Conducting Business with ARA:
In-person visits to the Houston Permitting Center may be scheduled by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please go to and follow the steps below:

  1. Click “Schedule” at the top right-hand side of the page.
  2. When the page loads, you will click on the button, "schedule an appointment" and select "next".
  3. On the next page, select "ARA Regulatory Affairs" and select "next".
  4. On the next page, select the “Business Licensing” and select "next".
  5. On the next page, you make select any of the dates highlighted in blue and then select a time, once you have done that, select "next".
  6. On the next page, you input all your contact information and select "next"
  7. The next page is a review of your appointment time and information.  If all looks good, click "confirm"
  8. You will receive an email with all your confirmed appointment.  You will need to bring that either on paper or via your phone to be allowed into the Houston Permitting Center.  Masks are strongly encouraged.

If you prefer to social distance by not coming to the Houston Permitting Center, you may email your questions or concerns or renewal documents to .

Administration and Regulatory Affairs

Commercial Permitting

MISSION: Commercial Permitting & Enforcement has five primary functions:

  • Customer service
  • Billing and collections
  • Enforcement
  • Burglar Alarm Administration
  • Online Permitting

To this end, we daily engage in compliance investigations, permit processing and fee collection activities associated with over 50 various commercial permits.

Applying for Commercial Permits

In Person: Houston Permitting Center
1002 Washington Avenue
Houston, TX 77002


By Mail: Houston Permitting Center
ATTN: Commercial Permitting
P.O. Box 1561
Houston, Texas 77251

** For first time online access, account activation must be requested here:

Permits available online: Alcoholic Beverage License/Permit, Human Trafficking Certification, Coin-Operated Machine Registration, Dealer Permit, Donation Box License, Game Room License, Noise and Sound Permit, Street Vendor Permits.

**Administrative Fee - $31.32**

On December 15, 2010 City Council passed Ordinance Number 2010-1016 which amended the City of Houston Code of Ordinances by adding “Sec. 1-14 Administrative Fee”. In 2023, Section 1-14 requires an administrative fee of $31.32 to be collected at the time of application for any license, permit or service for which the fee is greater than $50.00. This includes all renewals regardless of whether or not an application is filed. This fee is in addition to the fee for the license, permit or service.

Click the links below for Permit Requirements:

Alcohol and Alcohol-Related BusinessAlternate Housing / Correction FacilitiesAntique Dealer, Precious Metal Dealer, Resale Media & Clothing DealerBurglar and Panic AlarmsCarnivalCharitable SolicitationCoin-Operated Amusement Machine DecalsCommon MarketCredit Access Business (Payday and Car Title Lenders)Dance HallsDonation BoxesGame RoomsGarage Sales / Yard SalesMetal RecyclersMini-WarehouseSecond Hand ResellersSexually Oriented BusinessesSexually Oriented Business EmployeesSound and Noise-Related EquipmentSecurity Camera FAQsStreet Vendors

Criminal History Background Check Process & Texas Fingerprint Service Code Form

To comply with the Code of Ordinances of the City of Houston, applicants seeking the following types of permits shall consent to and complete state or federal forms that are required to obtain a criminal history report. The applicable types of permits are:

Crafted Precious Metal Dealer • Dance Hall Operator • Game Room Operator • Metal Recycler Dealer • S.O.B. Employee

Applicants have the option of registering online by using the link above, or registering in person with the Commercial Permitting & Enforcement Section at the Houston Permitting Center, 1002 Washington Avenue, 77002.