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Virginia ABC > Licenses > Get a License > Retail Licenses > Application Guidelines

Retail Application Guidelines

Apply for all types of retail licenses using the Virginia ABC License Application (PDF). Please read all instructions thoroughly. We also encourage you to contact your ABC regional office for additional qualification guidelines. (Retail license applications may not be submitted online at this time.)

  • Submit the application to Virginia ABC Central Office. There is a nonrefundable $195 application fee.
  • Post the notice for 10 complete and consecutive days on the front of the building, room or place of the proposed business.
  • Publish the notice of application twice in the local newspaper, following instructions.

Additionally, Virginia ABC is required to conduct a background investigation on applicants, including a criminal history records check, and to notify the local governing body of each application. Special agents contact local officials, residents and business people in the vicinity of the establishment to see if there are any objections. 

If there are no objections, and if the agent's investigation is satisfactorily completed, the regional special agent in charge can issue a license to an applicant 30 days after the date of the first published notice of application in a local newspaper. If a license application is contested, a hearing will take place. Your ABC special agent can provide a complete list of possible objections to a license application.