Starting a Business or Renewing a Business in National City

National City welcomes you to its business community. Starting a business can be exciting and challenging. We wish you great success in your new venture!

National City requires all businesses operating within the City limits to obtain a business license and pay business license tax prior to commencing business operations.

The easiest and fastest way to apply for a new business license or renew your current license is using the online filing method. To begin, simply click on the “start now” button located on the right of this page. From the main menu please select the “apply” option to submit a new application for your business.

If you need further assistance applying for a business license, you are welcome to contact us at or by phone at (619) 382-2596. Phone support is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (PST).

First Time Applicants:
CLICK HERE for more information regarding what forms must be submitted with the business license application.

To operate a business within the City, a Business License is required before conducting a business. Businesses located outside of National City are required to obtain a National City Business License before conducting any business within National City, even if licensed by another jurisdiction.

If your business name is other than your surname, or has more than one owner, or implies multiple ownership, you will need to file a Fictitious Business Name with the County Assessor, Clerk and Recorder's Office.

BUSINESS LICENSE DIRECTORY: Business License Verification Search

What is a Business License?

A business license is an annual business tax for doing business within the City limits. The City of National City Municipal Code (Section 6.04) requires that you obtain a license when you conduct any business activity within the City, even if your business is located outside of the City limits or if you have a business license from another City. Businesses that are based in the City must also have a business license. This includes home based businesses, building contractors, independent contractors, and non-profit businesses.

Business license taxes and fees help pay for City services like roads, fire, police and other community services. These services benefit businesses, business owners, and the general public.

When should an application be submitted?

You are required to obtain a business license within 30 days of the commencement of business in National City. Penalties will apply if applications are received after this 30-day period. Thereafter, business licenses renew every year on December 31st and taxes and fees are due by the last day of February.

Are there any restrictions on where I do business?

Yes, businesses operating from a location inside National City may require a zoning review from the Planning Department. This is to ensure that the business activity and site location are compatible with the City’s municipal code and zoning requirements. Businesses operating from a residential (home based) location in the City will need to complete a Home Occupations Permit Application.

Filing & Paying Your National City Lodging Establishment TOT

Transient Occupancy Tax returns for lodging establishments can now be submitted via mail, online and by phone to simplify your monthly reporting. To submit your TOT online please click the "Start Now" button found on the right and select the "Renew" option to begin your monthly filing process.

FILING/PAYMENT DUE DATE: please note, when the end of the month falls on a weekend, your tax payment is due on that date, and not the following business day. If you wait to pay online or by phone after the due date, penalties and interest (P&I) will apply. For mailed payments, if the postage date is after the due date, P&I will be applied. The TOT due date is the last day of the month that follows the month you are filing for.

If you need further assistance, you are welcome to contact us at or by phone Toll-Free at (619) 382-2596. All questions and applications are now processed online or over the phone.

National City
C/O HdL Support Center
8839 N. Cedar Ave. #212 • Fresno, CA 93720
(619) 382-2596