Q: What is a security system?

A: "Security system" means wires, conduits, apparatus, devices, fixtures, or other appliances installed and interconnected electrically or electronically to permit access control, proprietary signaling, surveillance and the detection of burglary, intrusion, holdup, or other conditions requiring response or the transmission of signals or audible alarms. M.G.L. c. 147, §57.

Q: Who must hold an S-license?

A: Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 147, §57, any person, firm or corporation who engages in, advertises, or holds himself or itself out as being engaged in the business of installing, repairing, or offering maintenance for security systems, must be licensed by the Department.

Q: Do I need any other licenses to be eligible to receive an S-license?

A: Yes. You must have a valid electricians' license, of any class. M.G.L. c. 147, §58.

Q: What are the consequences of installing security systems without an S-license?

A: Anyone who violates the statute may be issued a fine between $200 and $1,000, imprisoned for up to one year, or both. M.G.L. c. 147, §57.

Q: How do I obtain an S-license?


1. First, please read through the License Application for S-Licenses. Then submit the following:

a. A completed "S-License Application." This is a one page form requiring general information about you and your business.

b. One legible copy of our current Massachusetts electrician's license. Note: a valid electrician's license is a prerequisite for your S-License. For information regarding obtaining an electrician's license see www.mass.gov/dpl

c. Three (3) Citizen Certifications from three (3) Massachusetts citizens, verifying your reputation. The citizens may not be related to you, must certify that you are of good moral character, and must review your application and attest to its truthfulness.

d. One legible copy of a government issued picture identification bearing your signature.

2. Complete and sign a "CORI Request Form". This form authorizes the Department to request a copy of your criminal record from the Criminal History Systems Board (CHSB). You may obtain a CORI Request Form by contacting the Department directly.

3. Include a check or money order for the non-refundable application fee of $250.00. Make the check payable to Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

4. Check to be sure your application is complete. If you are missing any of the required elements of your application, your application will be sent back to you without a license.

Q: May I have the S-License issued in the name of my company, instead of my name?

A: Yes. Please note that you would like the license issued in the name of your company on the S-License application.

Q: Where should I send my completed application?

A: Send the completed application to:

Department of Public Safety - S-License
One Ashburton Place Room 1301
Boston, MA 02108

Q: Will the Department accept credit card payment or cash for the fee?

A: No. The Department can only accept checks or money orders.

Q: May I fax my application for an S-License to the Department?

A: No. The Department requires original documents unless specifically provided otherwise.

Q: May I drop off applications or other paperwork in person?

A: Yes. However, materials that are submitted in person are not processed the same day. They are not processed any faster than materials submitted by mail. Therefore, you are advised to submit applications and other paperwork by mail.

Q: If the Department has sent back my application as incomplete, will I be able to retrieve the $250.00 I paid, or must I pay another $250.00 when I resubmit my application?

A: All fees are non-refundable. However, if your application is incomplete, the Department will notify you of what is missing, and you will have an opportunity to complete your application without an additional fee.

Q: Is the CORI request form necessary?

A: Yes. All applicants for a Security Systems Contractor license must consent to a criminal background check as a condition of licensure.

Q: How will the Department consider my CORI report?

A: There are three major categories of licensure qualification based on the information found in the CORI report: no record, discretionary disqualification, and presumptive disqualification. No record indicates that the applicant has no record of offenses, and is suitable for licensure as far as the CORI requirement. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 147, §59, persons convicted of a felony, wiretapping or secretly overhearing jury deliberations are presumptively disqualified. Individuals denied a license under these circumstances may appeal to the Commissioner for reconsideration.

Q: If I have been convicted of a felony may I still obtain a Security Systems Contractor license?

A: Generally, no. Under M.G.L. c. 147, §59, if you have been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude, you may not receive an S-License unless a hearing is held and the Commissioner at his discretion determines that a license is appropriate.

Q: Why must I include three recommendations from Massachusetts citizens?

A: M.G.L. c. 147, §58 requires that an application for an S-license must include three recommendations of the applicant from reputable citizens of the Commonwealth. The Department has produced a standardized form Citizen Certification that is provided with the application and may be reproduced for each attesting citizen. The recommendations should attest that you are honest and of good moral character, that the citizen has known you for at least 3 years, that the citizen has read and can attest to the truthfulness of the statements within the application, and that the citizen is not related to the applicant by blood or by marriage.

Q: Who can provide the recommendations/ affidavits of character for my application?

A: The three (3) recommenders must be:

1) citizens of the Commonwealth

2) reputable

3) members of the community where you live or will be operating your business

4) persons who have known you for at least 3 years

5) persons who have read your application and certify that its contents are true

6) persons who are unrelated to you by blood or marriage.

Q: When will I hear back from the Department regarding my license?

A: Generally, the Department will get back to you within two weeks of receiving a complete application packet.

Q: If I am denied a license, may I appeal the decision?

A: Yes. You may file an appeal in Superior Court. M.G.L. c. 30A, §14.

Q: When must I renew my S-license?

A: You must renew your license once every two (2) years. M.G.L. c. 147, §59.

Q: What must I do to renew my S-license?

A: You should receive a renewal application in the mail approximately 1 month before your license is due to expire. If you do not receive a renewal application in the mail, it is your responsibility to contact the Department and request that an application be sent to you by mail, fax, or e-mail.

Q: If I am working for an S-License holder, but am not an S-License holder myself, must I be licensed?

A: You must have a Certificate of Clearance in accordance with M.G.L. c. 147, §60. Please note that a Certificate of Clearance is different from a Security Systems Contractor license.

Q: What is a Certificate of Clearance, and how is it different from an S-license?

A: A Certificate of Clearance certifies that an employee of an S-license holder has undergone a CORI inquiry, and has been approved to work for an individual or company licensed to install security systems.. The license is different in that it permits a contractor or corporation to hold himself or itself out as being engaged in the business of installing, repairing, or offering maintenance for security systems. M.G.L. c. 147, §57.

Q: As an S-license holder, how do I obtain a Certificate of Clearance to employ individuals at my business?

A: First, please read and complete the Attestation for Certificate of Clearance, available at the DPS website. Note that this form must be completed by an S-License holder for each person that the licensee wishes to employ. The form must be signed by both the S-License holder and the employee seeking certification.

Next, the S-License holder must request a criminal background check. All S-License holders have been issued a General Grant to conduct criminal history background checks by the Criminal History Systems Board, which oversees CORIs. The S-licensee must, however, be certified by the CHSB before actively running the CORIs. Certification requires signing an "Agreement of Non-Disclosure and Statement of CORI Certification Compliance," which is then submitted directly to CHSB. CHSB will notify the S-licensee of successful certification, at which time the S-licensee may actively begin running CORIs on prospective employees.

When a CORI is received for any individual applying for a Certificate of Clearance, the S-Licensee is responsible for reviewing the CORI to ensure that the individual has not been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude, which initially disqualifies the individual from employment under M.G.L. c. 147, §60. The Department has compiled an "S-License Crimes Classification Chart" that identifies all felonies and crimes of moral turpitude in Massachusetts. Fill in the results of the background check where indicated on the Attestation for Certificate of Clearance .

Finally, send the Attestation(s) for Certificate of Clearance to the Department of Public Safety along with a legible copy of a government issued photo identification for every Certificate of Clearance applicant and a check for $50.00 made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for each Attestation submitted to the Department. The packets should be mailed to :

Department of Public Safety - S-License
One Ashburton Place Room 1301
Boston, MA 02108

Q: If I already have a Certificate of Clearance, but am going to work for another S-License holder, am I required to obtain a new Certificate of Clearance?

A: Yes. Every time you change employment you must re-submit a new Application for a Certificate of Clearance with the company.

Q: If I am denied a Certificate, may I appeal the decision?

A: Yes. Please send your request for appeal to the following address:

Department of Public Safety - S-License
One Ashburton Place Room 1301
Boston, MA 02108

Q: Can my Certificate of Clearance be revoked?

A: Your certificate is automatically revoked if you change employment or cease to be employed by a Security Systems Contractor. All certificates are valid for two years from the date of issuance and must be renewed by the S-Licensee on behalf of the licensee's employees.

Q: When must I renew my Certificate of Clearance?

A: You should receive a renewal application in the mail approximately 1 month before your license is due to expire. If you do not get a renewal application in the mail, it is your responsibility to contact the Department and request a renewal application be sent to you by mail, fax, or e-mail.

Q: As a homeowner or business owner that plans to have a security system installed, what information should I seek from the individual or company performing the installation?

A: Ask the individual or company for their S-License number prior to making arrangements to have the system installed. Then call DPS at (617) 727-3200 to check the validity of the license. Before you allow installers to begin work in your home or business, ask to see the certificate of clearance of anyone performing the installation. All employees that work for an S-Licensee are required to have certificates of clearance issued by the DPS, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 147, §60.

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