New retail tobacco store application

Online training videos are available for retail tobacco store applications.


Apply online

Step 1.Before you apply 

  • Read the ordinance for this license under "Municipal Code" on the right side of the page to make sure this license is right for you.
  • Applications for a retail tobacco store license must show the licensed establishment will be operated at a valid Denver address. You can use Denver's address finder tool to ensure the address is valid.

Step 2.Zoning use permit

This license requires a zoning use permit. 

A zoning use permit grants the applicant/owner of a lot, building, or structure permission for the requested use of the land. "Use" can be any activity, occupation, business, or operation in a building or on a lot/tract of land.

Plan before leasing or buying property and before applying for a business license. Follow the steps below to learn more about the approved zone uses for the address where you want to locate the business. Start on the find your zoning page.

  1. Enter the desired address. Click Search.
  2. Note the zone district.
  3. Click on the + to expand for more information. 
  4. Note the neighborhood context.
  5. Click on the link for the zoning code or in Former Chapter 59.
  6. Click on the article number for the neighborhood context.
  7. Open the document and scroll to the "Use" tables at the bottom.
  8. Find the "Use" category in the left column and the zone district in the right.
  9. The code in the intersecting square represents the permitted use. (There is a key to the codes at the top of every page.)

The zoning use permit must be approved and issued by the Zoning Department. Learn more about the Denver Zoning Code or visit the Zoning Office.

Applying for a zoning use permit


Zoning contact information

Step 3.Watch the online training videos 

Online training videos provide helpful and detailed overviews of the application process. They are on the Online Training Videos webpage. They show how to register for an account, how to complete licensed establishment and entity registration records, and how to apply for new business licenses or amendments.

Step 4.Register for a new account 

Register for an account, if you haven't already, in Denver’s Permitting and Licensing Center. For help, navigate to the online training videos and watch the guide for how to register for a new account.

Step 5.Gather all required documents

Make sure you have everything from the "Required documents" section below. 

  • All materials must be digital files saved as a .pdf or .jpg. Do not include any other file types. The Department of Excise and Licenses cannot accept other file types.
  • Use numbers or letters but not characters such as symbols (/ ? < > \ : * | “ ^) or spaces that could cause complications.
    • For example:
      • Good filename: drivers-license-name-2022.pdf
      • Bad filename: last name/ id.pdf
  • In some cases, you might need to combine documents and upload them in a single .pdf. You can use a free, online tool to merge documents into a single file. 
  • Legal documents must be signed, dated and executed. All pages of large legal documents (such as a lease) must be included in the application.
  • All materials must be legible. 
  • Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Step 6.Apply in Denver's Online Permitting and Licensing Center 

In Denver’s Online Permitting and Licensing Center

  • Under Business/Occupational, Short-Term and Residential Rental Licensing, click "Apply New."
  • Select the type of license you want to obtain and click “Continue Application.”
    •  Application package contains the following licenses: Child care center, residential rental property, retail tobacco store, massage business, and marijuana licenses.
  • Read the introduction page and click “Continue.”

This will begin the application process.  

You can save and resume within 30 days any time during the process. After 30 days, you must start again.  

Go to the Online Training Videos webpage to guide you.  

After the online application is complete, you will be prompted to submit fees in the online portal. These can be paid with a bank account or a Visa, Mastercard, or Discover card.

Step 7.Pay required fees

Application fee:

License fee:

Step 8.City application review and next steps

Excise and Licenses tries to conduct an initial review of a complete application within seven business days. The review process might take longer if it is incomplete or requires police review (if applicable).
  • All application related communications will be sent through email, from Do not respond to these emails as this inbox is not monitored.
  • If the application is incomplete, the applicant will receive a "notice of deficiency" email. This allows 14 days for corrections. License endorsement requests and incidents on a background check need police review. 
  • All applications will be closed if they are not completed within 12 months.

Step 9.License issuance

Once approved, the applicant is emailed a copy of the business license. This allows the license holder to start operating.

The licensee should read "Once you have your license" below and follow the requirements.

During the application process, a package will be assembled for you from the following three applications.

Licensed establishment application

This captures information about the location where you sell tobacco products. You will need to provide:

  • Valid Denver address
  • Zoning use permit issued at the address of your Licensed Establishment that demonstrates one of the following uses:
    • Retail sales, service & repair, all other
    • Food sales or market
    • Automobile services
    • Eating & drinking establishment

The name of the business on the zoning use permit does not have to match the license holder name. If you have questions or need to obtain a copy of your current zoning use permit, email

If you do not have a zoning use permit but need to submit an application for a business license, you can submit an acknowledgment of zoning use permit(PDF, 109KB). No business license will be issued without a zoning use permit provided by Denver Development Services. The acknowledgement of zoning use permit only allows you to submit your application. It will remain pending until you submit your actual zoning use permit to Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. 

  • Possession of property certificate(PDF, 905KB)  or lease that shows you own the property or will have possession of it for at least 90 days after the day you submit your application. If submitting a lease, include sublease, amendments, assignments, signature pages, etc.
  • Details for one to three on-site managers, including their name, date of birth, home address and contact information. On-site Managers are those you designate who have the authority to make decisions regarding the licensed establishment. They must have access to and control over the licensed establishment at all times.

Entity registration application

This captures ownership information about the person or entity that will hold the license. You will need to provide:

  • Entity type (one of the following):
    • Sole proprietor
    • Limited liability company
    • Partnership
    • For-profit corporation
    • Nonprofit corporation
  • True name of the entity or person who will hold the license
  • List of any trade names under which the entity operates
  • Details about any individual who owns 10% or more of the entity, including their name, date of birth, home address, and contact information
  • Sole proprietors will be asked to upload a copy of a valid state or federally issued ID
  • Corporations, LLCs, and partnerships must provide a copy of their organizational documents, such as bylaws, an operating agreement, a partnership agreement, articles of incorporation, certificate of good standing, etc., as applicable

Any entity or person that will hold multiple retail tobacco store licenses in Denver will only have to complete this application once. An entity registration ID will be issued to provide in lieu of this application in the application packages you will need to submit for other locations where you sell tobacco products.

Retail tobacco store license application

This verifies you are eligible to obtain a retail tobacco store license and reviews the rules and laws you must abide by as a license holder. You must provide:

  • Copy of your Denver sales tax license
  • Copy of your State of Colorado sales tax license
  • Records of any alleged violation of law or rule related to tobacco sales issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the State of Colorado, or the City and County of Denver, to the entity or person applying for this license, or any of its owners, within the last five years.

License must be displayed

Excise and Licenses will email a professional license to all licensees. This license (or a clear picture of it) must always be displayed.

Requirement to keep contact information up to date

File an online amendment application to notify the Department of any contact information changes (place of business, onsite manager, etc.). These updates must be filed within 72 hours of the change. 

Requirement to renew annually

Professional licenses expire annually. It is unlawful to operate with an expired license. Renewal applications must be filed online before a license expires.

To update your contact information, ownership, or business name, go to the entity registration webpage to submit those applications.

To update your on-site manager, go to our licensed establishment webpage to submit those applications.