Applying for an ABC License
The licensing process involves the following steps:
1. Complete an ABC License Application[pdf]. Detailed instructions are included with the application.
2. Obtain Tax Registration form and Clean Hands Certificate.
Obtain a Tax Registration form by filing for a DC business tax number at the Office of Tax and Revenue. Show you are current on your DC taxes by including a Clean Hands Certificate with your license application. The Clean Hands Certification form (to be filled out when you obtain your certificate) is included with the ABC License application package.
3. Submit your application in person.
Schedule an appointment by contacting an ABRA Licensing Specialist at (202) 442-4423 between the hours of 8:30 am and 4 pm. Bring your application, Tax Registration form, Clean Hands Certificate, and at least one form of government-issued ID. Please keep in mind that application processing ends at 3:30 pm.
4. Pay the licensing and processing fees.
Your Licensing Specialist will determine your application fee. You will also pay a processing fee of $75.00, which may be prorated. Upon denial or withdrawal of your application, the processing charge will be deducted as follows: Sole Proprietorship ($150), Partnership ($250), and Corporations ($350).
Make all cashier's checks, money orders, or certified checks payable to the DC Treasurer. ABRA does not accept business checks, personal checks, or cash. Visa and Mastercard are accepted; we do not accept American Express or Discover cards.
5. Await the results of ABRA's background investigation.
This includes a criminal history records check on the applicant. Wait for the 45-day public notice period to end. This “placard period” gives area residents the opportunity to protest the granting of your license. If there are no objections during this period and your application and background investigation are successfully completed, the ABC Board will issue your license.
Applying for an ABC Manager's License
An ABC Manager’s License is valid for two years from the date of issuance. The Manager’s licensing process requires that an applicant gather and submit the following to ABRA:
1. Manager’s License Application[pdf]
Detailed instructions are included with the application. Don’t forget to notarize your signature on the completed application.
2. Personal Information Release Authorization
This form is included in the application package. Your signature on this form must be notarized.
3. Clean Hands Certification
This form is included in the application package. ABRA uses this form to see whether an applicant owes the DC Government $100 or more in fines or fees (e.g. parking fines). You may not obtain an ABC Manager’s license until you have paid down any remaining fines or fees to an amount under $100.
4. Police Clearance(s)
All applicants must obtain a police clearance from the DC Metropolitan Police Department. If you are not a DC resident, you must submit two police clearances—one from the District and one from the jurisdiction in which you currently reside.
5. Alcohol Awareness Certificate
ABRA requires that ABC Manager applicants complete an Alcohol Awareness Training program[pdf] offered by a Board-approved training provider. This program educates applicants in matters related to the sale and consumption of alcohol, including sales to minors and intoxicated persons. A number of these programs are available in the Washington Metropolitan area.
Once you complete the program, submit a copy of the training certificate to ABRA. Depending on which Awareness Program you choose, the certification you receive may be good for two years or three years.