Permits, violations & licenses

Get a license to sell goods in special vending districts

Service overview

You need this license to operate as a vendor in Philadelphia’s special vending districts. The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) issues these licenses.

There are three types of special vending district license:

  1. Neighborhood Vending: For businesses in special districts other than Center City
  2. Special Vending: For food trucks in University City
  3. Center City Vending: For vending in Center City

There are only a limited number of these licenses available:

  • There is a waitlist for Neighborhood Vending and Special Vending Licenses.
  • Center City Licenses are awarded by lottery. All applicable vendors are automatically entered into this lottery which is held only when enough spaces are available.

Active special vending districts:

  • Center City
  • University City
  • 52nd St. Business District
  • Central Germantown Business District
  • Germantown Corridor Business District
  • Temple University
  • Morris Street District

Special Vending Licenses are not transferable. Selling or giving a license away could result in fines.

Who

Business owners and their agents can apply for this license.

Requirements

Other licenses and registrations

Vending Unit approval

Award letter from the L&I Vending Unit showing your approved location.

  1. To request approval, contact the Vending Unit by phone (215) 686-2414 or email operationsvending@phila.gov.
  2. The Vending Unit will review your request and let you know if you are approved.
  3. If approved, you will receive an award letter and can apply for your license online using eCLIPSE or in person. The Vending Unit will explain what you need to apply for your specific license.

Identification

  • Proof of your identity and address.
  • Two photographs of yourself. 2 in. x 2 in., color

Where and when

Vending Unit

Phone (215) 686-2414

Email: operationsvending@phila.gov

Online

Use the eCLIPSE system.

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

Office closes at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.

Cost

Neighborhood Vending
$330

Renewal fee: $330

Special Vending District
$3000

Cost per vehicle

Renewal fee: $3000

Center City District
$330

Renewal fee: $330

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.

How

In order to apply for a license to vend in the City’s special districts, you must first get approval from the Vending Unit. Once approved, you can apply online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.

Online

1
Upload all required documents, including award letter

Applications are reviewed within five business days.

2
If the application is approved, you will receive a notice to pay the balance.

If the application isn’t approved, you will receive an email stating what is missing or required.

In person

1
Visit the Permit and License Center

If you have been approved for any special vending licenses, you must present your award letter. L&I can review most applications while you wait.

2
L&I will either issue your license or request more information.

Renewal requirements

Annual renewal:

  • Renew online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center

Required for renewal:

  • Must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes
  • Valid email address

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