You need this license to operate a business where you prepare or serve food for public consumption. You may need this license to operate a:
- Eating and drinking establishment such as a restaurant or bar.
- Child care facility.
- Private club.
- Grocery store that makes sandwiches or serves beverages.
- Catering company.
Non-profits that serve food free of charge need an Activity License Number. The license fee is waived in this case.
Business owners and their agents can apply for this license.
Other licenses and registrations
- Business Income and Receipts Tax ID (BIRT)
- Commercial Activity License or Activity License Number
- Plan Review and License Eligibility Report issued by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health
The location must have proper zoning approval and associated construction permits, if applicable.
To find zoning information, search the Zoning Map.
The business must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
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.
For eating or drinking establishments with 30 or more seats. A non-refundable application fee of $20 is applied toward the license fee. The balance of the license fee is due once your application is approved.
For all other businesses that prepare or serve food. A non-refundable application fee of $20 is applied toward the license fee. The balance of the license fee is due once your application is approved.
For catering companies. A non-refundable application fee of $20 is applied toward the license fee. The balance of the license fee is due once your application is approved.
Renewal late fee: 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.
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 license online using eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.
Applications are reviewed within five business days.
If the application isn’t approved, you will receive an email stating what is missing or required.
L&I can review most applications while you wait.
This license must be renewed annually. You can renew online through eCLIPSE or in person at the Permit and License Center.
To renew your license, you must:
- Be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
- Provide a valid email address.