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License Requirements

Each license category has different document, inspection and/or investigation requirements. However, there are five basic requirements for ALL licensed business activities which must be satisfied prior to submitting a Basic Business License application:
  1. You must have a valid Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN);
  2. You must register with the Office of Tax and Revenue and show that you have filed an FR-500 for DC business tax;
  3. If your business operates from a location in Washington, DC, you must have a Certificate of Occupancy for your business premise address or a Home Occupation Permit if you work out of your home;
  4. You must submit a Clean Hands Self-Certification form attesting that you do not owe more than $100 to the DC government. If you are completing the BBL EZ Form, BBL EZ Form en Español, or an online application, you do not need a separate form; and
  5. If you are a corporation, partnership or limited liability company (domestic or foreign), you must be registered and in good standing with the Corporations Division. You must also have a Registered Agent.

Pre-Application

Some business activities have pre-requisites. For example:

  • A Beauty Shop owner/manager must have a Cosmetology license issued by the Occupational & Professional Licensing Administration of DCRA;
  • A Funeral Establishment owner/manager must have a Funeral Director's license issued by the Occupational & Professional Licensing Administration of DCRA;
  • A Parking Lot Attendant must have a Driver's License;
  • A Solid Waste Vehicle must be inspected and approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Public Works.

For a complete list of license requirements, look up your license category.

Inspections

You must schedule all required inspections through the appropriate agency. Please refer to your business license category’s fact sheet for agency contact information. In most cases, an inspection must be conducted and approved prior to submitting your application.

Business Activity (Endorsement/Category) and NAICS Code

View a complete list of licensing endorsementslicensing categories, or search the NAICS Code catalog.

Clean Hands

If you owe less than $100 to the District of Columbia government (i.e., in tickets, DCRA fines, back taxes, etc.), you have clean hands. If you owe more than $100 to the District of Columbia government, you will not be able to conduct business in the District until the balance is satified.

Resident Agent

A Resident Agent is an individual residing in the District, or a DC-based business entity that you would appoint to represent you and your business or receive fiducial notice on your behalf. If you do not live or have a business premise here in the District, you need to appoint a Resident Agent.

Registered Agent

All corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies must provide the name and address of their Registered Agent. A Registered Agent is an individual or company located in the District of Columbia that will represent your business for any fiducial or similar matters. Registered Agents are required for both domestic and foreign corporations. Need a registered agent form?

The Corporations Division maintains a list of registered agents. For more information, contact the Corporations Division at (202) 442-4400.