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Who Must Have an Employment Agency License?
You must have an Employment Agency license if, for a fee, you procure or attempt to procure employment or engagements for persons seeking employment or engagements, or assist employers in procuring employees.
Your agency must do business in New York City in order to be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). If your office is located in New York State, but not within New York City, please contact the New York State Governor’s Office of Regulatory Reform, Permit Assistance:
Phone: (800) 342-3464
You do NOT need an Employment Agency License if you are one of the following types of business:
- Temporary Employment Agency: You are the employer and you contract out your employees, all of whom receive a W-2 form from you at the end of the year and you meet the criteria of an employer.
- Theatrical Personal Manager: Your primary business is managing artists. Exception: If your primary business is finding employment or engagements for artists for a fee, you are a “theatrical employment agency” and need an Employment Agency License.
- Certain Executive Search Firm and Employer Fee Paid Agencies: Your agency places only commercial, clerical, executive, administrative, and professional applicants, and never charges the applicant a fee of any kind. If you fit this category, you do not need a license, but you must comply with all sections of the New York State Employment Agency Law relating to Employer Fee Paid Agencies.
This description is only a general explanation of who must have an Employment Agency license. Refer to the Law/Rules handout, which includes sections of New York City Laws and Rules regarding Employment Agencies, New York General Business Law, and New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law.
Quick List of Application Requirements
- Basic License Application
- Business Certificate
- Employment Agency Self-Certification OR Theatrical Employment Agency Self-Certification (to be completed by Owner)
- Copy of Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond), properly signed
- Fingerprints and $87 Processing Fee
- Copy of Fee Paid Letters (if applicable)
- Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (if applicable)
- License Fee
Before You File Your DCA License Application:
You must obtain the following required documents before filing your application.
- Applicable Business Certificates based on your Business's Legal Structure
- Sole Proprietorships operating under a name other than your own must file a Business/Assumed Name Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
- Sole Proprietorships doing business under your own name—and not under a trade or Doing-Business-As (DBA) name—do not need a Business Certificate.
- General/Business Partnerships must file your Partnership Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
- Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Department of State. Active status will be verified by DCA prior to license issuance. You can confirm the status of your business entity at http://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/bus_entity_search.html. If applicable, you must also file an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.
- Businesses incorporated out of state must obtain a Certificate of Doing Business in Good Standing from your home state’s Secretary of State and file this with an application for Authority to Conduct Business in New York with the New York State Secretary of State.
- Premises Approval by the Department of Buildings
You cannot operate your business in a residential building. If you plan to operate in a building that is both commercial and residential, your agency must be placed in the commercial part of the building. DCA will verify your premises with the Department of Buildings (DOB) to ensure you are operating in a commercial space. Although DCA does not require submission of DOB documents in order to process your application in person or online, DCA reserves the right to request and examine the documents under section 20-104 of the New York City Administrative Code.
When You File Your DCA License Application:
Below are requirements when filing your license application. If you fail to submit all documents, your application will be denied.
- Basic License Application
Online submission: After reviewing the application requirements, please click the Apply Online link at the bottom of the Web page to submit your application.
In-person submission: Download the Basic License Application Form.
Reminder: If your business legal structure is sole proprietorship or general or limited partnership, you must complete the Child Support Certification section of the application.
- Business Certificate.
See description above.
- Employment Agency Self-Certification (download) OR Theatrical Employment Agency Self-Certification (download)
The owner (e.g., sole proprietor, general partner, director, corporate officer, or shareholder owning 10% or more of company stock) must complete the appropriate Self-Certification for your agency:
- If you place or attempt to place job applicants in employment other than theatrical engagements, you must complete the Employment Agency Self-Certification (download)
- If you place or attempt to place job applicants in theatrical engagements (e.g., actors, singers, models, directors, writers, musicians), you must complete the Theatrical Employment Agency Self-Certification (download)
Note: If the owner is not also the Employment Agency Manager, then the Employment Agency Manager must complete and certify PART II of the appropriate Self-Certification. The Employment Agency Manager is responsible for directing and operating the placement activities of the employment agency.
- Copy of your Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond), properly signed
Applicants that will engage in the recruitment of domestic or household employees from outside the United States or conduct a modeling/theatrical agency must submit a $10,000 bond certificate. All other employment agency applicants must submit a $5,000 bond certificate. The copy of the bond must name the Department of Consumer Affairs as the Certificate Holder. Your corporate name, Doing-Business-As (DBA) name (if any), and premises address must be exactly the same on all documents. You must also submit a copy of the bond receipt showing that the bond has been paid in full and does not expire before the end of the licensing period. For reference, download a list of bonding companies.
- Copy of Fee Paid Letters
If you will never charge applicants a fee within a class of employment, for each such class a signed “fee paid” letter from a principal of the agency is required stating:
None of our [insert class name] applicants will ever be charged a fee. All fees will be paid to this agency by their employer.
You must also submit a sample of all contracts for which you intend to enter with the employer. Each employment category must be represented either by an applicant contract or an employer contract in conjunction with a “fee paid” letter as described above.
Classes of Employment:
- Class A (domestic household workers, unskilled or untrained manual workers and laborers)
- Class A1 (non-professional trained or skilled industrial workers or mechanics)
- Class B (commercial, clerical, executive, administrative, and professional employment; all employment outside the continental United States; and all other employment not included in classes A, A1, C, and D)
- Class C (theatrical engagements)
- Class D (nursing engagements)
- Fingerprints and Processing Fee
All employment agency managers, sole proprietors, general partners, directors, corporate officers, and all shareholders owning 10% or more of company stock must be fingerprinted at the DCA Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center. EXCEPTIONS: Any person who was fingerprinted or provided fingerprints for an active DCA license within the last three years does not need to be fingerprinted.
You must visit the DCA Licensing Center or NYC Small Business Support Center with photo identification (ID) and pay an $87 processing fee. Acceptable forms of ID include:
- Driver’s license or non-driver’s license identification issued by a State Department of Motor Vehicles
- License or permit issued by a government agency
- Alien card/green card
- City, State, or Federal employee ID card
- Municipal ID card
Your fingerprints will be checked for any criminal record that you may have. Note that a conviction will not necessarily prevent you from being granted a license. However, failure to reveal a conviction can constitute grounds for the denial of your application.
- Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (download)
If this application will be filed by someone other than the license applicant, the license applicant must submit a Granting Authority to Act Affirmation. Note: The applicant must sign all required documents.
- License Fee
The chart below lists the amount due depending upon when you file your license application and the number of placement employees. Note: An odd year is any year ending in an odd digit; for example, 2017. An even year is any year ending in an even digit; for example, 2018.
Employment Agency License Fee
- License Term:2 Years
- License Expiration Date:May 1, Even years
- From May 2 in an even year to April 30 in an odd year. $500 $700
- From May 1 in an odd year to October 31 in an odd year $250 $350
- From November 1 in an odd year to May 1 in an even year $125 or *$625 $175 or *$875
*If you are applying within six months of the license expiration date, you can pay the prorated fee for the remaining license term plus the full fee to renew the license for the next term. If you pay both fees, you will not need to renew the license until the end of the next license period.
The DCA Licensing Center and the NYC Small Business Support Center accept payment by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card) or check or money order made payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.
If you submit your application online, you must pay with a major credit card.
Note: Credit card payments are subject to a nonrefundable 2.49% convenience fee. In the event the payment to which it relates is canceled, refunded, credited, or charged back, you must contact your credit card company to dispute the convenience fee.
Application Filing Process
File in person at one of the following locations:
- DCA Licensing Center at 42 Broadway, Lobby, in Manhattan. Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
- NYC Small Business Support Center at 90-27 Sutphin Blvd, 4th Floor, in Jamaica, Queens. Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If you do not speak or understand English well, please let us know when you arrive on-site and we will provide translation services.
- Please review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below. Note: At this time, the service is available using a laptop or desktop computer only.
- If you haven’t registered an account with the City of New York, you will need to register an account before you can proceed to the online application.
- After you submit the online application, follow the instructions on the confirmation page. DCA cannot process incomplete applications.
- Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the Apply for a DCA License page to read requirements and proceed to the online application.
Additional Resources for Employment Agency
Below are resources to help employment agencies know the law and their responsibilities:
- Law/Rules Handout (Employment Agencies)
Reminders: Under the law, employment agencies must:
- Post signage.
DCA will provide you with the listed signs, which you must post in the reception or waiting area, where all job applicants can see them.
- New York Employment Agencies Law poster containing Sections 178, 181, 185, and 186 of the New York General Business Law
Note: You must display posters in the language in which your agency does business. DCA can provide copies of the poster in English and/or Spanish.
- U.S. Anti-Discrimination Poster
- New York State Anti-Discrimination Poster
- DCA Complaint Sign containing DCA’s contact information
- Provide contracts and receipts.
You must give each job applicant a written contract. You must also give a receipt to each job applicant who pays a fee, deposit, or any other payment as confirmation of payment. Contracts and receipts must include all information required by Section 181 of the New York General Business Law. For convenience, download the model contract in English and Español (Spanish) and a model receipt in English and Español (Spanish).
Theatrical Employment Agencies
In addition to the requirements of Section 181 of the New York General Business Law, the contracts that you use must also include all information required by Section 37.01 of the New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law. A sample theatrical employment agency contract approved for use by DCA is available at: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dca/downloads/pdf/about/LegalInterp-Talent-Agencies.pdf.
- Give each applicant a Statement of Employee Rights and Employer Responsibilities and Statement of Job Conditions.
If you place job applicants as Class A domestic or household workers, you must give each applicant DCA’s “Domestic or Household Employees: Statement of Employee Rights and Employer Responsibilities” and “Statement of Job Conditions.”
- Maintain a register.
Employment agencies must maintain a “Register” containing applicant and employer information.
- Inspection Checklist: Employment Agencies
- Job Hunter’s Bill of Rights Poster
Visit www.nyc.gov/dca to download the poster in multiple languages or contact 311.
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