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  • Charlene Stark

Chicago Sign Permit Application: Your Complete Guide

Updated: 5 days ago



If you're planning to install a new sign in Chicago, it's important to understand the city's sign permit application process. Failure to obtain the necessary permits can result in fines and the removal of your sign. In this article, we'll provide a complete guide to Chicago sign permit application, including information on the types of signs that require a permit, the application process, and tips for success. We'll also address frequently asked questions about Chicago sign permit application.


Types of Signs That Require a Permit in Chicago

Not all signs in Chicago require a permit. However, certain types of signs are subject to specific regulations and require a permit before they can be installed. These include:

  • Illuminated signs: Any sign that is internally or externally illuminated, including neon signs, LED signs, and backlit signs, must be permitted.

  • Freestanding signs: Signs that are supported by their own structure, such as monument signs or pylon signs, require a permit.

  • Wall signs: Signs that are attached to a building's exterior, including painted murals and vinyl graphics, must be permitted.

  • Temporary signs: Signs that are intended to be displayed for a limited time, such as event banners and construction signs, require a permit.

It's important to note that even if your sign does not fall into one of these categories, it may still require a permit if it exceeds certain size or placement restrictions. It's always a good idea to check with the City of Chicago's Department of Buildings before beginning the sign permit application process.


How to Apply for a Sign Permit in Chicago

The sign permit application process in Chicago is handled by the Department of Buildings. To apply for a sign permit, you'll need to submit the following information:

  • A completed sign permit application form

  • Detailed drawings or plans of the sign, including dimensions, materials, and lighting specifications

  • A site plan showing the location of the sign on the property

  • A sign design review fee

It's important to note that the Department of Buildings has specific guidelines for sign design, including maximum size and placement restrictions. You'll need to ensure that your sign meets these guidelines in order to be approved for a permit.

Once you've gathered all of the necessary information and documents, you can submit your sign permit application online through the Department of Buildings' website. Alternatively, you can submit your application in person at the Department of Buildings' offices.


Tips for Successful Sign Permit Application in Chicago

Here are some tips for maximizing your chances of success during the sign permit application process in Chicago:

  • Work with a professional: Installing a new sign can be a complex process, and it's always a good idea to work with a sign professional who is familiar with the permit application process in Chicago. A permit expediter can help you navigate the process, ensure that you have all of the necessary documents, and provide guidance on design and placement to maximize your chances of approval.

  • Double-check the guidelines: Before you begin designing your sign, be sure to review the Department of Buildings' guidelines for sign design. This will help you avoid common mistakes that can lead to delays or denial of your permit application.

  • Allow plenty of time: The sign permit application process in Chicago can take several weeks, so it's important to allow plenty of time for your application to be reviewed and approved. It's a good idea to start the process as early as possible to ensure that you have plenty of time to make any necessary changes or revisions to your sign design.

  • Be prepared for possible changes: It's possible that the Department of Buildings may request changes to your sign design in order to comply with the city's guidelines. Be prepared to make any necessary adjustments in order to get your permit approved.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chicago Sign Permit Application

Here are some common questions about Chicago sign permit application:

  • How much does a sign permit cost in Chicago? The cost of a sign permit in Chicago varies depending on the size and type of sign, as well as the location of the property. The Department of Buildings' website provides a fee schedule that outlines the costs for different types of signs.

  • How long does it take to get a sign permit in Chicago? The sign permit application process in Chicago typically takes several weeks. It's a good idea to allow at least a month for your application to be reviewed and approved.

  • Can I install my sign before I get my permit? No. It is illegal to install a sign in Chicago without a valid permit.

  • What happens if I don't get a sign permit? If you install a sign in Chicago without a valid permit, you may be subject to fines and the removal of your sign. It's always a good idea to follow the city's sign permit process to avoid any potential legal issues.

Obtaining a sign permit in Chicago is an important step in the process of installing a new sign. By understanding the types of signs that require a permit, the application process, and tips for success, you can ensure that your sign is in compliance with the city's regulations and avoid any potential legal issues. Working with a professional permit expediter can also help you navigate the process smoothly and efficiently.

Hiring a permit expediter can be especially helpful when it comes to navigating the sign permit application process in Chicago. A permit expediter is a professional who specializes in obtaining permits and approvals from local governments and agencies. They have extensive knowledge of the regulations and requirements for different types of permits, and can help ensure that your application is complete and accurate.

Working with a permit expediter can save you time and effort, as they can handle the process of gathering the necessary documents, submitting the application, and following up with the relevant agencies. They can also provide valuable guidance on design and placement to help you get your permit approved as quickly as possible. In addition, a permit expediter can help you avoid common mistakes that could lead to delays or denial of your permit application. Overall, hiring a permit expediter can be a wise investment when it comes to obtaining a sign permit in Chicago.


If you're planning to install a new sign in Chicago and need help navigating the sign permit application process, consider working with a professional permit expediter like Permit Studio. Our team of experts can help ensure that your application is complete and accurate, and provide valuable guidance on design and placement to maximize your chances of approval. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you obtain your sign permit quickly and efficiently.


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