To permanently install a sign, you may need a Building Permit and a Zoning Permit. Use the table below to determine which permits you need for your sign.
|Building permit||Zoning permit|
|Exterior signs||Yes, except painted signs, adhesive or vinyl graphics and letters||Yes|
|Interior signs||Yes, if they require fasteners||Yes, if installed within 18 inches of a window or door that is visible to the public|
|Window signs||Yes, if they require fasteners||Yes, if they take up 20% or more of two windows or doors|
|Signs on historic properties||Yes, for painted signs, adhesive or vinyl graphics and letters, regular maintenance of existing signs, and any sign types with conditions listed above.||No, with the exception of any of the sign types with conditions listed above.|
If your sign will be illuminated, you also need an Electrical Permit.
If your sign meets certain standards, you can use EZ zoning and EZ sign installation. EZ permits do not require plans.
Any property owner or their authorized agent can apply for this permit. Authorized agents may include:
- Design professionals.
- Licensed expediters.
The permit application must include the complete scope of work and current owner information.
- If the property was recently sold, submit a copy of the settlement sheet or deed with the application.
- You must apply for all permits under the legal address established by the Office of Property Assessment (OPA).
- If the application is made by the tenant, include a copy of the executed lease agreement.
A licensed contractor must perform all work. The contractor must:
- Have an active license.
- Be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
- Have current insurance on file with L&I.
If your application requires plans, they must follow plan requirements.
Plans are not required for installations complying with the EZ Standard for Sign Installation.
Forms and other documents
- Accelerated Plan Review request form (optional)
- Special Inspections documentation (if applicable)
- Duties & Responsibilities Agreement signed by all parties
- Statement of Special Inspections Schedule with categories and frequency selected
- Name of licensed Special Inspection Agency qualified for all inspection categories
- Flood Protection Forms: For properties located in the floodplain
Signs on historic properties
You need approval from
The Historical Commission
You must have this approval in order to apply. L&I will refuse your permit application without Historical Commission approval. See how to get approval for work to a historic property.
You’ll need your plans with stamped approval from the Historical Commission before you make your application at the Permit and License Center in the MSB.
Submit your stamped plan as proof of approval when making your application.
Upload all plans and materials required by the Philadelphia Historical Commission when you apply for your permit in eCLIPSE.
The Historical Commission will perform its review electronically and provide approval directly to L&I.
Signs that project into the right-of-way
You need approval from
The Department of Streets
You’ll need to complete a Streets plan review. See Streets’ plan review requirements and applicable forms for more information.
You must submit your Streets-approved plans with your other application materials when you apply in person at the Permit and License Center in MSB.
Upload all plans and materials required by the Department of Streets when you apply for your L&I permit through eCLIPSE. The Department of Streets will perform its review electronically and provide approval directly to L&I.
Where and when
You can apply online using eCLIPSE.
If you need help filing your application online, you can schedule a virtual appointment.
You need an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center in person.
Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
MSB, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Offices close at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.
Fee types that may apply
- Applications without plans: No filing fee is required if you are using the EZ Standard.
- Applications with plans: $100 (credited towards the final permit fee)
This fee is nonrefundable and must be turned in with your application.
- Accessory signs: $232 each
- Non-accessory signs: $290 each
- City surcharge: $3 per permit
- State surcharge: $4.50 per permit
Record retention fee
- Per page larger than 8.5 in. by 14 in.: $4
Accelerated Plan Review fee (optional)
Applications for new construction that include plans are eligible for expedited review. Accelerated applications are reviewed within 5 business days.
- Fee: $1050
- $350 is due when you apply. You must pay the remainder once approved.
To apply, fill out an Accelerated Plan Review request form and submit with your permit application. Accelerated review fees will not be credited toward your final permit fee.
Payment methods and details
Accepted payment methods
|Online through the eCLIPSE application
(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)
|In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building||
|In person at the Cashier’s Station in the Municipal Services Building
(Items paid at the Cashier’s Station will be mailed within five business days.)
Checks and money orders
- Make all checks and money orders payable to the “City of Philadelphia.”
- The individual or company listed on the check must be listed on the application.
- Personal checks are accepted.
- Checks and money orders must have issue dates within 12 months of the transaction.
Reasons your check may be rejected
L&I will not accept checks that are missing depository information or are:
- Starter checks without account info.
Returned payment policy
If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:
- You will be charged a $20 fee for collection.
- You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect this fee directly.
- The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
- If the City is unable to obtain payment, the license, permit, or appeal application will be void.
- You cannot take any additional action under a permit until you have paid all fees.
- The permit or license will be revoked if the outstanding fees are not paid within 30 days.
- You cannot file or obtain additional permits until you resolve the outstanding debt.
Late license payment
If you renew your license more than 60 days after the due date, you will be charged 1.5% of the license fee for each month since the license expired.
You can apply for this permit in person at the Permit and License Center or online using eCLIPSE.
The application must be made by a licensed contractor or include a signed statement on the contractor’s letterhead verifying involvement with the project.
Applications with plans are processed within 20 business days.
You can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed in 5 business days.
Applications that adhere to the EZ Standard for Sign Installation are processed while you wait. You are limited to three applications per ticket.
Contact your local inspection office when the contractor is ready to start work. The contact information and required inspections will be noted on your permit.
A Certificate of Approval will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.
If applying as a licensed professional or contractor, you must first associate your license or registration with your online account.
- Before a permit can be issued, the contractor must be identified and confirm association with the project.
- Applications with plans are processed within 20 business days.
- Allow an additional business day for pre-processing.
- You can accelerate the application for an additional fee. Accelerated applications are reviewed in 5 business days.
- Applications using the EZ Standard for Sign Installation are processed in 5 business days.
If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.
When the contractor is ready to start work, request an inspection through eCLIPSE or by calling (215) 255-4040.
Approval documents will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.