Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
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License Zoning Reference Guide

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What We Do

Business Licenses

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) issues business licenses in the City of Chicago and regulates industries as diverse as retail, food establishments, day care centers, manufacturing facilities and motor vehicle repair shops. BACP also regulates the sale of retail liquor in Chicago. 

Most types of business licenses can be applied for online, or in-person. When applying in-person, a BACP Business Consultant will help determine what licenses or permits you need, process your application and also connect you with business resources. You can request an appointment with a business consultant online or call 312.74.GOBIZ (744.6249).

Public Way Use Permits

In addition to issuing business licenses, BACP is the department which handles General Grants of Privilege for the use of the public way. If your business has a sign, canopy, awning, bench, or anything that extends over, under or is on the public way, it may require a public way use permit. There are several different types of public way uses including sidewalk cafés

You can apply for a public way use permit unit in City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.,  Room 800.  You can request an appointment with a business consultant online, or by calling 312.74.GOBIZ (744.6249).

Give Us Your Feedback

BACP relies on feedback from our customers to improve services. We take customer satisfaction seriously and measure our performance based on your input. Click the button above or the link below to provide feedback on your interaction with BACP. The survey will take no more than two minutes to complete.

Alerts (Business Licenses)

Severe Alert Mar 6, 2015 Food Truck Fests Coming to the Loop
Severe Alert Jan 15, 2015 Looking for a Small Business Loan – The City of Chicago Can Help
Severe Alert Jan 14, 2015 New Third Party/Expediter Database Helps Businesses Research and Report Violations by Expediters, Attorneys, and Other Third Party Processors
Severe Alert Oct 24, 2014 Know Your Local Business Development Centers
High Alert Jan 12, 2015 Site Selector – A Free Tool to Help Your Find Your Next Business Location

View all Alerts (Business Licenses)

Most Recent News (Business Licenses)

Oct 24, 2014 Mayor Emanuel Announces Addition of Permit Intake Center to Chicago's Small Business Center
Oct 2, 2014 City of Chicago Kicking Off 1st “Chicago Small Business Week” With Financial Symposium
May 27, 2014 Three Women Leading Business for the City Set for Roundtable Discussion with Women Business Owners
Apr 24, 2014 City of Chicago and Partner Agencies Making a Difference for Small Businesses

View all News Releases (Business Licenses)


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Supporting Information

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Additional BACP Resources

Free Small Business Education Resources

Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Initial Microlender Trainee Candidates

Department Main Office

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

Small Business Center


312-74-GOBIZ (744-6249)


121 N. LaSalle St., Rm. 800, Chicago, IL 60602

Hours: Mon. - Fri.; 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.