A sign permit allows you to install, alter, or retrofit lighting for any sign that has an area larger than 5 square feet or is connected to an electrical power source, including outline and border tube lighting. A sign permit also allows you to install or alter an awning, including re-covering an existing awning with a new material or changing or adding a business name on an existing awning. We will issue your sign permit after we review your application and plans, and confirm your plans meet the City’s code requirements.
We have two types of sign permit applications, one for on-premises signs and one for off-premises advertising signs (billboards). On-premises signs are used at the business location to identify the business's name, goods, and services available at that business. On-premises signs can also be used for non-commercial messages. Most new sign permits are for on-premises signs. Off-premises signs are billboard signs advertising products that are not related to a specific business location. Billboard registrations need to be renewed every year and are limited to existing registration numbers.
If your sign is connected to electrical power, an electrical permit is included with your sign permit when you complete the illumination information on the application. Electrical signs must be installed by a licensed electrical contractor, unless the sign is installed by the owner.
Your sign must:
We have a basic fee for signs that are up to 32 square feet. We charge an additional amount for each increment of 10 square foot over the first 32 square feet. Our fees for awnings, border tube, and outline lighting are based on the total value of the sign project, including all labor and materials. We add electrical fees to your permit for electrically operated or illuminated signs. Our fees may change annually and can be found in the current Fee Subtitle.
You can usually get your permit issued within about one week, provided your application is complete, accurate, and doesn’t require any corrections. You can submit your electronic application and upload your plans using our Seattle Services Portal.
Get your property information. Find property information to help you plan your project, including locating existing structures and signs, lot lines, public rights-of-way, and preferred sign locations.
Determine restrictions to your project. You sign may have certain restrictions or need special approvals depending on its location.
Start your application. Login to the Seattle Services Portal and then click on Permits – Trade, Construction & Land Use under Create New. Select Sign, Awning, and Canopy Permit from the list. Follow the prompts to fill out your application. We will review your application and either contact you with questions or notify you of any corrections that are required before your permit is issued.
Pay fees. All permits are due when you submit your application. You can pay your fees through the Seattle Services Portal.
Print permit. We will notify you when your permit and approved plans are ready for you to download from your Seattle Services Portal.
Request an inspection. You must request an inspection so our inspector can make sure your sign installation matches your approved plans. You can request an inspection through your Seattle Services Portal.
You may also need a special inspection if your construction is complex enough to require a technical expert to inspect the structure, attachments, or soil conditions. We will give you a special inspection schedule form to be completed by the engineer of record or the project owner if a special inspection is required.