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License Application Checklist

SIGHTSEEING BUS (078)

DCA Licensing Center
42 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004
For more information, call 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside of New York City). 


LICENSE DESCRIPTION:
A business must have a Sightseeing Bus license if it arranges for the operation of one or more motor vehicles which seats eight or more passengers each, operating for hire either to bring passengers from a fixed point in the City of New York to a place(s) of interest or amusement OR engaged in exclusive use for a specific or special trip or excursion from a starting point within New York City.

This description is only a general explanation of which businesses need to have a Sightseeing Bus license.

ADDITIONAL LICENSE YOU MAY NEED:

  • If you guide or direct people to any place or point of public interest, you must also obtain a Sightseeing Guide license.

Note: New York City businesses must comply with all relevant federal, state, and City laws and rules. All laws and rules of the City of New York, including the Consumer Protection Law and Rules, are accessible using the Public Access Portal.

Sound Reproduction Devices
As of June 18, 2010, all open-air sightseeing buses that you add to your fleet must have a headphone-limited sound reproduction system.

For convenience, a copy of the Law related to sound reproduction devices and sections of the New York City Licensing Law (and Rules, if enacted) are available as a downloadable handout.

Please note that businesses are responsible for knowing and complying with the most current laws, including any City Council amendments. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is not responsible for errors or omissions in the handout. The information is not legal advice. You can only obtain legal advice from a lawyer.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: 

Before You File Your DCA License Application:
You must obtain the following required documents before filing your application. Although DCA does not require submission of these documents in order to process your application in person or online, DCA reserves the right to request and examine the documents under section 20.104 of the New York City Administrative Code.

  • Applicable Business Certificates based on your Business's Legal Structure 

Sole Proprietorships operating under a name other than your own must file a Business/Assumed Name Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.

Sole Proprietorships doing business under your own name—and not under a trade or Doing-Business-As (DBA) name—do not need a Business Certificate.

General/Business Partnerships must file your Partnership Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.

Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Department of State. Active status will be verified by DCA prior to license issuance. You can confirm the status of your business entity at NYS Web site. If applicable, you must also file an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.

Businesses incorporated out of state must obtain a Certificate of Doing Business in Good Standing from your home state’s Secretary of State and file this with an application for Authority to Conduct Business in New York with the New York State Secretary of State.

When You File Your DCA License Application:
Below are requirements when filing your license application:

  • Basic License Application   
    Online submission: After reviewing the application requirements, please click the Apply Online link at the bottom of the Web page to submit your application.

    In-person submission: Download the Basic License Application Form
  • Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection (download)
    Applicants must provide identifying information for each bus owned by the business on the Roster. DCA will inspect your open-air sightseeing buses to make sure they have a headphone-limited sound reproduction system. 
     
  • Department of Motor Vehicles Registrations
    Submit a copy of the current State Registration for each vehicle listed on the Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection. 
     
  • Rate Schedule
    Submit a Rate Schedule on your business letterhead listing all charges for sightseeing bus services. Note that rates not included on the schedule may not be charged at a future date. To change rates after filing this application, you must notify the Department of Consumer Affairs in writing. 
     
  • New York State Department of Transportation Inspection Certificate
    Submit a copy of the Inspection Certificate issued by the New York State Department of Transportation for each bus listed on the Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection. Your bus(es) must pass a safety inspection before a license can be issued. You can contact the NYS Department of Transportation at (718) 482-4754 or www.nysdot.gov to arrange for the necessary inspection(s). 
     
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Engine Conformity Affirmation (download)
    Complete the USEPA Engine Conformity Affirmation and submit a letter from the manufacturer and the USEPA Certificate of Conformity for each sightseeing bus engine.
  • Child Support Certification Form (download)
    If your business is a SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP or GENERAL or LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, the proprietor or each individual general partner must submit a Child Support Certification Form.  
     
  • Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (download)
    If this application will be filed by someone other than the license applicant, the license applicant must submit a Granting Authority to Act Affirmation.  
     
  • License Fee
    Must be paid by credit card, money order, or check. Cards accepted at the DCA Licensing Center include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card. Credit card payments are subject to a 2.49% convenience fee. Checks or money orders must be payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. The chart below lists the amount due depending upon when your license application is filed. Note: An odd year is any year ending in an odd digit; for example, 2013, 2015, etc. An even year is any year ending in an even digit; for example, 2014, 2016, etc.

    Please note that a 2.49% convenience fee applies if you submit your license application online. A major credit card is required to submit applications online. 
SIGHTSEEING BUS
License Term License Expiration Date If You File Your Application Between These Dates: Your License Fee Per Bus is:
 2 years

March 31    Even years

From April 1 in an even year to September 30 in an even year $100
  From October 1 in an even year to March 31 in an odd year $75
  From April 1 in an odd year to September 30 in an odd year $50
  From October 1 in an odd year to March 31 in an even year $25
OR
*$125

*If you are applying for the license within three to six months prior to the end of the license period, you can pay the prorated fee for the license period about to end plus the fee for the new license period. If you pay both fees, you will not need to renew the license until the end of the next license period.

APPLICATION FILING PROCESS: 

ONLINE SUBMISSION:

  1. Please review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below.
  2. If you haven’t registered an account with the City of New York, you will need to register an account before you can proceed to the online application.
  3. After you submit the online application, follow the instructions on the confirmation page. DCA cannot process incomplete applications.
  4. Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the DCA Business Toolbox to read requirements and proceed to the online application.

IN-PERSON SUBMISSION:
You can file applications in person at the DCA Licensing Center, 42 Broadway, 5th floor, in Manhattan between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

After You File Your DCA License Application:
Below is information you need to know after submitting your license application:
  • Inspection of Your Open-Air Sightseeing Buses
    DCA will contact you to schedule an appointment to inspect your open-air sightseeing buses before your business can operate. Note: All open-air sightseeing buses listed on your Roster of Sightseeing Buses and Request for Inspection must be present at the time of the inspection.
  • Inspection of Your Buses
    Once you receive your Sightseeing Bus license, you must have your bus(es) inspected every six months by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New York State Department of Transportation. DCA will contact DEP to ensure your bus(es) passed inspections.


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