If your organization is a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or in some cases, a trust, said organization must be registered and in good standing with the Corporations Division. For more information, including assistance with completing the application process, please contact the Corporations Division at (202) 442-4432 or visit DCRA Corporate Registration Information Center.
If you are not a resident of the District of Columbia, you'll need to appoint a Resident Agent or an Attorney-in-Fact who lives or works in an office in the District, who will be the official recipient of any financial, process, or legal notices that we need to send to you. If you are not a DC resident, please complete the Certified Resident Agent Appointment Form.
Any business required to register with the Corporations Division is required to maintain a registered agent. Said registered agent may be a bona fide District of Columbia resident or a company physically located in the District of Columbia. The registered agent’s office may or may not be the same address as the place of business.
Family trusts, general partnerships, and sole proprietors are required to maintain a resident agent. Said resident agent may be a bona fide District of Columbia resident or a company physically located in the District of Columbia. The resident agent’s office may or may not be the same address as the place of business.
A business operating under a fictitious name or a name other than the legally recognized name must register the trade name with the Corporations Division. For more information, including assistance with completing the trade name application process, please contact the Corporations Division at (202) 442-4432 or visit DCRA Corporate Registration Information Center.
All applicants for a Basic Business License must complete an application, remit the associated payment, and submit the required supporting documentation.
All applicants must certify that no more than $100 is owed to the District of Columbia Government as a result of fees, penalties, interest, or taxes through completion of a Clean Hands Self-Certification.
All Applicants must provide a registered tax number (i.e., SSN or FEIN) at the time of application. Register by completing and filing a Combined Business Tax Registration Application (Form FR-500) with the Office of Tax and Revenue, 1101 4th Street, SW, Suite W270, Washington, DC 20024. Online registration is available at the Business Tax Service Center. For more information, please call the Tax Customer Service Center at (202) 727-4829.
All applicants for a Basic Business License operating from a premise located in the District of Columbia must provide a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for the premise address from which the business activity is conducted in order to demonstrate the activity does not conflict with building and zoning codes. For more information, please call the Office of the Zoning Administrator, (202) 442-4576, 1100 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024.
All applicants for a Basic Business License for the Circus category must be inspected by and/or receive approval to operate from the DC Health, Food Safety & Hygiene Inspection Services Division, (202) 535-2180, 899 North Capitol Street, NE, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20002.
A Circus must have Certified Food Supervisor(s) present on the premises during the hours the facility is open to the public. The name(s) and certification(s) of the food supervisor employee(s) must be provided to DC Health inspectors. For more information, please contact the Office of Certification, Health Regulation and Licensing Administration, (202) 535-2180, 899 North Capitol Street, NE, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20002.
Submit a written request to the Mayor’s Special Events Task Group in writing a description of the event within a minimum of sixty (60) business days prior to the proposed scheduled date of the event. MSETG is located at 2720 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20032 or via fax on (202) 673- 2290.
Special Events Application - Questionnaire
You must obtain a Special Events License before you can have a special event on public space in the District of Columbia, whether you are for-profit or a non-profit organization. The Special Events License application must be submitted at least 15 working days (45-60 days is recommended) prior to the date of the event to: Special Events-Vending Coordinator at (202) 442-4311.
A copy of the site plan must be submitted with your application. Describing (if applicable) the stage construction, size and materials. Also submit a letter which describes the location, date(s) and time the event will be held and must indicate the date and time you plan to complete the construction and to set-up the sales booths, equipment, amusement rides, etc. The determination of your set-up date is crucial to the process of issuing a license. Careful planning is necessary. On that date, your site will be inspected, and must be approved by food service, plumbing, construction, electrical and fire safety inspectors.
Submit a ”consent list” of 90 percent of the resident housekeepers and occupants of business establishments within a distance of five-hundred (500) feet from the perimeter of the lot where the activity will take place. The list must contain the name and street address, in numerical order of the residents and business occupants who have consented to the activity by providing their signature on the list. Each petition page of the list shall contain at the top, in capital letters, a detailed explanation of the proposed activity including the dates and hours the activity will take place.
Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency
If a street closing is needed, submit copy of application for street closing from the Emergency Management Agency, 2000 14th Street, NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20009. For additional information, please call (202) 481-3016.
Department of Parks and Recreation
If your event requires the use of any District of Columbia parks or recreation facilities, you must obtain a permit from the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, 3140 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20010. For additional information, please call (202) 673-7646.
Metropolitan Police Department
You must obtain permits for parades, walks, runs, bike rides, marches, rallies, demonstrations, and protests from the Special Operations Division of the Metropolitan Police Department, 2301 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037. For additional information, please call (202) 671-6522.
Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services
If your event includes any type of fireworks display, you must obtain permits for the use of fireworks from the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services – Office of the Fire Marshall. To begin the permit application process, please contact the Office of the Fire Marshall at (202) 727-1600.
DCRA Permits Division
A temporary electrical permit is required when electrical work is involved. Only a District licensed and bonded electrical contractor can obtain such permits. Also, if the set-up will include construction of a tent, stands or booths, a construction permit is required. For more information, visit dcra.dc.gov.
Alcohol and Beverage Regulation Administration
If you plan to have any type of alcoholic beverages at the event, you must obtain a license from the Alcohol and Beverage Regulation Administration, 2000 14th Street, NW, S400, Washington, DC 20009. For additional information, contact (202) 442-4423.
You may apply for a Basic Business License in-person by visiting the DCRA, Business License Center, 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024. No appointments are required. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.