Licenses & Permits

Planning and Permitting in Arlington

We recognize that the planning and permitting process can be lengthy, time consuming, and at times,  confusing... so don't go it alone! Whether you are starting a new business, investing in an existing business, or anywhere in between, the BizLaunch team can help you navigate the permitting process to help alleviate any challenges and prevent any unnecessary delays and increased expenses. Here is a brief introduction to some of the most common permitting needs you might have. 

New Business Permits

Opening a New Business in Arlington County

If you are opening a new business in Arlington County, or making changes to an existing Arlington business, like adding an additional location, there are several permits you may need. Most new businesses located in Arlington need to file a request for a Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit and an Arlington County Business License.

New businesses or a new location for an existing Arlington business may require a Public Health Division license. While not an exhaustive list, some of the establishments that require a Public Health license include restaurants, nightclubs/bars, grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores.

While there is extensive information on permitting on the Arlington County website, we strongly recommend that new businesses first meet with BizLaunch to learn what your specific business needs.

Building Permits

Guidance for New Construction and Interior Alterations

The Building Permit approval process can take 4–6 weeks and sometimes longer if multiple reviews are required.

Small businesses and projects with representatives who are not familiar with the Arlington County permitting, review and inspection process should meet with a BizLaunch advisor to determine which types of permits will apply to your business. if it will be residential or commercial, and if a free code consultation with the Inspection Services Division would be advisable. 

Sign Permits

Commercial Signage Permits

In Arlington County, the Zoning Ordinance regulates signs; however, certain buildings have Comprehensive Sign Plans, i.e. pre-approved plans that specify the types, locations and sizes of signs permitted. Therefore, the types, size, number and location of signs allowed will vary by location.

If you are a new business or tenant, the first step in installing a commercial sign is to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) for the business from the Zoning Office. Once a CO is in place, complete the Sign Application form. If you meet these requirements and your sign complies with the Zoning Ordinance or relevant Comprehensive Sign Plan, your Sign Permit will be approved within five business days.

It is important to note that any sign attached to a building, sidewalk, ground or plaza, or that has a footer or attachments also requires a separate building permit, in addition to the sign permit. Additionally, any sign with electricity also requires a separate electrical permit in addition to the sign permit.

Your BizLaunch representative can help you contact the Zoning Office at (703) 228-3883 for detailed information on your location's requirements and then walk you through  the County’s Sign Permit process.

Business Licenses

Setting Up Your Arlington County Business License

For entrepreneurs and new businesses, getting a business license can seem like a daunting task. But securing your Arlington County business license can be a painless process with the right resources.

To get started, visit Arlington’s Opening a New Business web page, which has a variety of tools and resources for opening a new business. Here you can find links to complete tasks like registering with the State Corporation Commission, applying for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) and applying for an Arlington County Business License.

Depending on your business's needs, you can also find resources related to homestay rentals, occupancy certificates and health licenses.

Meet with an Advisor

BizLaunch Is Here To Help

Whether you are starting a new business, investing in an existing business or anywhere in between, BizLaunch is here to help. We provide guidance on how the process works in Arlington County to help alleviate any confusion and prevent any unnecessary delays and increased expenses.

Schedule an Appointment