Do I need a business license?

Find out if you are required to file an application for a business license

Differences Between Licenses, Permits, and Inspections

Business License: Certain types of businesses, like restaurants, secondhand stores, and traveling entertainment, require a business license. Business licenses are intended to protect the general public, and ensure the business is meeting public safety requirements.

Permits: Permits are proof that your building and facilities follow city rules ("code") and are safe for you, your employees, and your customers.

Inspections: As you complete each phase of construction, you'll need to have city inspectors visit to ensure that the work meets Syracuse's health and safety standards. Most inspections are performed before approval of a certificate of occupancy or certificate of use.

How do I get a business permit?

Submit the correct License Application and fees (check or money order only) to the Central Permit Office. Some types of licenses also require additional documents, such as a driver’s license or proof of insurance.

You'll need the following information:

  • Business Type
  • Business Location Address
  • Mailing Address
  • Email Address
  • Phone number
  • State licenses related to your business type

You can apply by printing out the form and submitting it to the city in person or by mail. 

Visit the Central Permit Office in the City Administration building or give us a call if you have any questions.

Syracuse Business License Application (pdf)

Submit in-person or by mail:

City Of Syracuse Business License Application

Central Permit Office City Hall Commons - Room 101 

201 E. Washington St., Syracuse, NY 13202

How long will it take to receive my license?

Licenses can be issued in as little as 2 weeks. Make sure the application is complete before you submit. Some licenses require an initial inspection or take more time. Please call the Central Permit Office if you have questions.

Most licenses are valid for two years.

You are required to obtain an additional license for each business activity even if it is in the same location. For example, if you have a restaurant with a pool table you need two business licenses.