How to become a private investigator

Defining the Private Investigator Profession in France:

The profession of private investigator is strictly regulated.

Title II of Book VI of the Internal Security Code governs this profession.

Article L621-1 of the Internal Security Code describes the role:

“The profession, practiced independently, involves gathering information or intelligence for third parties, aimed at protecting their interests, often without disclosing one’s identity or the mission’s purpose.”

A private investigator conducts professional research and investigations for businesses, insurance firms, local authorities, and individual clients.

Their role includes gathering information and evidence, especially for civil and commercial cases, to advocate for their clients’ interests.

In France, this activity is related to the security sector, and private investigators play a vital role in upholding the effectiveness of defense rights.

Private investigators may specialize in specific areas (like financial, personal search, infidelity, etc.) or offer general investigative services.

Fields of Expertise for Private Investigators

Investigative services for
Business Intelligence
Commercial Investigations
Financial Probes
Family Investigations

Education and Training for Private Investigators

Required Qualifications and Diplomas to Become a Private Investigator:

  • CQP d’enquêteur salarié (baccalaureate level prerequisite);
  • Certified title of private investigator, agent de recherches privées – Head of private research and investigation operations (baccalaureate level 2 prerequisite): this certification qualifies one to manage an agency, work freelance, or as a salaried investigator. Mandatory for independent private investigators;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Law, majoring in “private investigations” from the Universities of Nîmes and Panthéon-Assas.

Learn more on our dedicated page: Studies and Training for Private Investigators

Essential Qualities for a Successful Private Investigator

24/7 Availability

Private investigators must be available around the clock, every day.

The nature of the job is urgent, and clients, whether businesses or individuals, often require immediate assistance.

Investigators must be ready to respond to assignments, with varying field time, dictated by the case’s demands.

This profession demands significant personal sacrifices, particularly in the early years. Over time, investigators can organize their schedules more efficiently, often collaborating with colleagues on a subcontracting basis.

Solid Legal Foundation

Training programs provide the legal knowledge specific to private investigation.

You’ll learn the legal boundaries of your work, assessing the viability of cases, planning resources and operational strategies.

Importantly, you’ll master report writing for court admissibility, as these reports often become crucial in legal defenses.

Quick Thinking, Composure, and Patience

Private investigators must be highly responsive, capable of swift decision-making in various situations like surveillance or adapting strategies to unexpected events.

Staying calm and analytical is crucial, especially when following a subject, ensuring discretion under unpredictable circumstances.

Patience is essential, as gathering the necessary evidence for case resolution can sometimes take extensive periods.

Proficiency in Driving and Vehicle Maneuvering

Private investigators often spend considerable time in vehicles, conducting surveillance or tailing subjects, necessitating quick and skillful driving. Specific driving courses can enhance these skills.

Tip: Being a motorcyclist is advantageous, offering increased discretion and mobility, especially in urban areas.

UXAM: A Leading Investigation Company in France.
With over thirty investigators and consultants, UXAM operates nationwide and internationally.
We continuously seek new talent across various departments.
Learn about opportunities in our network, click here

Planning Your Career as a Private Investigator

Consider your business project and desired professional status:

Managing a Private Investigation Agency

With the appropriate training, you can establish your own agency, either independently or with partners.

As a manager, you’ll have autonomy in handling your agency, selecting clients, and positioning your services.

Initial investment is required, including a reliable vehicle, smartphone, digital camera, laptop, and other investigative tools.

The Employed Private Investigator

After training, the minimum qualification available is the CQP Enquêteur, while the TITRE de Responsable d’Investigations et d’Opérations de Recherches Privées offers more opportunities.

Finding a position in an agency can be challenging due to the demanding nature of the job and complexity in managing working hours and rest periods.


Entry-level compensation for a private investigator in an agency is competitive, with potential for growth as experience is gained. Earnings may increase based on factors such as the breadth of the client base, the complexity and quantity of cases managed, and the hours dedicated to investigations.

The earnings of a private investigation agency director are closely tied to their business turnover, which can range from 50,000 to 100,000 euros annually, influenced by factors like geographical location and professional experience.

It’s notable that some agencies, particularly those with multiple offices in various cities and a well-established network of contacts and business referrals, can achieve turnovers exceeding 300,000 euros.

Uxam is engaged in the following private investigations:

Corporate Investigations

Family-Related Investigations

Financial investigation

Insurance investigation

  • Claim Verification Services
  • Claims verification
  • Insurance Fraud Investigations
  • Compensation Invoice Auditing

Civil investigations

Private Investigation Agency – N° AUT-069-2114-05-26-201504836622


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