How can I apply for a business license in Providence, Rhode Island?

You may obtain the business license application, also known to the City of Providence as the Business Registration Form, from two locations: the City of Providence’s website at and the State of Rhode Island’s website at Although the Business Registration Form can be accessed from online, at this time it may not be submitted on the internet. If you wish, you may print the Business Registration Form, complete it, and remit it to Providence City Hall. You may also complete the application and mail it to Providence City Hall. Submit the Business Registration Form to:

Providence City Hall
25 Dorrance Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903

What is the cost of applying for a business license in Providence, Rhode Island?

The cost varies, based on what genre of business you will have and what you will earn for your annual gross receipts. The City of Providence does not post estimates online because they need to speak with you either in person or by telephone to provide you an estimate that is accurate as everyone is unique. They require specific information to determine the fees.

Who approves or denies a Providence, Rhode Island business license or business registration?

There are five members that are appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council that compose the Board of Licenses. Their responsibility is to deny or approve licenses, to regulate those licenses, and to uphold various state statues. Some of these licenses are: food, liquor, peddlers, secondhand and junk stores, entertainment, and Sunday sales. The acceptance or denial of a Business Registration takes approximately one to three days from the time that the Business Registration Form was submitted with all necessary permits and fees.

Are there any businesses that aren’t required to have a Providence, Rhode Island license?

Yes. Hair salons, barber shops, new clothes and shoes stores, video stores and bicycle shops are not required to have a Providence business license. Although the City of Providence does not require these to have a Business License or Business Registration, they still may have to register a Trade Name for their business with the City Clerk.

How do I verify zoning requirements in Providence, Rhode Island?

Part of obtaining a business license is verifying that your location conforms to the City of Providence’s zoning protocols. First, discover what zoning district the property is in. Next, check the use regulations for the property. Third, verify dimensional requirements. Lastly, check if the property is in an overlay district and verify parking and sign requirements. If you are unsure how to verify this information or you have any questions whatsoever regarding zoning, please contact the Zoning Enforcement Officer at (410) 421-7740.

Do you still have questions about obtaining a business license in Providence, Rhode Island?

The Providence, Rhode Island city office hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During the summer, office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There are two phone numbers that you may utilize to contact the City of Providence in regards to questions you may have about business licenses: (401) 421-7740 and (401) 751-0203. Providence City Hall is located at 25 Dorrance Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903.

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