What are all the permits & licenses required for events in NYC?
The specific permits and licenses required for events in New York City can vary depending on the size, location, and nature of the event. The following is a general list of permits and licenses that may be required for events in New York City, according to information provided by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and the New York City Police Department (NYPD):
Street Activity Permit
Required for any event or activity that takes place on a public street, sidewalk, or pedestrian plaza. This includes block parties, parades, festivals, and other outdoor events. The permit is issued by the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT).
Required for events that use amplified sound. The permit is issued by the NYPD. Film Permit: Required for any filming that takes place on public property, including streets, sidewalks, parks, and other public spaces. The permit is issued by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
To obtain permission for the use of sound devices, interested parties can obtain an application form which needs to be completed and submitted to the precinct where the event is scheduled to occur. The application must be submitted no later than five days prior to the event, along with a certified check or money order of $45. After approval, the permit can usually be collected on the day of the event, or at a time indicated by the precinct staff. The application form can be downloaded and printed from the relevant authority’s website.
When planning a block party, please keep in mind the following guidelines:
- Applications must be submitted 60 days before the event.
- Applicants must be members of a block association and have the consent of their neighbors.
- The event is limited to nine consecutive hours on one block and one day.
- Rain dates are not allowed.
- The event must be open to all neighbors on the block and not a private party (such as a birthday party).
- Charging a participation fee or fundraising is not permitted.
- The sale of food or other items is not allowed.
- If you wish to fundraise or sell food or other items at your event, please read more about hosting a single block festival.
- Alcohol, vendors, commercial branding, and sponsorships are not permitted at block parties.
If your event includes branding or vendors, such as a food truck or a health screening van, it may be categorized as a street event or a single block festival. Additional permits may be required. All other agency permits must be obtained before we can grant your street activity permit. Examples include: Rides and inflatables, such as truck-mounted rides and bounce houses, require a DOB Inspection Certificate and insurance. The ride company that you hire should provide this documentation. Petting zoos or other non-domesticated animals require a permit from the Department of Health and insurance. The stable or farm where you rent the animals should provide this documentation. Raffles or donations require a permit from the Human Resources Administration. All amplified sound, such as background music, musical performances, or speaking programs, requires a permit from the New York Police Department. Generators require a certificate from the New York Fire Department. When generators are over 40kw, they also require a certificate from the New York Department of Environmental Protection.
Keep in mind when planning a late night party
The police commissioner has imposed certain limitations on the use of sound devices or apparatus. The use of such devices is not allowed in various locations including within 500 feet of schools, courthouses, churches, hospitals, or similar institutions, where vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions may pose a threat to public safety, or in locations where the use of such devices may disrupt public enjoyment of public streets, parks, or places. The use of sound devices is also not permitted on vehicles, between certain hours, and within 50 feet of any residential building. The police commissioner has the authority to revoke any permits issued, and a fee of $45.00 per day is charged for each permit issued for matters of public interest or political campaigns. Violators of these restrictions may be subject to fines, imprisonment, and civil penalties, the amount of which may increase with subsequent violations.
Required for events that use tents or other temporary structures. The permit is issued by the NYC Department of Buildings.
Fire Department Permit
Required for events that involve open flames, pyrotechnics, or other fire hazards. The permit is issued by the NYC Fire Department.
Food Service Establishment Permit
Required for any event that serves food or drinks to the public. The permit is issued by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the City oversees Food Service Establishments, which are places where food is provided to consumers for individual portion service, whether it’s sold or provided free of charge, and whether the food is consumed on or off the premises. This includes various establishments, such as restaurants, bakeries, pizzerias, nightclubs, senior centers, and religious organizations. These establishments must obtain a permit from the DOHMH, with a permit fee of $280.00 for most establishments, plus an additional $25.00 if the establishment will manufacture frozen desserts. This page provides information on how to apply for the permit and the requirements for regulatory compliance and inspections. Please note that this information only pertains to the health-related aspects of the regulatory requirements, and it is necessary to read the attached documents to fully understand the provisions of DOHMH regulations.
Special Event Permit
Required for events that are expected to attract large crowds or require extensive police resources. The permit is issued by the NYPD.
The Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) is responsible for issuing permits for a range of events including Street Festivals, Plaza Events, Production Events, Block Parties, Farmers Markets, Press Conferences, Health Fairs, and other similar activities that take place on the City’s streets, sidewalks and Pedestrian Plazas.
To apply for a permit, you may choose to apply online through E-Apply. Please note that a non-refundable processing fee of $25 (or $20 for Open Culture Events) must be paid with a credit or debit card at the time of application submission.
Required for events that serve alcoholic beverages. The license is issued by the New York State Liquor Authority. It’s important to note that this is not a comprehensive list and other permits or licenses may be required depending on the specific event. It’s recommended that event organizers consult with the appropriate city agencies to ensure that they have obtained all the necessary permits and licenses before the event takes place.
Disclaimr: the information provided on this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this article are for general informational purposes only.
The State Liquor Authority’s primary responsibility is to issue licenses and permits. The review process duration is based on the application type, volume of applications, and the accuracy and completeness of the application submitted. The review period takes around 22-26 weeks, but retail and manufacturing businesses can apply for temporary permits that allow them to operate in less than 30 days. Incomplete applications may cause delays or result in disapproval.
There are four main categories of liquor licenses: on-premises licenses (e.g. hotels, bars, restaurants, taverns), off-premises licenses (e.g. grocery stores, drug stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, wine stores), manufacturing licenses (e.g. cideries, breweries, wineries, distilleries, meaderies), and wholesale licenses (e.g. wine wholesalers, beer wholesalers, importers). Each category has several license types, and each type has unique application requirements.
All fillable forms for on-premises, off-premises, manufacturing, and wholesale applications are available through New York Business Express.
Footnote about special permits
If you’re planning a community sponsored event with no sale of goods or services and need to close a single block for a day, you’ll need to apply for a permit 60 days in advance. Similarly, if you’re planning a clean-up event that involves a limited, 4-hour street closure for neighborhood improvement, you’ll need to apply 60 days in advance.
For a farmers’ market on a sidewalk selling local farm fresh products, you’ll need to apply for a permit 60 days in advance. A health fair, where health vendors provide in-kind services and require one block closure for a day, requires an application 30 days in advance.
If you’re planning to stage one or more vehicles for religious purposes while serving a benefit to the community, you’ll need to apply 60 days in advance for a mobile unit permit.
For activities within a pedestrian plaza that interfere or obstruct regular use, you’ll need a plaza events permit. Application deadlines vary by each plaza level.
A press conference on a street or pedestrian plaza with minimal impact on the area for a day requires an application 10 days in advance. Production events, which occur on a sidewalk or curb lane and may involve pick-up or drop-off, set up, or break down of events with no impact for pedestrians or vehicles, also require an application 10 days in advance.
For rallies, demonstrations, or an act of public worship serving a benefit to the community for a single day, you’ll need to apply for a permit 10 or 60 days in advance, respectively.
If you’re planning a nonprofit sponsored community festival with vendors requiring closing one block for a day, you’ll need to apply 90 days in advance for a single block festival permit.
For street events or festivals that interfere or obstruct the locations used by pedestrians or vehicles, you’ll need a permit. Application deadlines vary based on the event size, and for nonprofit sponsored festivals requiring closing one block or more for multiple days, applications must be submitted no later than December 31st of the preceding year.
The process of obtaining a permit
To obtain a SAPO permit, please visit E-Apply and follow the steps below:
Step 1: If you haven’t done so already, create an account and complete the registration enrollment form. If you already have an E-Apply account through SAPO or another agency (such as DCAS, NYPD, NYC Parks, or NYC Media & Entertainment), there’s no need to create a new account. Simply log in using your existing account.
Step 2: View and request the appropriate event type from the list of eligible event types.
Step 3: Provide general information about your event, including event dates, sponsor information, and event producer contact information.
Step 4: Request your event location based on the available streets and pedestrian plazas.
Step 5: Fill out the questionnaire with as much detail as possible, including only the elements that will be present on the street, sidewalk, or pedestrian plaza spaces.
Step 6: Upload any required supporting documents.
Step 7: Pay a non-refundable processing fee of $25 ($20 for Open Culture Events) using a credit or debit card.
Once the processing fee is paid, your application will be submitted directly to SAPO, NYPD, Community Board, and the appropriate Plaza Partner (when applicable).