Electrical Permit

An Electrical Permit is required for adding, removing, or relocating fixtures, appliances, or wiring for any electrical work.

Replacement of these elements of the same type, size, and location does not require a permit, unless the elements are located within plenums or penetrate fire-rated or smoke-protected construction. Those cases require a Building Permit. Further exemptions from a permit can be found in §108.2 of the Building Code.

If you are unsure whether an Electrical Permit is required, contact the Inspection Services Division by email or phone: 703-228-3800.

Submission Requirements

Electrical Permit applications must be submitted online via Permit Arlington.

  • Review Permit Arlington submission guidelines, which include document sizing and layout, standard file naming conventions, and file type requirements.
  • Based on the permit holder and applicant for your project, you may be required to upload a Permit Authorization Affidavit.
  • Applications that do not have an associated Building Permit may require plans or other supporting documents to be provided.
  • If there is an associated Building Permit, submit the electrical plans under the Building Permit.
  • For some commercial permits, a fixture count may be required.
  • When you apply, you must identify the type of building in your project. Some residential properties are considered commercial per the Building Code and therefore require a commercial permit. Determine whether your project is considered residential or commercial.
Step 1: Apply online

Some Electrical Permit projects require a Building Permit and plans to be approved and issued before applying for an Electrical Permit, while others require plans to be submitted. Review both lists below (click to expand) to determine which instructions apply to your project(s). If you don’t see your project listed in either list, or if there is already a Building Permit for the project, plans should not be submitted with the Electrical Permit. 

Does my project require a Building Permit to be approved and issued before applying for an Electrical Permit?

The following projects require a Building Permit to be approved and issued before applying for an Electrical Permit, because the electrical plans must be submitted and reviewed with the Building Permit:

  • Modular housing – commercial or residential
  • Signs – commercial only
  • Site lighting/light posts – commercial only
    • For poles that exceed 30 feet in height or includes a footing
  • Solar panels – commercial only
  • Special locks/door locks – commercial only
  • Systems furniture – commercial only

Does my project require plans to be submitted when applying for an Electrical Permit? Note: If you already have a Building Permit, you don't need to submit plans with your Electrical Permit.

The following projects require plans to be submitted when applying for an Electrical Permit. Note: If you already have a Building Permit, you don’t need to submit plans with your Electrical Permit.

  • If there is new or relocated equipment on the roof, in the parking garage, or in other exterior locations on the site, a plan showing the location of the equipment is required
  • If the project involves any land disturbance, a plan showing the area of land disturbance is required
  • Commercial projects that include any of the following:
    • Car charger, new or relocated
    • Circuits, new or relocated
    • Generators, new or relocated
    • Hard-wired fixed appliances, new or relocated
    • Heating appliances, new or relocated
    • Meter
    • Motors, new or relocated
    • Other receptacles, switches or devices, new or relocated
    • Outlets, new or relocated (greater than 20 amperes)
    • Swimming pool
    • Service or panel
    • Subpanel
    • Temporary installations (view the fee schedule for how this is defined)
    • Transformers, new or relocated 
  • Residential projects that include any of the following:
    • Motors, new or relocated 
Step 2: Completeness Check
  • Applications will be checked for completeness within 2 business days.
  •  If incomplete, the applicant and all email contacts provided on the application will be contacted by email with an attached letter explaining what is required.
Step 3: Review and Revisions
  • Commercial projects take up to 3 business days to review.
  • Residential projects take up to 2 business days to review.
  • Review times do not include completeness check or final processing windows.
  • Depending on the scope, some projects may not require further review and will proceed to final processing immediately.  
  • The applicant and all email contacts provided on the application will receive an email with any review comments.
  • View the Permit Revisions to learn how to respond to comments and revise plans or documents.
Step 4: Final Processing
  • After required reviews and revisions are completed, contractor information will be verified and permit fees will be calculated within two business days
  • The applicant and all email contacts provided on the application will be contacted by email with any required changes or with fee information
  • To pay the fee, enter the permit number into Permit Arlington Online Payment. See help guidelines for adding contacts to a permit.  
Step 5: Approvals and Printing

Once payment is received, the applicant will be provided with a digital copy of the permit and placard in the Permit Arlington system.

Accessing the Permit and Placard

  1. Log in to the Permit Arlington customer portal and search for the permit number in the upper right corner. 
  2. Click on the permit number.
  3. Click on "Record Info"
  4. Click on "Attachments"
  5. The applicant should see a file named "permit"

Once the permit has been obtained and posted, construction work can begin.

The placard and permit must be posted at the project site, in adherence with the following guidelines:

  • The approved plan set and support documentation must be available on-site prior to any scheduled inspections
  • Minimum sheet size of 11 in. x 17 in.
    • Supporting documentation (ex: project specifications, structural calculations, etc.) may be printed on 8.5 in. x 11 in. pages.
  • Plans should be legible and of an easily-readable scale
  • Other than site plan drawings, no drawing should be printed at a scale smaller than 1/8 in. = 1 ft.

The applicant will receive access to the approved plan set (approximately two business days). This set will be available in the Permit Arlington system.

Accessing the Approved Plan

  1. Log in to the Permit Arlington customer portal and search for the permit number in the upper right corner. 
  2. Click on the permit number.
  3. Click on "Plan Review"
  4. Click on "Approved Documents"
  5. The applicant should seethe approved plan set.

Scheduling Inspections

Once your permits have been approved, you must schedule inspections to ensure the safety and proper progress of the project.

The individual that will be onsite the day of the inspection must contact the assigned inspector the morning of the inspection. If the inspector is not contacted, the inspection will be cancelled. After 7 a.m. on the day of your scheduled inspection, use this guide to contact your inspector.

Fees

Fee schedules provide the range of fees charged for each type of application or activity related to land development in Arlington. Fees cover permitting, plan review, enforcement, inspection, service delivery, performance agreements, and conditions. There are separate fee schedules for the Inspection Services Division (ISD), Zoning Division, and Department of Environmental Services (DES). Some permits involve fees from more than one schedule.