Last updated Feb. 12, 2019 - 4:00 pm

All applications for sign permits shall be submitted to the Development Services Customer Service Center located on the 4th floor of One Exchange Plaza. Application packages may be submitted electronically, by mail, or in person and must be complete, including all submittal requirements as described on this page. If any items are not present, the application package will be returned to the applicant.

Once accepted for review, a transaction number will be assigned. Review comments will be available via the Online Development Center. The contact person will receive the comments via email once the review cycle is complete. The first review cycle may take up to 5 business days, and subsequent reviews, if required, may take up to 3 business days per cycle. Customers will be notified when all trades have reviewed the application and/or permits are ready for pick up. Payments will be accepted at that time.

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Wall signs, tract signs, pole signs, billboards, and banners - all these signs and many others require Sign Permits from the City of Raleigh.

To receive a permit, a sign must comply with the sign ordinances in the City of Raleigh Unified Development Code 7.3. This process contributes to the style consistency of signs in the Raleigh City limits and area of extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

Permits are required for all outdoor signs except directional signs, such as exit and entrance signs, and informational signs, such as signs designating restrooms and phones. A Sign Permit is required any time a business wants to display signage or hold an event that includes advertising visible from the public right-of-way.

Sign Permits are required for:

  • Permanent signs
  • Ground and tract identification signs
  • Signs erected on parapet wall
  • Signs in shopping centers or at multi-tenant buildings
  • Internally illuminated signs
  • Special events signs
  • Awnings - No sign permit is required; A Building and Electrical permit, and Minor Encroachment may apply (pdf).

Some landlords of multi-tenant properties have established sign criteria approved by the City of Raleigh. Signs must conform to these criteria, which may cover colors and materials.

A landlord who wants City of Raleigh approval of criteria for signs in a new development should submit a sign criteria form to the Development Services Customer Service Center, 1 Exchange Plaza, Suite 400, Raleigh, N.C.

Installation of signs must begin within six months of the date that the City issues a permit. The City strongly advises businesses not to fabricate signs until permits have been issued.



Approvals or Permits Issued

  • Sign Permit
  • Sign Criteria for Multi-Tenant Developments

Submittal Requirements

Required for Submittal
  • Permit Application (located at the top of the Forms Directory in the “Most Popular Selections” box).
  • Three copies of site plan drawn to scale with location of the sign and other pertinent information, including dimensions of the sign structure, dimensions of the copy area, size and style of lettering and sign colors. The site plan also should show property lines, building locations, driveways, proposed location of the sign and driveway locations on adjacent lots.
  • Three color copies of detailed drawings. One copy of the drawing must have the ‘Landlord Signature of Approval’ and dated, on the drawing. Drawings shall not exceed 11" x 17". The preferable size is 8.5" x 11".
  • Three copies of elevation. Drawings must reference correct color name and reference number. Elevation drawings for a wall sign must show the location of the sign on the building. For freestanding signs, including tract identification signs and billboards, drawings must show the height from the ground to the top of the sign and must have engineered footing detail for ground signs over 42 inches.
  • Description of building or structure materials for signs
Required for Some Projects

Required for some signs:

Special events signs:

  • No drawings required for signs at events, such as going-out-of-business sales, grand openings or charitable events. However, you must specify the type of temporary signs that will be used, such as banners, portable signs or windblown devices.

Additional requirements for wall signs:

  • Profile drawing showing the thickness of the sign or sign cabinet, the raceway and the means of attachment of the sign to the wall or mounting surface
  • If the sign is to be mounted on a parapet wall, drawing should show the wall section and the sign's relationship to the actual roof line. The sign cannot be more than two feet above the roof

Additional requirements for billboards:

  • Copy of the Wake County Tax Map with the location of the billboard marked
  • Copy of the lease agreement with the property owner

Additional requirements for signs with logos in shopping centers, office complexes and other multi-tenant properties using logos:

  • Copy of federal or state registration of logo
  • Suite number for each business (example: 4630 - 207 Wake Forest Road). Include a detailed plan with elevations

Submit applications and related documents in person or by mail. Applications will not be accepted by fax.

Development Services Customer Service Center
One Exchange Plaza
Suite 400
Raleigh, NC 27601

Expected Processing Time for Development Projects


Next Steps

  • After permits are received, schedule a final sign inspection, a final electrical inspection and footing inspection, if applicable
  • To request an inspection, use the Online Development Center, call the Rapid Response System at 919-857-4412, or call office staff at 919-996-2500 by 4 p.m. of the day prior to the desired inspection. Footing inspections may be made on a same-day basis, if necessary
  • When you call for the inspection, give the correct address of the property where the sign is located, the sign contractor's name, the permit number and the type of inspection desired
  • Electrical inspections are required for any electrified signs. Only a licensed electrician may wire an electrified sign
  • Footing inspections are required for billboards prior to the pouring of concrete
  • The final sign inspection is made after the sign is erected

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