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Zoning Permit or Certificate of Use

The Certificate of Use assures that the business is allowed in the zoning district where it is located. It also verifies that the structure was built for the proposed type of business.

Prior to opening any business in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, a Certificate of Use (also called a C.U. or zoning permit) must be obtained. A C.U. is required when an industrial or commercial building is erected, altered or enlarged, or an existing building goes through a change of occupant, name or type of business.

Please note the difference between a C.U. and a Local Business Tax -- The Certificate of Use allows for the occupancy of the structure as well as certifying that the use is permitted. A Local Business Tax is a tax on the business activity.

After a C.U. has been issued, you may apply for the Local Business Tax. For Local Business Tax details, contact the Tax Collector's office

Most Certificates of Use are issued on a permanent basis. If the business does not move, expand, change ownership, name or business activity, the Certificate remains valid.

Some Certificates of Use are required by Code or zoning resolution to be renewed annually.

If the structure is substantially or partially complete, and is missing only minor items for final inspection, a structure may be occupied under a temporary C.U. A temporary C.U. is valid for a maximum of 90 days.

A Certificate of Use for alcohol sales (the sale of liquor, beer or wine) is needed for the following establishments:

  • Restaurant or cafeteria
  • Convenience or package store
  • Wholesale or distribution

How to apply

The Application for Certificate of Use is short and easy to fill out. Applications can be emailed to [email protected] or submitted in person by appointment only at the Zoning Permit Section in the Permitting and Inspections Center. The quickest way to get your certificate is to submit application by email.

  1. The application is available on this website. For assistance, contact [email protected] or 786-315-2660.

  2. A Non-Refundable up front fee of $110.73 which includes the 7.5% surcharge is required upon submittal of the Certificate of Use application. The rest of the fees are due upon approval of the Certificate of Use. See the Fees section below for more information.

  3. The following information is required when applying for a C.U.:
  • The name and address of the business.
  • The square footage of the area to be occupied.
  • The type of business and business owners' name.
  • If the business is a corporation, the name of a corporate officer is required.
  • The folio number for the property is also necessary.

If interior alterations or other construction has commenced for which the permit required has been issued, the construction must be completed, and all final inspections must be obtained prior to application for the Certificate of Occupancy and the Certificate of Use.

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Transfer of Certificates

A Certificate of Use may be transferred for the same use but application must be made in person at the Zoning Permits Section by filling out the required forms and paying the appropriate fees. The applicant must comply with all the conditions of the specific use as stated in the Code and any conditions of any applicable resolutions and agreements.

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Application Review Process

The application is reviewed to ensure that the type of business is permitted in the zoning district where it will be located. If the business activity is not allowed there, the application will be rejected. If the business is allowed on the property, the application will be processed on the computer.

Affidavits, declarations or other forms may be required, depending on the type of business proposed, and depending on the zoning classification of the property. In some instances, plans may be required.

All businesses must be reviewed by Environmental Resources Management which is also located at the Miami-Dade Permitting and Inspection Center.

For most businesses, the C.U. application may take one to two hours for processing, if walked through in person.

Mailed and faxed applications require additional time as they are forwarded to other appropriate offices, as needed. These applications take four to five days, and require follow up by the applicant.

Tracking your application. Once the application is loaded into the computer system, a call to the informational voice response system will reveal the status of the application. The assigned C.U. process number is required to access the system at 305-591-7966. Listen to the easy to follow instructions. Press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, then Press 4, then 2 for Certificate of Use Information.

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Some businesses have to be inspected before a C.U. can be issued. These inspections are completed within two days from the day requested, and may include electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire, building and zoning inspections.

Inspections, if needed, take approximately two days. Call the Zoning Inspections Section at 786-315-2660 with your process number.

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In most cases, fees for the C.U. are based on the square footage of the area to be occupied plus an environmental fee and a 7.5% surcharge.

If paying by check, the check should be payable to Miami-Dade County.

Pay Online
You can also make a one-time payment using your credit card or e-check. Make sure to have your process number ready.

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Starting a business without obtaining a C.U. may result in a fine and possibly the issuance of a ticket to both the business owner as well as the property owner.

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If you cannot view PDF PDF files, you can download Acrobat Reader  for free from Adobe Systems, Inc. In order to use PDF files, you must have Acrobat installed on your computer.

Page Last Edited: Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:27:10 AM

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