Illuminated Sign FAQ


  1. What is an illuminated sign?
  2. Do I need to obtain a permit to erect an illuminated sign?
  3. How do I obtain a permit for an illuminated sign?
  4. How often must the illuminated sign permit be renewed?
  5. What should I do when I remove a sign from my property?
  6. How do I cancel an illuminated sign permit?
  7. The wording of my illuminated sign has changed, must I modify my illuminated sign permit?
  8. How do I change the wording on the illuminated sign permit?
  9. I received a bill for an illuminated sign permit but I am not the owner of the property where the sign is located. What can I do?
  10. I received a bill to renew an illuminated sign permit but the information in the bill is incorrect. What can I do?
  11. I submitted payment to renew my illuminated sign permit but I never received the new permit. What should I do?
  12. What should I do if I receive the illuminated sign permit but do not receive a bill?
  13. Why is the Department of Finance billing me for my illuminated sign permit when these charges are for fees due to the Department of Buildings?
  14. How is the annual illuminated sign permit fee calculated?
  15. Are there regulations for erecting an illuminated sign in New York City, e.g., maximum size, wording, formatting, etc.?
  16. I received a violation related to a illuminated sign on my property. What should I do?


1. What is an illuminated sign?
An illuminated sign is a sign that is illuminated by electrical means. All wiring and accessory electrical equipment shall conform to the provisions of the NYC Electrical Code.

[Back to Top]


2. Do I need to obtain a permit to erect an illuminated sign?
All illuminated signs require permits from the Department of Buildings. Nearly all signs regardless of illumination require permits as well.

[Back to Top]


3. How do I obtain a permit for an illuminated sign?
To obtain a permit, an application must be filed at the Department of Buildings Borough office in the borough where the sign will be located.

[Back to Top]


4. How often must the illuminated sign permit be renewed?
An illuminated sign permit must be renewed annually. The permit is issued by the Department of Buildings, but the bill is generated by the Department of Finance. The bill is sent to the property owner mailing address, not the tenant. The tenant must contact the property owner for the illuminated sign permit.

[Back to Top]


5. What should I do when I remove a sign from my property?
The property owner must notify the Department of Buildings that they are canceling the permit.

[Back to Top]

6. How do I cancel an illuminated sign permit?
To cancel an illuminated sign permit, you must submit a statement from a New York City licensed electrician indicating that the sign has been properly removed or de-electrified. The statement must be on company letterhead and shall include the following information:

  • The date of removal (if known)
  • The electrician's license number
  • The address, borough, tax block, and lot number of the property where the sign was located
  • The illuminated sign permit number
  • The dimensions of the sign (height and length if known)
  • A statement indicating whether any other illuminated signs are at the location and if so, the dimensions (height and length) of each sign
  • A statement indicating that the conditions after the removal of the sign comply with the NYC Electrical Code and that no exposed wiring exists or is visible.
  • A photograph of the premise (front and side view) where sign was located must be submitted.

[Back to Top]


7. The wording of my illuminated sign has changed, must I modify my illuminated sign permit?
Yes. The illuminated sign permit must reflect the current wording on the illuminated sign.

[Back to Top]


8. How do I change the wording on the illuminated sign permit?
To change the wording on the illuminated sign permit, the property owner must submit a signed letter indicating the following information:

  • The new wording on the sign
  • The address, tax borough, block, and lot numbers where the sign is located
  • The illuminated sign permit number (if known) The dimensions of the sign (Height X Length)

[Back to Top]


9. I received a bill for an illuminated sign permit but I am not the owner of the property where the sign is located. What can I do?
You should mark the bill as " Wrong Owner" and mail it back to:

New York City Department of Buildings
Central Filing and Billing (CFB)
280 Broadway - 6th Floor
New York, NY 10007

[Back to Top]


10. I received a bill to renew an illuminated sign permit but the information in the bill is incorrect. What can I do?
You should indicate on the bill what is not correct and mail it back to:

New York City Department of Buildings
Central Filing and Billing (CFB)
280 Broadway - 6th Floor
New York, NY 10007

[Back to Top]


11. I submitted payment to renew my illuminated sign permit but I never received the new permit. What should I do?
If the permit renewal is not received after payment is submitted, the owner/managing agent of the property can contact Central Filing and Billing. Be prepared to provide the following information:

Address where sign is located
Borough, Tax Block, and Lot Number
Permit Number (if known)


Note: Tenants are advised to speak to their owner/managing agent before contacting the Department. An illuminated sign permit cannot be issued to the tenant of the property unless written authorization is given by the owner/managing agent.

[Back to Top]


12. What should I do if I receive the illuminated sign permit but do not receive a bill?
Please contact the Department of Finance's hotline at (212) 504-4080. The permit is issued by the Department of Buildings but the bill is generated by the Department of Finance. The bill is sent to the property owner mailing address, not the tenant. The tenant must contact the property owner for the illuminated sign permit.

[Back to Top]


13. Why is the Department of Finance billing me for my illuminated sign permit when these charges are for fees due to the Department of Buildings?
The Department of Finance provides billing services for many city agencies. Payments for illuminated sign permits should be made payable to the Department of Finance and sent directly to the address noted on the bill. Payments sent to the Department of Buildings will be returned to sender.

[Back to Top]


14. How is the annual illuminated sign permit fee calculated?
The permit fee is established by the New York City Administrative Code, Section 26-212. The fee is based on the type of sign and the dimensions (square footage) of the sign. Any change in dimensions will require a new application to be filed.

[Back to Top]


15. Are there regulations for erecting a illuminated sign in New York City, e.g., maximum size, wording, formatting, etc.?
Yes. Many regulations exist regarding installation of signage. For information regarding the laws regulating location and size of a sign, please contact the appropriate Borough office Plan Examination unit.

[Back to Top]


16. I received a violation related to an illuminated sign on my property. What should I do?
Questions pertaining to an existing or recently issued violation may be directed to the Construction Division in the appropriate Borough office. Some information may be available on the Buildings Information System. Copies of violations can also be obtained at the Borough office.

[Back to Top]