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Electrical Permit

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What Is It?

You need an electrical permit any time electrical wiring is installed, altered, extended, or connected to any electrical equipment. As long as the circuit wasn’t altered or changed, and met the code at the time of installation, you don't need an electrical permit to replace:

  • Snap switches
  • Fuses
  • Lamp sockets
  • Receptacle outlets
  • Electric ranges
  • Cook tops
  • Wall heaters
  • Baseboard heaters

You may not need a permit for some residential and minimally-sized communications systems.

Special events, such as street fairs that have temporary power installations, do require an electrical permit.

The professional who applies for electrical permits must have a state of Washington electrical contractor’s license and a City of Seattle business license. Find more information about contractor licensing from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries and the Guide to Seattle's Business License & Taxes. Homeowners may do their own work, as long as they both own and occupy the home they’re working on.

We can issue many electrical permits over the counter on the same day that you apply. Some permits require plan review, for example:

  • Any installation over 2,500 square feet
  • All switches, fuses, circuit breakers, and equipment rated at 400 amps or higher
  • All electrical equipment operating at more than 600 volts
  • Services, feeders, and power supplies for emergency, legally required, or fire pump systems
  • Electrical work in health-care facilities, schools, and institutions
  • Transformer installations over 112.5 KVA
  • Unique or particularly complex projects or an installation that can’t be adequately described on an over-the-counter or online permit form

How Much Does It Cost?

Our fees vary depending on what you are installing or altering.

How Long Does It Take?

We issue many electrical permits over the counter, on the same day that you apply. You can apply online and print your permit immediately, or visit us at the Applicant Services Center. If your permit requires plan review, it may take a few weeks after you apply before we issue your permit. Our plan review turnaround times depend on the accuracy and completeness of your plans, and how many plans are in the review queue before yours.

Steps To Get Your Permit


1. Research

Determine if you need plan review. Review the Requirements for Electrical Plan Review for the type of installations that require plan review.

Determine if you can submit your permit online. One- and two-family homes usually can apply online. Other projects that do not require plan review (according to 80.51B) may apply online.

Determine restrictions to your project. Research our codes to determine construction and life / safety limits and requirements.

Attend a coaching session. We offer 20 minutes of free coaching at the Applicant Services Center to answer electrical permit questions. You may also call (206) 684-5383.

Read our Tips. Read our Tips for information to help you complete your project.

Ask a question. Call our technical support number, (206) 684-5383

Coordinate with other agencies. You may need permits or approvals from other agencies. These are the most common agencies you may need to work with for your permit type:

2. Submit Application

If your permit does not require plan review:

  • Apply online, or complete the electrical permit application (no plan review) and submit it at the over-the-counter desk in the Applicant Services Center. You do not need an appointment; wait time is generally less than 20 minutes.

If your permit requires plan review:

  • Complete the electrical permit application (plan review) and submit it at the over-the-counter desk in the Applicant Services Center, along with 2 sets of plans (or 3 sets if your plans have 6 or more fire alarms) and 1 set of specifications. You do not need an appointment; wait time is generally less than 20 minutes.

You can mail or messenger in your application, whether for an over-the-counter or plan review permit. We give priority to walk-in customers.

DPD, OTC Permits
700 Fifth Ave., Suite 2000
P.O. Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124-4019

3. Get Permit

If your permit does not require review, you’ll receive your permit immediately after you apply (either online or in person). If you apply by mail or messenger, we’ll send your permit to you.

If your permit requires review, our electrical plan reviewers will notify if you if plan corrections are needed. We’ll issue your permit after you make all corrections.

4. Schedule Inspections

Most permits require three electrical inspections: cover, service, and final.

What Do You Want To Do?

Still Need Help?

 Ask Us

  • Call us at (206) 684-8850
  • Electrical Technical Support: (206) 684-5383