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Service overview

To install a sign permanently, you may need a building permit and a zoning permit. Use the table below to determine the permits you need for your sign.

Building permit Zoning permit
Outdoor signage Yes, except painted signs, adhesive or vinyl graphics and letters Yes
Interior signage Yes, if they require ties Yes, if installed within 18 inches of a publicly visible window or door
window signs Yes, if they require ties Yes, if they occupy 20% or more of two windows or doors
Signs on historic properties Yes, for painted signs, adhesive or vinyl graphics and lettering, and regular maintenance of existing signs. Nope

If your sign will be illuminated, you also need an electrical permit.

If your sign meets certain standards, you can use EZ Zoning and EZ Sign Installation. EZ permits do not require plans.

Who

Any owner or his authorized agent can apply for this permit. Authorized agents may include:

  • Design professionals.
  • Lawyers.
  • Contractors.
  • Approved Shippers.

Terms

Permit application

The permit application must include the full scope of work and current owner information.

Service provider

A licensed contractor must carry out all work. The contractor must:

  • Have an active license.
  • Be up to date on all taxes in the city of Philadelphia.
  • Have current insurance on file with L&I.

Plans

If your application requires blueprints, they must meet the blueprint requirements.

Plans are not required for installations that meet the EZ Standard for Sign Installation.

Forms and other documents

Prior approvals required

Signs on historic properties

More +


Panels projecting into the right-of-way

More +

Where and when

Cost

Types of fees that may apply

Filing fee

  • Applications without plans: No application fee is required if you use the EZ standard.
  • Applications with packages: $100 (credited to final permit fee)

These fees are non-refundable and must be submitted with your application.

Permit fees

  • Accessory signs: $207 each
  • Non-accessory panels: $258 each

Additional costs

  • City supplement: $3 per permit
  • State supplement: $4.50 per license

Record keeping fees

  • Per page larger than 8.5 inches by 14 inches: $4

Expedited plan review fee (optional)

New construction applications that include plans are eligible for expedited review. Expedited requests are reviewed within 5 business days.

  • Costs: $1050
    • $350 is due when you apply. You must pay the rest once approved.

To apply, complete a Expedited Plan Review Request Form and attach to your permit application. Expedited Review Fee will not be credited towards your final permit fee.

Payment methods and details

Payment methods accepted

Where accepted payment
Online via the eCLIPSE app

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

  • electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
In person at the Permit and License Center of the Municipal Services Building
  • electronic check
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
In person at the cashier station in the municipal services building

(Items paid for at the cashier station will be posted within five working days.)

  • Check
  • Money order
  • Credit card (+2.25% surcharge)
  • Cash

Checks and money orders

Check requirements
  • Make all checks and money orders payable to “City of Philadelphia”.
  • The person 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 bounced

L&I will not accept checks that are missing deposit information or are:

  • Unsigned.
  • Expired.
  • Postdated.
  • Startup checks without account information.

Payment Return Policy

If your check is returned unpaid for insufficient or uncashed funds:

  1. A $20 fee will be charged for collection.
  2. You authorize the City of Philadelphia or its agent to make a one-time electronic funds transfer from your account to collect these fees directly.
  3. The City of Philadelphia or its agent may electronically resubmit your check to your depository institution for payment.
  4. If the City is unable to obtain payment, the license, permit or appeal application will be cancelled.
  5. You cannot take any further action under a permit until you have paid all fees.
  6. The permit or license will be revoked if unpaid 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 expiration date, you will be charged 1.5% of the license fee for each month since the license expired.

How

1

Obtain all required pre-approvals before submitting your application to L&I.

2

Bring your completed application, application materials and payment to the Permits and Licenses Center.

The application must be made by a licensed contractor or include a signed statement on the contractor’s letterhead attesting to their participation in the project.

3

L&I will review your application.

Applications with plans are processed within 20 business days.

You can expedite the request for an additional fee. Expedited requests are reviewed within 5 business days.

Requests that adhere to the EZ standard for panel installation are processed while you wait. You are limited to three requests per ticket.

4

Once approved, schedule your inspection.

Contact your local inspection office when the contractor is ready to start work. Contact information and required inspections will be noted on your permit.

A Certificate of Approval will be issued upon completion of all required inspections.

1

2

The application will be forwarded to L&I and other City departments for review and approval.

  • Before a permit can be issued, the contractor must be identified and confirm their association with the project.
  • Applications with plans are processed within 20 business days.
    • You can expedite the request for an additional fee. Expedited requests are reviewed within 5 business days.
  • Requests using the EZ standard for sign installation are processed within 5 business days.

3

If approved, the applicant will receive a notice of payment of the balance.

If not approved, the applicant will receive an email indicating what is missing or required.

4

Once you’re approved, schedule an inspection.

When the contractor is ready to begin work, request an inspection through eCLIPSE or by calling (215) 255-4040.

Approval documents will be issued upon successful completion of all required inspections.




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