Due to extremely cold conditions, the City is implementing special measures to keep people who are homeless safe. If you see someone who needs shelter, call (215) 232-1984.
In effect: 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16 until further notice

Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Temporary Occupancy Permit for a special event

Service overview

This permit allows you to use a building for a short-term event.

You cannot hold special events for longer than 15 days. To host a longer event, you need to:

You do not need this permit if your space is already approved for assembly use and the event will not exceed the number of people allowed. The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues this permit.


Property owners, their tenants, and their authorized agents can apply. Authorized agents may include:

  • Design professionals.
  • Attorneys.
  • Contractors.
  • Licensed expediters.


Permit application

Application must include a description of use 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 a tenant makes the application, include the executed lease agreement.

Plans required

If your application requires plans, they must follow plan requirements.

  • Plans must be drawn to scale on a sheet that is at least 18 in. by 24 in.
  • Include three copies of plans.
  • The plans must show compliance with Code Bulletin A-1501/ Section C.

Fire watch

The application must include written confirmation that a fire watch will be provided during times of occupancy.

  • A fire watch can be performed by any uniformed security company trained in emergency procedures.
  • Fire watch must be performed in accordance with the requirements of Code Bulletin A-1501/ Section C (PDF).
  • You must identify the company performing the fire watch on your application.

Where and when

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

Filing fee

  • $100

This fee is nonrefundable and will be credited towards the final permit fee.

Permit fee

  • $400 per event

Surcharge fees

  • City surcharge: $3 per permit
  • State surcharge: $4.50 per permit

Record retention fee

  • $4 per plan

Payment methods and details

Accepted payment methods

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.5% surcharge)
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.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • 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:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Post-dated.
  • Starter checks without account info

Returned payment policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncollected funds:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

In person

Bring the completed application, application materials, and payment to the Permit and License Center.

Applications are processed within 20 business days.

If approved, the applicant will receive notice to pay the balance.

If not approved, the applicant will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

Before the permit can be issued, you’ll need to schedule an inspection.

Before you hold your event, schedule your inspections

Contact your local inspection office to arrange the inspections noted on your permit.

A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy will be issued upon successful completion of the inspection.

Renewal requirements

Special event approvals cannot be renewed. You must file a new permit application for each event.

Forms & instructions