Chicago Business Licensing


The Chicago Small Business Center (SBC) is the business licensing and permitting division of the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and the City’s “one-stop-shop” for business licensing, public way use permitting and other resources to start and grow your business.


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Wait times may vary based on services requested.

Visit the Small Business Center to receive a ticket with your place in line. You may also obtain a ticket remotely before you arrive for certain services. Check estimated walk-in wait times before obtaining your ticket remotely, as you must be present in the Small Business Center when your ticket is called.

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Business License and Permit Information

Business License Guide and Information - image of a checklist

Business Licensing

Information on the business licenses issued by BACP and the requirements for those licenses.

Zoning Guide

Zoning Guide

Every business license, location expansion and change of location application needs to be reviewed and approved by Zoning before a business license application can be processed.

Liquor Licensing - image of a bottle and glass

Liquor Licensing

Information on liquor licenses issued by BACP.

Public Way Use Permits - an outdoor table with two chairs

Public Way Use Permits

Items associated with a business that are on, over, or under the public way such as signs, canopies, awnings, and lighting require a BACP permit.

Shared Housing - a family in a house

Shared Housing

Short-term residential rental activity is regulated by BACP. Use this link for information on how to register your residence as a shared housing unit.

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Outdoor Dining

Restaurants and bars can serve patrons on the sidewalk, in curb lanes, or as part of a full street closure with an Outdoor Dining permit

Public Vehicle Licensing - image of a car

Public Vehicle Licensing

Information on licenses issued by BACP for taxicabs, Transportation Network Providers, charter buses, chauffeurs, and other public vehicles.

 BACP logo Small Business Center
City Hall
121 North LaSalle Street, 8th Floor, Room 800
Chicago, IL 60602
Monday through Friday; 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
312.74.GOBIZ (744.6249) or 312.744.1944 for TTY