Licenses and Permits

Licenses and Permits

The City of Elgin has several licenses and permits for businesses. These allow businesses to operate, remodel, sell alcohol and several other things that are overseen by the City. A license is granted as permission to do or own something, while a permit usually implies safety and requires an inspection. 

To obtain a permit or license, an application is required. There are various applications which will serve as your way to obtain the necessary permits or licenses. All applications must be printed and delivered as a hard copy to the appropriate office. You may be able to fill out the application online, but it must be printed and brought in for processing. 

Business License

In the City of Elgin, all persons who conduct, engage in, maintain, operate, carry on or manage a business, either through such person or through an agent, employee or partner, shall obtain by February 1 of each year a business license for said business.

How to know what you should apply for

This serves as your application to obtain both your Occupancy Permit and Business License. Be sure to have your business plan, floor plan, and any other information you used to help you identify and plan your business on hand. Once you are all set and ready to go, you can access the Business Application on this page to get started. It usually takes new applicants 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete depending on how in depth you are in your answers.
Who should complete this form: Business owners that are opening a new business, expanding or relocating their business within Elgin, changing or adding services, or changing ownership.
When should this be completed: If your zoning is allowed, you should complete this form as the first step in your business process with the City of Elgin. If you aren't sure if your business is allowed at your desired location, you can complete the Zoning Inquiry Form and submit it to Community Development for review.
Next steps: Once your application is completed, print it and bring it into the Community Development Department along with all of your additional documents and your Business Application fee. The application fee is $220 and payment must be submitted along with your form for it to be processed. Once the forms are submitted, city staff will review them and determine if you have any additional permit applications that need to be completed based on your answers. Staff will respond to you within 7-10 business days. Our response to you will include everything you need to know from estimated permit fee costs to any additional applications to next steps you would need to take. Once the process is complete and all inspections are passed, then you will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy and a Business License. Opening a business can be a quick or long process depending on the location, zoning, and type of business. We are here to help you from start to finish. Be sure to visit our Doing Business Page for more information, helpful tips, and more..

The Liquor License Application is if you intend to sell alcohol, whether it be by the glass or pre-packaged, there are a variety of steps you must go through. You must already have your Occupancy Permit in hand to apply for a liquor license. For more information, visit the City's Liquor License Page.

Food Handling Application: If your business will be handling food in any way, you are required to have a license for those operations. If you are a new business, your first step is to complete your Occupancy Permit Application and Business License. On there, you can mark if you are handling food and we will advise you about the right time to complete this application, based on your responses. If you are doing seasonal food handling or operating an ice cream truck or pushcart, those applications can be found on this page.

Gaming or Tobacco Sales: On the Occupancy Permit Application, you will have the opportunity to note if you are going to be doing any type of video gaming or tobacco sales at your business. There are additional fees for these permits. You will be notified of those fee totals and any additional steps after you complete your Occupancy Permit Application and Business License.

If you are hosting a special event such as a race or block party, you will need to complete the Special Events Permit located on this page. Be sure to get it in no less than 60 days before your event. Depending on your event, additional information may be required. Fees for this type of permit depend on the event; a fee schedule can be found on the last page of the application. Be sure to review the Special Events Planning Guide for more helpful tips and additional information.

This application is for those individual intending to do solicit. Visit the Solicitor Permit page for more helpful tips and additional information.

If you are doing any type of work on your business, whether it be replacing widows, getting a new sign, or building a whole new building, all types of construction require a permit. There are a couple of types of building permit applications: Quick Permit Application, Remodeling Permit Application, and New Commercial/Industrial Construction/Addition Permit Application. Be sure to utilize our quick guides to get additional information on smaller projects.

The Quick Permit Application is if you have smaller projects such as window replacements or a roof replacement. This permit application covers most small projects. It can usually be completed in less than 10 minutes. Check out our quick guides on smaller projects such as porches and decks. The cost for this permit is determined by the type of work that is being done. Inspections are required for this permit type. When submitted correctly and completely, the typical turn around time for these permit applications is 3-5 business days.

The Remodel Application is if you are doing any interior remodeling, like updating or changing the space. In some cases, exterior remodeling projects also require you to complete this permit application. This remodeling permit application covers remodeling projects of all sizes. The cost for this permit is determined by the type of work that is being done. Inspections are required for this permit type. When submitted correctly and completely, the typical turn around time for this permit application is 10 business days.

The Application for Large Projects is for the large projects that require more oversight such as a plan review by our Community Development department. A good rule of thumb for determining if you need to complete this application rather than the Application for Small Projects is to ask if you are "moving dirt or moving walls." Anytime dirt or foundation is disturbed, a more thorough overview is required. The cost for this permit is determined by the work that is being done. Several inspections are required for this permit type. When submitted correctly and completely, the response to your application will provide you with an expected timeline for your project.