|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, and regular maintenance of existing signs.||No|
If your sign will be illuminated, you also need an Electrical Permit.
If your sign meets certain standards, you can use EZ zoning and building permit applications. 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 Building Sign Installation.
Forms and other documents
- Application for Accelerated Plan Review (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.
Signs that project into the right-of-way beyond the limits of Zoning or Streets Code
You need approval from
The Department of Streets
You’ll need to complete a Streets plan review. Find Streets plan review requirements and applicable forms for more information.
You’ll need your plan with stamped approval from Department of Streets before you make your application to L&I.
Once approved, submit your stamped plan with your other application materials when submitting in person at the Permit and License Center in the MSB.
Where and when
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: $200 each
- Non-accessory signs: $250 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 5–10 business days.
- Fee: $540
- If your plans require more than four hours to review, you will be charged an additional fee of $135 per hour.
To apply, fill out an Accelerated Plan Review application and submit with your permit application. Amount must be paid when you submit your application and will not be credited toward your final permit fee.
Payment methods and details
Accepted payment methods
|Online through the eCLIPSE application||
|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 authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account to collect a fee of $20.
- The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
You can apply for this permit in person at the Permit and License Center.
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 5-10 business days.
Applications that adhere to the EZ Standard for Building Sign Installation are processed while you wait.
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.