Licenses & Permits

Licensing, 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 licensing and permitting process to prevent unnecessary delays, fees and expenses.

Here is a brief introduction to some of the most common licensing and permitting needs you might have. 

Business License

Get Your Arlington Business License

Anyone who runs a business or is looking to open a business in Arlington is required to have an Arlington Business License in order to legally operate in the County.

Obtaining a business license is pretty simple. The Arlington Commissioner of Revenue issues business licenses and assesses the amount of tax businesses are required to pay. The entire process can be done online via the Customer Assessment and Payment Portal (CAPP). 

The How to Start a Small Business Checklist explains why you need a license and the steps you need to take to launch a business in Arlington.


Business Permits

Opening a New Business in Arlington County

If you are opening a new business in Arlington, or making changes to an existing Arlington business (like adding an additional location), there are several permits you may need. In addition to obtaining an Arlington Business License, most new businesses in Arlington need to file a request for a Certificate of Occupancy or a Home Occupation Permit.

New businesses or a new location for an existing Arlington business may also require a Public Health Division license. For example, some of the businesses 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 County website, we strongly recommend meeting with BizLaunch to learn which business licenses and permits you might need.

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 those who are not familiar with the Arlington permitting, review and inspection process should meet with a BizLaunch advisor to determine which types of permits might apply to your business, if those permits should be residential or commercial and if a free code consultation with the Inspection Services Division is advisable.

Sign Permits

Commercial Signage Permits

In Arlington, the Zoning Ordinance regulates signs; however, certain buildings have Comprehensive Sign Plans. These are pre-approved plans that specify the type, location and size of permitted signs. As a result, the type, size, number and location of signs can vary by location.

If you are a new business or tenant, the first step to 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, you can complete the Sign Application form. If you meet the 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 attachment also requires a separate building permit. Additionally, any sign with electricity also requires a separate electrical permit.

BizLaunch can help you work with Zoning and walk you through the Sign Permitting process.

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