Washington D.C. Business License

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General Business License Requirements for Washington D.C..

Business licenses are often required of business entities, regardless of their products and services. This page provides an overview of business license requirements in Washington D.C..

Washington D.C. General Business Licenses

District of Columbia Basic Business License - General Business

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Business Licensing Division

DC Code § 47-2851.03d


Businesses that have a basic business license in a different classification than the general business license typically do not need a general business license as well. Only businesses with elevator, retail cigarette, patent medicine, food product, or vending machine classifications will need to apply for the additional general business license. Nonprofit organizations generally hold a charitable solicitation license instead of a general business license.

Initial Registration

Filing Method:


Agency Fee:




Registration Renewal

Filing Method:


Agency Fee:


  • Biennially by the end of the month prior to the registration anniversary month.
  • Renewals can be filed as early as 75 days prior to the expiration date.

Penalty fees accumulate as follows:

  • $250 starting 1 day after the expiration date
  • $500 starting 1 month after the expiration date
  • $500 + an additional fee based on the license fee starting 6 months after the expiration date. The license also becomes ineligible for renewal and a new application must be filed.


Learn about general business licensing requirements in other states:

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