WA State Licensing: Vancouver city business license

City of Vancouver

Who needs a license?

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. In addition, if more than one business is operated at a single location address, a separate city business license is required for each business.


City business licenses are not transferrable. Each new owner must apply for a city business license.


Note: Vancouver categorizes business licenses as: General, Home, Nonprofit, or Exempt. Upon successfully completing the application process (see “How to apply” section below), you will be issued a state business license showing the appropriate city license category in the “City Endorsement” section of the state license.

Nonprofit and other city fee-exempt businesses

Certain businesses are exempt from paying city license fees. If your business qualifies for one or more of Vancouver’s business license fee exemption criteria, you can claim the appropriate exempt status on the city addendum part of the license application. The city will review the application and, if the business is qualified, make a determination of exemption from paying city license fees.

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.

Home-based businesses

Each business with a location address that is a residence within city limits, even when no customers come to the residence, must comply with Vancouver’s home occupation standards and may need to obtain a city Home Occupation Permit, in addition to obtaining a city business license. For information about the permit and related standards, go to Vancouver’s Home Occupation Permit webpage.

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.



City license Fee
Vancouver general business license $125
Vancouver nonprofit or exempt business license $0
Vancouver employee fee $90 per FTE
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 the city license fees. To request the refund, send a detailed email with the UBI number, business name, location address, date paid, requested refund amount, and reason for the error to: business.licenses@cityofvancouver.us, or see refund process guidelines at: www.cityofvancouver.us/businesslicense.


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.

Mailing information

Please remember to enclose all necessary documents and fees with your completed application. Incomplete submissions will result in a delay in your licensure.

It is important that you contact our office, in writing, with any changes in address.

Regulatory questions

City of Vancouver
415 W. 6th St
Vancouver, WA 98668
Phone: 360-487-8410 option 3
Fax: 360-487-8483