WA State Licensing: Vancouver city business license

City of Vancouver

Who needs a license?

The city of Vancouver requires all businesses to be licensed with the city if they are:

  • Located within city limits, or
  • Conducting business within city limits.

To confirm if your business location is within city limits, go to the city limits map or call the city at

360-487-8410 option 3, before applying for a city license.

A separate city business license is required for each location in the city; and if more than one business is operated at a single location address, a separate city business license is required for each business.

Nonprofit businesses

An organization that qualifies for at least one city nonprofit employee-fee exemption criterion can be exempt from city business license employee fee upon correctly completing the City Addendum part of the application. The organization must attach a copy of its IRS 501(c) tax exempt certification letter to the license application.

Home Occupation businesses

A business with a location address that is a residence in city limits must hold a city business license; as well as, comply with city home occupation standards; see: Vancouver’s home occupation permit webpage. Fees for a home occupation business license are the same as for a general business license.

Special licenses

Some businesses may need a city special license in addition to obtaining a city business license. For more information, go to Vancouver’s Special Licenses webpage or contact city at 360-487-8410 option 3.

General, Non-Resident, and Home Occupation businesses

The license fee for a business operating in this city - whether based inside or outside this city - is determined by gross annual income earned within this city’s limits and number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees working within this city’s limits (see Requirements and Fee Calcuation Instructions below):

Reported gross annual income License fee
$0 through $12,000 No fee
Above $12,000 Variable

A business that expects to generate $12,000 or less in annual gross receipts in city limits must hold a city business license, but can be exempt from paying all city business license fees upon correctly completing the income estimate part of the business license application or annual renewal. For questions about this exemption, contact the city at 360-487-8410 option 3, before applying for this city license.


See Requirements and Fee Calculation Instructions

City license Fee
Vancouver general business license Variable
Vancouver general non-resident business license Variable
Vancouver home occupation business license Variable
Vancouver nonprofit business license $200
Other fees that may apply Fee
State tax registration No fee
Registering your business name as trade name $5
Business License Application fee $19 (non-refundable)


REFUND PROCESS; CITY FEES ONLY: After applying, if you determine you obtained a city business license in error or paid the incorrect employee fee amount, you may be eligible for a full or partial refund of city license fees. See “How to Request Refund of City Fees” at: cityofvancouver.us/businesslicense or contact the city at 360-487-8410 option 3

How to apply

Apply by using one of the following options:

  • Online with My DOR. My DOR works best with Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

    1. Login using your Secure Access Washington (SAW) user ID. If you don’t have a user ID or aren’t sure, see if you have an account first before signing up.
    2. Click Getting Started on the Business Licensing and Tax service.
    3. Follow the steps below based on your business status.

    If you do not have an existing business

      1. Click File New Business License Application. Be sure to select the endorsements for which you wish to apply.

    If you have an existing business

      1. If you haven’t already, add access to your business. You’ll need a UBI number and letter ID.
      2. Click on the business you want to apply for a license/endorsement under, then click on the location.
      3. Click File New Business License Application.

    You can pay using an E-check or a major credit card (gift cards can’t be used).

    Find more help for using My DOR, including video tutorials.


Contact information

State of Washington
Business Licensing Service
PO Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034


Phone: 1-800-451-7985
Email: bls@dor.wa.gov
Fax: 360-705-6699

Office hours

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Regulatory questions

City of Vancouver
415 W. 6th St
Vancouver, WA 98668


Phone: 360-487-8410 option 3
Fax: 360-487-8483