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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.


Business owners and their agents can apply for this license.


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
  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.


  • 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



You can apply online using eCLIPSE.

If you need help filing your application online, you can schedule a virtual appointment.

In person

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.


Neighborhood Vending

Renewal fee: $383

Special Vending District

Cost per vehicle

Renewal fee: $3,483

Center City District

Renewal fee: $383

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

Where Accepted payment
Online through the eCLIPSE application

(There is a $200,000 limit for online payments.)

  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center in the Municipal Services Building
  • Electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.25% 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 (+2.25% 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 will be charged a $20 fee for collection.
  2. 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.
  3. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may re-present your check electronically to your depository institution for payment.
  4. If the City is unable to obtain payment, the license, permit, or appeal application will be void.
  5. You cannot take any additional action under a permit until you have paid all fees.
  6. The permit or license will be revoked if the outstanding fees are not paid within 30 days.
  7. 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.


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.


Upload all required documents, including award letter

Applications are reviewed within five business days.

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

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.

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

Forms & instructions