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  • Erika Guzman Cornejo

How to Obtain a Los Angeles Sidewalk and Park Vending Permit

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

As of 2020, street vending is legal in the City of Los Angeles, so long as vendors have a permit. Using these permits, one can sell merchandise or food; though, the process to obtain a food permit is quite strenuous. Here are things you should know about the process of obtaining different permits:

  • You can face fines from $250 to $1,000 for not having the proper paperwork.

  • You must have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the Vending Permit.

    • If you do not have an ITIN, you must file a Form W-7, Application for IRS ITIN, with your federal income tax return.

    • You will have to provide original documentation or certified copies from the issuing agencies to provide identity and foreign status.

      • The CSUN VITA site supports with ITIN filings year-round. It has Certifying Acceptance Agents that certify and approve documents without having to mail them to the IRS.

  • To apply for the StreetsLA Vending Permit, you will need to bring a government-issued photo ID, like a Driver’s License, California Identification, Passport or Consular ID.

    • However, vending permits are by appointment-only. You can make an appointment by calling (213) 847-6000.

    • There is a $541 permit fee.

  • Tamale carts are the only hot food carts currently permitted. Food must be prepared in a shared kitchen with a Department of Public Health Permit.

  • LA BusinessSource Centers offer free help to get your permits. You can find their 8 locations here.

Applying for a Los Angeles Sidewalk and Park Vending Permit:

  • You must have a Business Tax Registration Certificate (BTRC) issued by the Los Angeles Office of Finance

    • You can apply online or in person. There is no fee for this permit, but one is responsible for paying for city taxes.

    • This process typically only takes one day as long as you have the right documents: ID, ITIN/SSN

  • You must have a seller’s permit from the California Department of Tax & Fee Administration

    • You will need your projected monthly sales, monthly taxable sales, and products list in order to apply.

    • You can apply online or in person. There is no fee for this permit, but one is responsible for paying quarterly or annual sales tax. This is typically also done in one day.

  • If you will be vending food, you will need a health permit issued by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health.

    • This process can take up to 4 weeks.

If you would like to use a cart, you will have to:

  1. Submit two sets of detailed cart plans, complete a Plan Check application, and pay cart Plan Check fee. You must have a public health permit in order to operate a mobile food facility. These permits are issued for the cart, not the individual seller.

  2. Once your cart plan is approved, you are responsible for building the mobile food cart based on the approved plan.

  3. Call the Plan Check Program at (626) 430-5560 to schedule the Final Inspection (conducted at 5050 Commerce Drive Baldwin Park, CA 91706) to verify the cart was built to the specifications.

  4. Once your cart has been approved, you will provide the following:

  • Commissary contract

  • You are required to have access to an approved commissary for:

    • Storage for food, containers, or supplies

    • Preparation and packaging of food

    • Washing of utensils and equipment

    • Draining liquid waste and garbage

    • Refilling of clean water tanks

    • Storage of cart

  • Route slips

  • Public Health Permit application

  • Permit fee

    • The annual fee amount depends on whether you are selling pre-packaged food or food that requires limited preparation.

For additional street vending resources:

For more help, contact togetherforla@isdus.orgor call (833) 473-2020.

Click here to read this information in Spanish.

"Los Angeles Sidewalk and Park Vending Permit Checklist” Infographic

Download the below infographic:

PDF ENG LA Street Vending Permit Checklist
Download PDF • 297KB

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