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Sign, Awning, & Billboard Permit

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What Is It?

You need a permit to install, alter, or repair any permanent sign that is visible from the public right-of-way. Electrical signs must be installed by a licensed and bonded electrical contractor, unless installed by the business owner. You also need a permit to install or alter an awning, including covering of existing awning with new fabric.

You need an electrical permit for electric signs. If your sign extends over any public place, you also need a street use permit which is issued by the Seattle Department of Transportation. You must get your street use permit before applying for your sign permit. You may also need a business license if you are working in Seattle, even if your office is outside the city.

How Much Does It Cost?

We have a basic fee for signs up to 100 square feet, plus an additional amount for each square foot over that size. Our awning fees are based on the value of the awning.

How Long Does It Take?

You can apply at the Applicant Services Center. You don't need an appointment and the wait time is generally less than 20 minutes. You can also mail or fax in your application; we give walk-ins priority, however. Our review time for a sign permit depends on how complex your project is and the quality and completeness of your original application.

Steps To Get Your Permit


1. Research

If your sign will be located in a historic or special review district, or on the same lot as a landmark structure, you need a certificate of approval from the Department of Neighborhoods. You need this approval before you apply for your permit.

If your sign is in a shoreline district, you must comply with the Shoreline Master Program rules.

2. Complete Permit Application

You will need:

  • The work site address
  • Work site owner or tenant contact name, address, and telephone number
  • Contractor or installer information, including state license number and city business license number
  • Description of work
  • Square footage of sign or graphics or the value of the awning work
  • Three sets of plans for review of new installations
  • Street use permit number, if applicable
  • Department of Neighborhoods approval number

3. Submit Application

To submit:

  • Visit the Applicant Services Center
  • Mail your application to:
    DPD, OTC Permits
    700 Fifth Ave., Suite 2000
    P.O. Box 34019
    Seattle, WA 98124-4019

Include your payment information as specified on our permit application form.

What Do You Want To Do?

Still Need Help?

 Ask Us

  • Contact our Sign Inspector at (206) 684-8419