How to Obtain Your New Business License
Welcome to the City of Berkeley business community! You will need a new Business License if you are:
- Starting a new business
- The new owner of an existing business
- Opening an additional location for your current business
- Moving your business to a new location
The following information will help you through the application process for your new Business License, and complements additional information from Planning & Development on Business License Review. Depending on the kind of business you have, the application process may take a few days to several weeks or more.
When applying for your new business license, you may need to contact one or more of these City offices:
- Public Safety Building: 2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way (510) 981-5700
- Fire Marshall: (510) 981-5585, Fire@ci.berkeley.ca.us
- Police Department – when fingerprinting is required (510) 981-5766
Information on public fingerprinting.
Applying for Your New Business License
Documents in .pdf format, require Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing. You can download a free copy of Acrobat Reader from
*Note: For access to the Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC), links will take you to the City’s BMC site where you can browse the BMC in .pdf format, or search using Records Online. Search tips are available from the site.
Before accepting your Business License Application, staff must verify that the address of your business, including the suite number, if applicable, is in the City's database. For verification of an address, contact Customer Service or use the City Parcel Conditions Database. If it is not in the database, you need to apply for an Address Assignment. Please see the Planning Department for important information about addressing assignments and land use regulations. Contact staff at the Permit Service Center (PSC) to discuss these requirements.
Fees for Your Business License Application
Your new business license tax payment, submitted as part of the application process, is usually $51 – $77, plus a 1-time registration fee of $25. The application process may take 3 days to 6 months, depending on approvals.
Approvals Required for Your Business License Application
If your business is physically located in Berkeley, you must obtain all necessary approvals &/or permits before the City issues your new Business License. These are based on the kind of business you are going to operate and may include those from Land Use Planning/Zoning, Building & Safety, Environmental Health, Toxics, Fire, and Police (if fingerprinting is required).
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Information Required to Complete Your New Business License Application
Type of business – This will determine your classification and tax rate
Location in Berkeley (specific physical location with street address)
Name of business (proof of DBA/fictitious business name, if applicable)
Name of owner
Business and emergency phone numbers
Federal Tax ID or Social Security #
Form of ownership (Partnership, Corporation, Sole Owner)
State Seller's Permit/Resale # (if applicable for your kind of business)
State contractors license # and expiration date (if applicable)
Number of employees working in Berkeley
Number of business vehicles operated in Berkeley (up to 4 decals will be issued for business vehicles, which allow business loading/unloading for a maximum of 20 minutes in yellow zones)
If the business is female or minority owned
If the business will sell tobacco products
Date the business fiscal year ends: If you establish a fiscal year other than the calendar year, you must consistently report your annual gross receipts using this 12-month period
Payments due when filing your new business license application:
- $25 New business license registration fee (1-time)
- $51 Minimum tax ($77 for all rental property)
- Nonprofit/charitable organizations must complete the New Business License Application, attach a copy of their IRS exemption letter and pay the $25 registration fee and $26 Minimum tax.
Please make all checks payable to: City of Berkeley
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