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  • Charlene Stark

Navigating the Sign Permit Process in Chicago: Tips and Tricks

Updated: 5 days ago





Installing a new sign in Chicago is an exciting opportunity to promote your business or event, but it's important to understand the city's sign permit requirements before you get started. Obtaining a sign permit ensures that your sign meets the city's design and placement guidelines and helps to prevent accidents or other issues that could result from improperly installed signs. In this article, we'll take a look at the sign permit process in Chicago and provide some tips and tricks to help you navigate it smoothly and efficiently.


The Sign Permit Process in Chicago

The process for obtaining a sign permit in Chicago varies depending on the type of sign you plan to install. Here's an overview of the general process:

  1. Determine the type of sign you need: Chicago has a range of sign options available, including illuminated signs, freestanding signs, wall signs, and temporary signs. Each type of sign has its own set of regulations and requirements for obtaining a permit. It's important to consider these factors when deciding which type of sign is right for your business or event.

  2. Gather the necessary documents: To apply for a sign permit in Chicago, you'll need to submit a completed sign permit application form, detailed drawings or plans of the sign, a site plan showing the location of the sign on the property, and a sign design review fee. Depending on the type of sign, you may also need to provide additional information or documentation.

  3. Submit your application: Once you have all of the necessary documents, you can submit your sign permit application to the City of Chicago's Department of Buildings.

  4. Wait for approval: 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.

  5. Install your sign: Once your sign permit is approved, you can proceed with the installation of your sign. Be sure to follow the city's guidelines for sign installation to ensure that your sign is safe and in compliance with the law.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Sign Permit Applications in Chicago

To ensure that your sign permit application is approved as quickly as possible, it's important to avoid common mistakes during the process. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

  • 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's 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.

  • Consider the location of your sign: The location of your sign can affect the likelihood of your permit being approved. Be sure to consider factors such as visibility, traffic patterns, and the proximity of other signs when selecting a location for your sign.

Steps to Take If Your Sign Permit Application is Denied

If your sign permit application is denied, it's important to understand your options. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Review the reasons for denial: The Department of Buildings will provide a written explanation for the denial of your sign permit application. Review this explanation carefully to understand the reasons for the denial and what you can do to address them.

  • Make necessary changes: If your sign design was the reason for the denial, you'll need to make the necessary changes to your design in order to meet the city's guidelines. This may involve working with a sign professional to revise your design and resubmit your application.

  • Appeal the decision: If you believe that the denial of your sign permit application was not justified, you may be able to appeal the decision. You'll need to submit a written request for appeal along with any supporting documentation to the Department of Buildings.


Navigating the sign permit process in Chicago can be a challenging but necessary step in the process of installing a new sign. By understanding the different types of signs available, the process for obtaining a sign permit, and how to avoid common mistakes during the application process, 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. Don't risk it - make sure to obtain a sign permit before installing your sign in Chicago.

If you're planning to install a new sign in Chicago and want to avoid the challenges of navigating the sign permit process on your own, consider working with a professional permit expediter like Permit Studio. Our team of experts can help you understand the different types of signs available, the process for obtaining a sign permit, and how to avoid common mistakes during the application process. We can also help you navigate the permit application process smoothly and efficiently, saving you time and effort. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you succeed with your sign permit application.

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