Public Way Use

** New Permit Web Portal Now Live**

As of Monday, April 19, 2021, all BACP Public Way Use permit accounts and transactions have been migrated into the City of Chicago’s Inspections, Permitting & Licensing web portal.

This new web portal will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Public Way Use permitting by allowing applicants and existing permittees to apply for new permits, renew existing permits, and pay fees (annual and outstanding debt) online. 

Existing permittees will need to create and log into the online portal in order to claim their existing permits and manage their account.

The BACP Public Way Use permitting web portal includes tutorials on how to create an account and claim a permit.

Hardcopy invoices for annual permit fees will no longer be mailed; all future invoices will instead be emailed and communicated through this new portal.  As always, failure to pay permit fees or outstanding debt in a timely manner may result in penalties, including holds placed on the permittee’s business license(s). 

If you have questions related to creating a web account or facilitating your transaction, please reach BACP’s Public Way Use division at or (312) 744-5430.


Due to COVID-19, effective Thursday, March 19, 2020, all Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) licensing and permits will be conducted virtually/online and offices will be closed to the public until further notice. This includes the following locations:

  • BACP Administrative Offices, 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 805
  • Small Business Center, 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 800
  • Public Vehicle Licensing Center, 2350 W. Ogden Ave. 1st Floor
  • Public Vehicle Inspection Facility, 2420 W. Pershing Ave.

BACP will continue processing business licenses, where applicable, online or over the phone. Please visit or call 312-74-GOBIZ. Learn more about how to use Chicago Business Direct. Please allow for extra time as BACP staff are working hard to keep City services going under this disruption.


If your business has a sign, canopy, awning, bench, or anything that extends over, under or is on the public way, it requires a Public Way Use permit issued by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) - Public Way Use (PWU) Unit. The process to obtain the permit requires City Council approval.  There are many different types of public way uses including Sidewalk Cafés.

In addition to a Public Way Use permit, all business identifiers such as signs, awnings, canopies and banners are required to have a Department of Buildings sign construction permit. Only a licensed sign contractor may apply to obtain a sign construction permit. Please see the list of approved contractors

For temporary use of the public way due to construction, applicants must obtain a Construction Canopy Permit from the Chicago Department of Transportation. Information about this permitting process is available here.


Department Main Office

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

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