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Welcome to the City of San Diego's Online Special Event Permit Application System. Using this system, you can submit and update information, track the status of your application, and print a copy of your final application all from the convenience of your home or office, 24 hours a day.

The online application has been designed to assist event organizers in the development of event plans that comply with local, state, and federal codes, laws, policies and regulations governing activities associated with the production and management of special events.

NOTIFICATION: Public Health Protocols & Safe Re-Opening Plans

City of San Diego's current policy on issuance of Special Event Permits are to be in line with County Public Health Orders, California Department of Public Health guidelines, and Centers for Disease Control guidelines and will only be issued and valid for approved activities by health officials. 

Please refer to guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regarding the return to usual operations for most activities. The requirements and recommendations for negative testings / vaccine verification as issued by the CDPH will be in place effective June 15, 2021 through October 1, 2021. The state will assess conditions by September 1, 2021, to determine whether updated requirements or recommendations are needed beyond October 1, 2021. 

When Do I Need a Special Event Permit?

The City of San Diego issues Special Event Permits only for the portions of a special event venue and the related event components located within the City of San Diego that incorporate the use of: City public streets, sidewalks, right-of-ways; City public parks or other City public property; and outdoor private property, only when the property is part of a special event venue that includes City public property. For example, a parking lot used as part of a festival venue. Examples of special events include festivals, parades, runs/walks, farmer’s markets and other planned group activities that require the coordination of a number of city departments or other agencies such as the use of alcohol, on-site cooking, food sales, or large-scale temporary structures.

The City of San Diego does not issue Special Event Permits for the portions of a special event venue that are: the land management responsibility of other jurisdictions; located exclusively on outdoor private property when City public property is not a part of the venue; and facilities.

How to Apply

Special Event Planning Guide

Prior to completing your permit application, you are encouraged to read the City of San Diego's Special Event Planning Guide. The Planning Guide has been designed to assist event organizers in developing their event plans and includes important information regarding the Special Event permitting process and regulatory requirements.

Application Submittal Deadline

The San Diego Municipal Code requires permit applications to be submitted no later than sixty (60) days prior to the actual date of your event and allows applications to be submitted as early as two years before the event date.

In compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the City of San Diego performs environmental review of all Special Event Permit Applications. A Special Event Permit cannot be issued without a final CEQA determination that has completed the City’s environmental review process, which may include an appeal of the determination. Total average days for permit issuance can range from 54-180, depending upon the complexity of the environmental review and any appeals that may be filed.

It is strongly recommended that Special Event applicants submit completed Special Event Permit Applications to the City of San Diego as soon as reasonably possible so that there is sufficient time to address any unanticipated or unforeseen circumstances.

Submission of a permit application does not: deem the application complete; guarantee the date and location of the special event; or imply an automatic approval of the special event. An Applicant must meet all requirements before the City of San Diego shall issue a Special Event Permit.

Application Fee

The following fees have been approved by the San Diego City Council and apply to Special Event Permit Applications:

  1. $150 for applications received sixty or more days prior to an event. Applications must be substantially complete.
  2. $10 per business day late fee in addition to the $150 application fee for permit applications received less than sixty days prior to an event. Applications must be substantially complete.

Application Fee and Late Fee are non-refundable. A substantially complete special event permit application means a permit application where all sections of the permit application have been completed as they relate to the particular event and its event components and includes sufficient detail that the information can be understood and assessed by the reviewing City department or agency. All supporting attachments shall be included that relate to the particular event and its event components. The permit application review process shall be initiated once a permit application has been determined to be substantially complete. The City of San Diego recognizes that some permit application documents are secured as part of the review process, therefore the permit application review process shall be initiated once a permit application has been determined to be substantially complete. During the review process, the City of San Diego will accept letters of community support, proof of insurance and waiver form verification, as well as plan revisions that may not have been identified at the time of submittal.

The Host Organization will be billed the permit application fee based on the date the permit application has been determined to be substantially complete. Please do not submit payment with your permit application.

Other Costs and Fees

In addition to the permit application fee, you may be assessed other city permit fees, department rates and fees, costs and fees associated with personnel or resources provided to your event by a city department, program or division, as well as fines that may be assessed by the city for the cost to repair and/or restore any public property damaged by an event receiving benefits under the provisions of the Special Events Ordinance.

Technical Information

You may save an application in process and return to work on it over a period of days or weeks.

While all sections of the permit application need to be completed prior to submission, you may use the navigation on the left column to complete the different sections of the application in an order.

Once you submit your application, you will be notified if additional information is needed prior to the initiation of the review process and when the review process begins.

Prior permit applications completed on the system will be saved for two years.

Once you have completed an application, you may copy it to initiate subsequent permit applications.

Thank You

On behalf of the City of San Diego, thank you for contributing to spirit and vitality of our community through the presentation of your event.

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