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About Business Licensing

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In order to operate legally in the District of Columbia, all businesses must be licensed. Whether or not a Basic Business License (BBL) is required depends on the business activity conducted in the District.  In some cases, business entities whose principals are required to maintain licensure by a local, state or national certification board or body will not be required to obtain a Basic Business License.

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Video: Applying for a Basic Business License in 5 Steps

Guide Sheet: 5 Basic Steps to Obtaining a Business License

The Business License Center closes at 4:30 pm daily. The customers can obtain a Q-Matic Ticket to begin the licensing process until 4:00 pm.  Note: the cashier closes promptly at 4:30 pm.

DCRA's Basic Business Licenses are divided into 16 endorsements and numerous subsequent categories. Please review the directory below to locate the applicable business category, based on the primary business activity, and determine the requirements for licensure. Please note: more than one license category may be applicable.

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