders of Operator licences must be employed by a Master licence holder, unless they hold an individual Master licence of their own.

Supervision Requirements for Probationary Operator Licences

A person's first Operator licence in each licensable activity subclass must be a Probationary Operator licence. A Probationary Operator licence is issued subject to a condition that the licensee may only carry out the activities authorised by the licence while under the supervision of the holder of a Master licence or the holder of an unrestricted Operator licence.

Standard Conditions for Operator Licensees

The Commercial Agents and Private Inquiry Agents Act 2004 and Commercial Agents and Private Inquiry Agents Regulation 2006 sets out specific conditions and authorities for all Operator licences granted. Each licensee is individually issued with a photo-licence card stating the activities authorised by the licence.

Once a photograph licence has been issued, a 'Notice of Authority and Conditions' is sent to the licensee by mail. This document outlines detailed information concerning the type of duties that may be performed, as well as any special and standard conditions in relation to the licence granted. The conditions include:

  • The licensee must not carry out any CAPI activity unless they do so in accordance with an Operator licence for that activity and in the course of their employment with the holder of a Master licence.
  • The Operator licence must be produced for inspection on demand by an authorised inspector or by any person with whom the licensee has dealings, when carrying out any CAPI activity.
  • The licensee must not permit any other person to use the licence.
  • The licensee must immediately (and within 7 days) after becoming aware that their licence has been lost, stolen, destroyed, defaced or mutilated, report the incident to the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on phone number 131 444 and obtain an Event Number. The licensee must, within 7 days upon reporting the incident, lodge an application to request a replacement licence. For more information refer to the Application Assistant webpage.
  • If the licence is replaced before expiry, the licensee must surrender the previous licence to the SLED (unless stolen or lost).
  • The licensee must notify the Commissioner, in writing and on the approved form, within 14 days after a change to their name, address or other registered particulars. For more information refer to the Application Assistant webpage.
  • The licensee who is carrying out CAPI activities by telephone must, on demand by the person with whom they are speaking, state their name and licence number.
  • The licensee must comply with the provisions of CAPI legislation.
  • The licensee must ensure, if the licence is kept in a licence card holder, the entire licence must be visible (there must be nothing that obscures any part of the licence from view).
  • Debt collection licence only: The holder of a licence for debt collection must produce documentary evidence of the debt on being asked by a person from whom they are requesting, demanding or collecting money due under a debt.
  • The licensee must provide evidence to the SLED of successful completion of compulsory competency units and electives, applicable to the activities authorised by the licence, within 24 months of issue of the licence. For more information refer to the Training Requirements webpage.


For more information about Operator licences, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

For more information about applying for an Operator licence, refer to the Application Assistant webpage.

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Master (business) Licences

A Master licence is required for any business that employs people to engage in CAPI activities. The Master licence authorises the licensee to carry on CAPI business activities ONLY for the activities to which the licence relates.

Master Licence Classes

  • Class 1 - Authorises the licensee to be self-employed and to carry on CAPI activities provided the licensee holds both a master and operator licence relevant to those activities. No other CAPI operators can be authorised / employed under this class.
  • Class 2 - Authorises the licensee to employ between one and 10 licensed operators to carry on CAPI activities provided the Master licence and the licensed operators hold the appropriate licence relevant to those activities.
  • Class 3 - Authorises the licensee to employ more than 10 licensed operators to carry on CAPI activities provided the Master licence and the licensed operators hold the appropriate licence relevant to those activities.

Owner / Operator Master Licence & 'Employer' Master Licence

Owner / Operator Master licence

A person (i.e. an individual) or a corporation can only apply for a Owner / Operator Master licence if the applicant holds a full and unrestricted Operator licence in the specific CAPI subclass / activity that the business will conduct. A person who does not hold a full Operator licence (in the specific CAPI subclass / activity that the business will conduct) or who holds a CAPI Probationary Operator licence can not apply.

An Owner / Operator Master licence applicant lodges one form for both the Master and Operator licence and only pays the Master licence fee (i.e. there is no fee for the Operator licence). The term of both licences will be five years.

For more information about applying for a Master licence refer to ‘Apply for a new Master (business) Licence’ on the Application Assistant webpage.

Owner / Operator Master licence using Mutual Recognition of Operator Licence

A person (i.e. an individual) applying for a Owner / Operator Master licence with a full and unrestricted, current and equivalent CAPI Operator Licence in another State, Territory or New Zealand must lodge a separate P616 Mutual Recognition form together with the Master licence form.

An Owner / Operator Master licence applicant lodges two forms but only pays the Master licence fee (i.e. there is no fee for the Operator licence). The term of both licences will be five years.

Application forms and the Schedule of Fees are located on the Application Forms webpage.

For information about Mutual Recognition legislation, refer to the Mutual Recognition webpage.

‘Employer’ Master Licence

As all new Operator licences are Probationary licences for the first 12 months, holders must be supervised by the holder of a full and unrestricted Operator licence or a Master licence (other than themselves).

A person (i.e. an individual) or a corporation applicant that is not eligible to apply for a Owner / Operator Master licence may apply for a ‘employer’ Master licence on the condition that they employ at least one full and unrestricted Operator licence holder (in the specific CAPI activity that the business will conduct).

If the applicant also applies to hold a Probationary Operator licence, their full and unrestricted Operator employee must supervise them during the Probationary period.

An ‘Employer’ Master licence applicant that also wants to hold a (Probationary) Operator licence must lodge two forms (i.e. one for the Master licence and one for the Operator licence) together and pay both the Master and Operator licence fees (note: a Probationary Operator licence term is one year).

For more information about fees, refer to the Schedule of Fees located on the Application Forms webpage.

For more information about applying for a CAPI Master licence, refer to ‘Apply for a new Master (business) Licence’ and ‘Apply for a new Operator Licence’ on the Application Assistant webpage.

Standard Conditions for Master Licensees

The Commercial Agents and Private Inquiry Agents Act 2004 and Commercial Agents and Private Inquiry Agents Regulation 2006 set out specific conditions and authorities for all Master licences granted. Each licensee is individually issued with a certificate stating the activities authorised by the licence.

  • The licensee must not employ a person to carry out any CAPI activity unless the person is the holder of an Operator licence for that activity.
  • The licensee must not carry on business in relation to any CAPI activity not authorised by the licence.
  • The master licence must be produced for inspection on demand made by an authorised inspector or by any person with whom the licensee has dealings, when carrying out any CAPI activity.
  • The licensee must not permit any other person or corporation to use the licence.
  • The licensee must immediately (and within 7 days) after becoming aware that their licence has been lost, stolen, destroyed, defaced or mutilated, report the incident to the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on phone number 131 444 and obtain an Event Number. The licensee must, within 7 days upon reporting the incident, lodge an application to request a replacement licence. For more information refer to the Application Assistant webpage.
  • If the licence is replaced before expiry, the licensee must surrender the previous licence to the SLED (unless stolen or lost).
  • The licensee must notify the Commissioner, in writing and on the approved form, within 14 days after a change to the licensee's name, address or other registered particulars. Use the P614B 'Application for CAPI Master Licence Amendment or Replacement' form and lodge it by post to SLED along with the payment of the required fee (dependent on the type of amendment being made – refer to the 'Schedule of Fees' on the Application Forms webpage for the required fee).
  • The licensee must conspicuously display a copy of the Master licence at each premises used for the purposes of conducting the CAPI activities authorised by the Master licence.
  • The licensee must not employ a 'disqualified individual' (as defined in the Act) in any capacity in the business carried on by the licensee under the licence.
  • The licensee must comply with the provisions of CAPI legislation.
  • The licensee must ensure that any advertisement or correspondence in relation to any CAPI activity carried on by the licensee contains the Master licence number.
  • The licence cannot be transferred.
  • Corporation Master licence only: If a corporation contravenes, whether by act or omission, any provision of the CAPI Act or the Regulations, each person who is a director of the corporation or who is concerned in the management of the corporation is taken to have contravened the same provision if the person knowingly authorised or permitted the contravention.
  • Debt Collection Master licence only: A licensee must not request, demand or collect from a person (the debtor) any payment for the costs or expenses incurred by the licensee in connection with the collection from the person of money due under the debt.
  • Debt Collection Master licence only: The holder of a Master licence for debt collection must produce documentary evidence of the debt, on being asked by a person from whom they are requesting, demanding or collecting money due under a debt.
  • Debt Collection Master licence only: The licensee must comply with Schedule 2 (Trust accounts, records, and receivership in relation to debt collection) as detailed in the Act.

Close Associates

A Close Associate is a person involved with a CAPI business that can significantly influence the conduct of the business due to their financial interest or power. All Close Associates of a business must be declared to the SLED. Any changes to the Close Associates of a Master licence must be disclosed within 14 days.

For full definition and more information, refer to the P613 - Close Associate Nomination Form.

When applying for a Master licence, attach to the application form a P613 - Close Associate Nomination Form for each Close Associate. Note: If applying for a Corporation Owner / Operator Master licence the sole Close Associate is disclosed on the Master licence application form so a P613 is not required for the licence applicant.

When amending (i.e. changing) the Close Associate details of a licence, a P614B 'Application for CAPI Master Licence Amendment or Replacement' Form must be submitted within 14 days of the change in licence particulars. Additionally, a P613 - Close Associate Nomination Form must also be attached for each changed Close Associate.

Application forms can be found on the Application Forms webpage.

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CAPI Legislation

Commercial Agents and Private Inquiry Agents Act 2004
(
http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/maintop/view/inforce/act+70+2004+cd+0+N)

Commercial Agents and Private Inquiry Agents Regulation 2006
(
http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/maintop/view/inforce/subordleg+212+2006+cd+0+N )

For information about Mutual Recognition legislation, refer to the Mutual Recognition webpage.

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Transition Arrangements (for Court-issued licences)

Licence under the CAPI Act 1963 current on 1 May 2006Licence equivalent under the (current) CAPI Act 2004Activities authorised under the (current) CAPI Act 2004
Commercial Agent's licenceMaster and Operator licenceCarry on a business and carry out operator activities in relation to Process Serving, Debt Collection and Repossession of Goods
Private Inquiry Agent's licenceMaster and Operator licenceCarry on a business and carry out operator activities in relation to Surveillance of Persons and Investigation of Persons
Subagent's licence for a Commercial AgentOperator licenceCarry out operator activities in relation to Process Serving, Debt Collection and Repossession of Goods.
Subagent's licence for a Private Inquiry AgentOperator licenceCarry out operator activities in relation to Surveillance of Persons and Investigation of Persons.
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