City & State Permits

There are several instances where you will need to apply for permits directly with various agencies within the City & County of San Francisco or the State of California. Please let your Event Manager know if you or any of your exhibitors/vendors are applying for any of the following permits.

Health Permit

A San Francisco Health Permit is required to distribute food and/or beverage products not provided by SAVOR…San Francisco (i.e. sampling). Application for this permit must be made at least 2 weeks prior to the first event day.

Both Show Management & the individual exhibitor must apply for permits.

Please contact your Catering Sales Manager for specific information on sampling rules and regulations, labor, and other requirements for sampling in addition to the permit.  A Savor…San Francisco Sampling Form must also be submitted no later than 2 weeks before the first event day.

For permits and additional information contact the Department of Public Health

Please note that exhibitors cooking in their booths may require an additional permit from the San Francisco Fire Department if they are using a flame of any sort.

SFFD Operational Permits

A permit from the San Francisco Fire Department is required for a wide array of activities and materials. Some of the most common items used at Moscone that require an SFFD Operational Permit include, but are not limited to:

  • Portable Cylinder Use Permit/Temporary – for any portable containers holding propane or other flammable gasses.
  • Open Flame Permit/Sterno – for exhibitors cooking inside their booth using an open flame (not required for electric cooking)
  • Open Flame Use Permit/Temporary for any other open flame request including candles and fireplaces.
  • Tents/Temporary Membrane Structure Permit - for any tents greater than 700 Sq. Ft. installed on Moscone property, most notably the terraces at Moscone South

Permits must be obtained directly from the San Francisco Fire Department. Please inform your Event Manager and the Moscone Center Fire Marshal if you are applying for an SFFD Operational Permit.

For detailed information and permit applications, please see the San Francisco Fire Department’s Operational Permit Section

Exhibitors must keep a copy of their completed permit in their booth at all times. Show Management should supply a list of all Exhibitors with SFFD permits as well as the date of the SFFD inspection to their Event Manager prior to move-in. A Moscone Center Fire Marshal will be scheduled to walk with the SFFD Permit Inspector. Please note that Show Management may be required to hire a Fire Watch through the Moscone Center Fire Marshal depending on how many permits are requested for any given event.


Sidewalk Graphics Permit

If you plan to place graphics on public sidewalks around the facility, a Temporary Occupancy permit must be obtained from the San Francisco Department of Public Works. The application can be found here: SFDPW Temporary Occupancy Permit

Only show-branded directional graphics are permitted, no advertising. A detail map of planned graphic installation locations and sample graphic should be provided with the application. Please include the type of material to be adhered to the sidewalk (slip resistant and easily removed), typically: 3M 3662-10. 

The licensee’s Certificate of Liability insurance is required and SFDPW can provide specific wording and whether Additional Insureds and an endorsement is required.  Detailed insurance information is available here: Sample Temporary Occupancy COI


Amplified Sound Permit

If you plan to use amplified sound in any outdoor area, including terraces, a sound permit will be required. Please visit the San Francisco Entertainment Commission for more information and to apply for the permit.


Seller’s Permit, State of California (Business License)

If any merchandise is sold on-site during an event, by either Show Management or Exhibitors, the State of California requires the selling party to have a valid California Seller’s Permit. This applies to all Exhibitors selling or taking orders from the exhibit floor. It pertains to Show Management if the organization sells merchandise in a bookstore or other sales outlet. This applies to both non-profit as well as for-profit organizations.


Exhibitors should be formally advised of this requirement as it is Show Management’s responsibility to demonstrate proof that all Exhibitors either hold a valid California Seller’s Permit or are not offering for sale any merchandise that is subject to California sales tax.


Please visit the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration for more information and to apply for the permit.