Types of licenses
Adult entertainment businesses in unincorporated King County, including peepshows and those offering nude and/or semi-nude dancing, require an Adult Entertainment License.
All entertainers and managers in an adult business which offers nude or semi-nude dancing must have an Entertainer's or Manager's License. For more information, see Entertainer's or Manager's.
Any person or business in unincorporated King County operating or permitting operation of any novelty amusement devices such as pinball, video, air hockey, dart and shuffleboard games, and pool tables must ensure that the games are licensed (Title 6* of the King County Code).
Potential types of businesses where these licenses might be required are taverns, lounges, bowling alleys, video arcades, pool halls, fast food stores, and restaurants.
- Pool table licenses expire one year from the date of application.
- License fees for less than one year are pro-rated quarterly. The license year runs January through December with licenses expiring December 31st of each year.
- Shuffleboards licenses expire one year from the date of application.
- Carnival License fees are based on units, units include rides, sideshows, and merchandise and food concessions.
- For this license type proof of public liability insurance policy providing for a minimum of $300,000 bodily injury coverage per occurrence, $100,000 bodily injury coverage per person, and $25,000 property damage coverage is also required.
- Proof of public liability insurance is also required. Additional safety standards apply.
For a King County charitable solicitation business license, please note:
- All charitable organizations soliciting for contributions in unincorporated King County are required to apply for a King County business license (Title 6* of the King County Code).
- All charitable organizations soliciting for contributions in unincorporated King County also must register with the Secretary of State's Charities Division external link (call 1-800-332-GIVE).
Exceptions to licensing requirements in unincorporated King County are:
- Religious organizations are not required to license unless solicitations are for a charitable purpose.
- Charitable organizations collecting $2,500 or less are not required to license.
An application for a King County Charitable Solicitation business license must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the commencement of solicitation.
Licensing documentation requirements include:
- Financial statement for preceding fiscal year on a King County Charitable Solicitation Fiscal Year Financial Statement form.
- Itemization of the estimated cost of the solicitation.
- Statement of the amount of any wages, fees, commission, salaries and expenses to be paid to any person in connection with solicitation.
- If solicitation is by means of coin or currency boxes and/or receptacles, locations for each box and/or receptacle.
- Verification of 501(c) tax exemption status and registration with the Secretary of State's Charities Division.
- Financial records are open to the public for review.
To apply for a Charitable Solicitation license, do one of the following:
- Download and complete the Charitable Solicitation Application form.
- Attach other documentation outlined in the application form.
- If applicable, attach a King County Charitable Solicitation Fiscal Year Financial Statement for the preceding year.
A King County Entertainer's License is required of any person providing adult entertainment in an adult entertainment club operating in unincorporated King County (Title 6* of the King County Code).
Currently, no adult entertainment clubs operate in unincorporated King County (see Amusement/Dance places for information about licenses required for adult entertainment establishments).
To apply, complete the application for: Adult Entertainers and Mangers License
If you own, operate or maintain a business in unincorporated King County where junk is sold, bought, received or stored, you may require a King County Junk Shop License. License fees for less than one year are prorated quarterly.
If you go from house to house and place to place in unincorporated King County and buy or offer to buy, pick up or collect junk, you may be required to purchase a King County Junk Wagon License (Title 6* of the King County Code).
Junk includes old rope, old iron, brass, copper, tin, lead, rags, empty bottles, paper, bagging, scrap metals of all kinds and other worn out or discarded material. License fees for less than one year are prorated quarterly.
All applications are forwarded to the King County Sheriff's Office for approval as well as to the Department of Local Services, Permitting Division to ensure compliance with all applicable fire, building, and zoning codes.
To apply, complete and submit:
If your business is engaged in providing massage or offers any type of baths such as sauna baths, hot tubs, or Swedish baths, a license may be required (Title 6* of the King County Code).
If you are a State licensed massage practitioner and you own and operate your own massage business within unincorporated King County, you are not required to have a King County Massage Business License. However, if you own a massage business within unincorporated King County and you are not a State licensed massage practitioner, a King County Massage Business License is required.
If you operate, conduct or maintain bathhouse facilities (such as those mentioned above) in unincorporated King County, you are required to have a King County Bathhouse License.
Potential businesses requiring Massage and/or Bathhouse Business Licenses would be massage businesses where the owner is not a State licensed massage practitioner and those businesses offering bathhouse facilities and/or services, such as hot tub establishments, sauna establishments, beauty salons, and athletic clubs.
A license is valid for one location only.
License applications are referred to the Department of Local Services, Permitting Division to ensure compliance with all applicable fire, building and zoning codes of King County and also to the King County Sheriff's Office. Inspections are conducted to ensure compliance with standards of conduct and safety and sanitation requirements. Massage and/or Bathhouse Business Licenses expire on November 30th of each year.
To apply, complete the License Application for Massage/Public Bathhouse form.
If you promote, organize or conduct outdoor, live or recorded musical entertainment within unincorporated King County, which will attract 250 or more persons and where a charge is required, a King County Outdoor Musical Entertainment license is required (Title 6* of the King County Code).
You must file an application no later than 40 days prior to the event.
The applicant must provide specific information including a site plan, a detailed proposal and schedule of activities, and a detailed traffic and crowd protection plan. Approvals are required by the King County Sheriff's Office, Seattle-King County Public Health Department, and the Department of Local Services, Permitting Division. Insurance and a cash bond are required.
To apply, complete the Outdoor Musical Entertainment License Application form.
A pawnshop license is required in unincorporated King County where merchandise of any kind is received for which money is loaned or the repayment of a security is required (Title 6* of the King County Code). The license fee is pro-rated quarterly for new applicants applying after January 1st. Licenses expire annually on December 31st.
Detailed record keeping, holding periods, and reports to the King County Sheriff's Office are required.
To apply, complete a Pawn Shop and Pawn Broker License Application form.
Any person or business in unincorporated King County engaged in offering, conducting, or advertising public entertainment and/or amusement for the use or benefit of the public is required to have a King County Public Entertainment License (Title 6* of the King County Code).
Potential types of businesses requiring a Public Entertainment License include those offering karaoke; live musical entertainment including use of a disc jockey; boxing or wrestling; skating; haunted houses; video arcades; pool and billiard halls; bowling alleys; skating rinks; shooting galleries; racetracks; drag strips; go-cart tracks; amusement parks; carnivals; and adult entertainment.
A license application must be filed within 30 days of the commencement of the activity. Most licenses require approval by the King County Sheriff's Office, the Department of Local Services, Permitting Division (Permitting), and the Fire Marshal. Some activities require a conditional use permit by the County.
To apply complete and submit:
A retail marijuana license is required in unincorporated King County where marijuana and/or marijuana containing products of any kind are sold at retail establishments (Title 6* of the King County Code). The license fee is $1,000 per year. The fee shall be $500 if the business possesses a WSLCB issued medical marijuana endorsement. Processing license applications may take up to 30 days. Retail marijuana licenses should be renewed annually before January 1.
To apply, complete and submit:
For additional information please see the Marijuana Business, Summary of Zoning Requirements
If you purchase, sell, trade, barter, sell on consignment, install, or otherwise exchange secondhand goods within unincorporated King County, a Secondhand Dealer's License is required (Title 6 of the King County Code). Goods excluded include used motor vehicles and boats.
Potential businesses requiring a Secondhand License include antique shops, consignment shops, repair garages, and any business engaged in the sale of used or re-manufactured items.
Auctions and auctioneers are regulated by the State of Washington. For information, contact the Washington State Department of Licensing - Auctioneers at 360-753-4401.
License fees for less than one year are prorated quarterly.
Approval is required by the Department of Local Services, Permitting Division (Permitting) to ensure compliance with all applicable fire, building and zoning codes of King County.
Approval also is required by the King County Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office reviews all applications and may require special reporting depending on the nature and type of secondhand goods you deal in.
To apply, complete and submit: