Permit & License Information

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Residents, businesses and some individuals traveling through the City are frequently involved in fund raising activities or operate businesses that involve door to door sales or other such sales may require a special permit from the City of Fairfax or require you to be registered with the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Police Department is responsible for issuing permits for some of these activities and other City departments, such as the Office of the Commissioner of Revenue, issue other required permits and licenses. Shown below is a general outline of these regulations. You will also find links to the corresponding City Code Ordinances in each section. The ordinances can be confusing, so you are encouraged to call the Police Department if you need clarification or assistance in expediting the process for you. You may also find that your activity will not require a permit at all. You may contact the Police Department at 703.385.7955 for full information.

NOTE: Licenses you or your business may have from other jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, are not valid in the City of Fairfax.

If you will be Canvassing, Peddling or Soliciting for Non-Charitable Purposes

If you are involved with any canvassing, peddling or soliciting within the City of Fairfax you must be licensed by the City prior to conducting this activity. Chapter 62, Article III of the City Code regulates non-charitable canvassing, peddlers or soliciting. Please take a moment to review these requirements.

To determine the necessary permits and/or licenses:

  1. Contact the City of Fairfax Zoning Office at 703.385.7820 to determine if the type of activity you will be conducting is permitted within the City of Fairfax.
  2. Contact the office of the Commissioner of Revenue at 703.385.7884 to determine if you will need to obtain a City Business License.
  3. Call the Police Department at 703.385.7955. A representative will review the specific activity you will be doing and the actual permits and licenses you will need. You can also schedule an appointment to come in and obtain the necessary applications.

To obtain a permit to Canvass, Peddle or Solicit for Non-Charitable Purposes:

  1. You must complete the necessary application forms.
  2. You must be fingerprinted and photographed to document your identify.
  3. You must pay a $20.00 non-refundable fee to cover the processing of your application.

The Police Department will conduct a limited background check to determine if you have any criminal arrests and, if so, if any of the offenses would disqualify you from being approved. You will be advised within 30 days if your application has been approved or denied. If approved, you will be provided with a personal photo identification permit card. This permit must be in your possession and displayed by you when conducting business.

If you will be doing Charitable Solicitations

If you are involved in doing Charitable Solicitations a license is required. We encourage you to fully review Article II of Chapter 62 of the City Code.

To determine the necessary permits and/or licenses:

  1. Contact the City of Fairfax Zoning Office at 703.385.7820 to determine if the type of activity you will be conducting is permitted within the City of Fairfax.
  2. Contact the office of the Commissioner of Revenue at 703.385.7884 to determine if you will need to obtain a City Business License.
  3. Call the Police Department at 703.385.7955. A representative will determine if you or your organization is properly registered with the Commonwealth of Virginia as a charitable organization. If not, you will receive instructions regarding the registration process. The representative also will review the specific activity you will be doing and the permits and licenses you will need. For your convenience, you can schedule an appointment to come in and obtain the necessary applications.

To obtain a permit to conduct Charitable Solicitations:

  1. Even if you are exempt from the requirement to obtain a separate City license, you still must complete an application form to register with the City.
  2. If you are not exempt, you must complete an application form and pay a non-refundable fee of $10.00 to process your registration and application.

Once your application has been received, the Police Department will review the permit application. You will be advised within 30 days if your application has been approved or denied. If approved, you will be issued the appropriate license or letter certifying that you have been registered.

If you want to operate as a Precious Metal Dealer or Pawnbroker 

You must obtain a special license prior to dealing in precious metals, gems and other personal property, or as a pawnbroker. If you are interested in operating as a precious metal dealer or pawnbroker, you are encouraged to fully review Chapter 14, Article IV of the City Code.

To obtain the necessary permits and/or licenses:

  1. Contact the City of Fairfax Zoning Office at 703.385.7820 to determine if the type of activity you will be conducting is permitted within the City of Fairfax.
  2. Next, contact the office of the Commissioner of Revenue at 703.385.7884 for information about obtaining a City Business License.
  3. Finally, call the Police Department at 703.385.7955. A representative will review the specific activity you will be doing and the actual permits and licenses you will need. For your convenience, you may schedule an appointment to come in and obtain the necessary applications.

To obtain a permit as a Precious Metals Dealer or Pawnbroker:

  1. You must complete the application and information form.
  2. You must pay a permit fee of $200.00.
  3. You must be fingerprinted and photographed to document your identity.
  4. You must provide a written certification from the Commonwealth of Virginia of the accuracy of all weight scales that will be used in your business.
  5. You must provide documentation certifying that you are bonded in the amount of $10,000.00.

Once your application has been received, the Police Department will review the permit application and conduct any necessary background checks. You will be advised within 30 days if your application has been approved or denied. If approved, the Department will issue you a permit that must be displayed at your business. Your permit will be valid for 12 months and will need to be renewed on an annual basis.

If you want to operate a Massage Establishment

The City of Fairfax regulates massage establishments and requires a special permit for businesses to operate a massage establishment. There are also strict regulations governing this type of activity. All persons at your business who perform massages must to have a Massage Therapist permit issued by the City. For information on these permits see the next section. You are encouraged to review Chapter 14, Article VI of the City Code , which regulates Massage Establishments.

To determine the necessary permits and/or licenses:

  1. Contact the City of Fairfax Zoning Office at 703.385.7820, to ensure that the location you plan to use for your business is authorized under the zoning ordinances.
  2. Contact the Office of the Commissioner of Revenue at 703.385.7884 for information about obtaining a City Business License.
  3. Call the Police Department at 703.385.7955. A representative will aid you in the next phase of the process and schedule you for an appointment to come in and obtain the necessary applications.

To obtain a massage establishment 2 year permit:

  1. You must complete the application and information form.
  2. You must pay a permit fee of $150.00.
  3. You must be fingerprinted at the first application (not for renewals if permit remains valid) and photographed to document your identity.
  4. The department will check to see if you have a criminal background and if so if any of the offenses would disqualify you from being approved.

The Police Department will conduct a limited background check to determine if you have any criminal arrests and, if so, if any of the offenses would disqualify you from being approved. You will be advised within 60 days if your application has been approved or denied. If approved, you will be provided with a permit that must be displayed at your place of business.

If you want to perform Massages as a Massage Therapist

Those persons who actually perform massages must have a permit and conduct the massage at a licensed Massage Establishment. There are strict regulations governing massages. If you are interested in performing massages, you are encouraged to review Chapter 14, Article VI of the City Code.

To determine the necessary permits and/or licenses:

  1. Contact the City of Fairfax Zoning Office at 703.385.7820 to ensure that the location at which you will be performing massages is authorized under the zoning ordinances for such use. You should also review the requirements for a Massage Establishment found in the previous section.
  2. Contact the Office of the Commissioner of Revenue at 703.385.7884 for information about obtaining a City Business License.
  3. Call the Police Department at 703.385.7955. A representative will aid you in the next phase of the process and schedule you for an appointment to come in and obtain the necessary applications.

To obtain a Massage Therapist 2 year permit:

  1. You must complete the application and information form.
  2. You must pay a permit fee of $100.00.
  3. You must be fingerprinted at the first application (not for renewals if permit remains valid) and photographed to document your identity.
  4. You must provide written documentation that you are licensed as a Massage Therapist with the Board of Nursing of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Police Department will conduct a limited background check to determine if you have any criminal arrests and, if so, if any of the offenses would disqualify you from being approved. You will be advised within 21 days if your application has been approved or denied. If approved, you will be provided with a permit that must be displayed at your place of business.

If you want to operate an Adult Use Business

We encourage you to fully review Article VII of Chapter 14 of the City Code, which regulate Adult Use Businesses.

To determine the necessary permits and /or licenses:

  1. Contact the City of Fairfax Zoning Office at 703-385-7820, to ensure that the location you plan to use for your business is authorized under the zoning ordinances.
  2. Contact the Office of the Commissioner of Revenue at 703-385-7884 for information about obtaining a City Business License.
  3. Call the Police Department at 703-385-7955. A representative will aid you in the next phase of the process and schedule you for an appointment to come in and obtain the necessary applications.

To obtain an Adult Use Permit:

  1. You must complete the application and information form.
  2. You must pay a permit fee of $500.00 for the original application and the yearly renewal fee is $300.00.
  3. You must be fingerprinted and photographed to document your identity.
  4. You must provide a record check for the State of Virginia and also a residential jurisdiction record check.
  5. You must provide a Certificate of Occupancy Certificate issued by the Zoning Department.
  6. You must present to the Police Department a Business License issued by the Commissioner of Revenue.

The Police Department will conduct a limited background check to determine if you have any criminal arrests and, if so, if any of the offenses would disqualify you from being approved. You will be advised within 30 days if your application has been approved, denied or if additional time is needed to complete backgrounds. If approved, you will be provided with a permit that must be displayed at your place of business.