The construction and operation of all food establishments in Arlington County must comply with Chapter 9.2, Food and Food Handling Code of the Arlington County Code. Arlington County has adopted and follows the 2017 FDA Food Code.
For more information, visit our COVID-19 page for food establishments.
Applying for a License
A Health License and pre-opening inspection are required for new food establishments or whenever there is a change of ownership, and the license must be renewed annually.
- Application (2022(PDF, 1MB))
- An application processing fee of $40. Payable via phone, mail, or in-person. Make checks payable to the Arlington County Treasurer.
- Once you have submitted your application and completed the requirements outlined in this checklist(PDF, 83KB), you can schedule a pre-opening inspection.
Variance for Outdoor Cooking
Arlington restaurants may apply for a variance that permits outdoor cooking.
Public Notice of Inspection Reports
Food establishments must notify customers that a copy of their most recent inspection report is available upon request by posting a sign or placard in a location that is conspicuous to customers, or by another method acceptable to the health department (12VAC5-421-3750). To help facilities comply with this requirement, the Virginia Department of Health created sample signage (one for horizontal orientation(PDF, 2MB), one for vertical orientation(PDF, 2MB), and each file has both a dark-background and printer-friendly version of each orientation). Food establishments are not required to use these exact signs as long as they comply with this regulation.
Starting a Business, BizLaunch
Visit BizLaunch, Arlington’s small business and entrepreneurial assistance network, and your one-stop-shop for everything you’ll need to know about starting or growing a business in Arlington.