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Here you will find information, requirements, and permits for all aspects of starting a business in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County.

Thank you for your interest in obtaining a Business License from Bernalillo County. We are happy to assist you with the licensing process, provide the best customer service, and meet all of your business license needs. We accept applications by mail and in-person from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Any person engaging in or doing business (operating, conducting, carrying on or pursuing any occupation, trade or pursuit for the purpose of direct or indirect benefit) in Bernalillo County must pay a Business License Registration fee. No person unless otherwise exempted in this article, shall engage in an occupation without first paying the "business registration fee" (Ord. No. 93-12, § 2, 7-6-93). The penalty for not having paid the business registration fee "shall be a $250.00 fine" (Ord. No. 93-12,§ 5,7-6-93).

Following review of the complete application, payment of necessary fees, and approval of required inspections, we will issue a license to conduct business in the county for a period of one year.

How To Apply for a Business License

Step 1: Where is your business located?

Verify jurisdiction, property zoning, and property ownership (in most instances) by contacting Bernalillo County at (505) 314-0350.

Step 2: Obtain New Mexico Tax Identification number and Business Code

Obtain a Tax Identification Number from the State of New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department.

N.M. Taxation & Revenue Department, 5301 Central Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108, (505) 841-6200

Identify your business using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The NAICS code is the national standard used for classifying business establishments. Please go to www.census.oov/naics/ for assistance in identifying and indicating your business.

Step 3: Determine type of Business

Determine the type of Business License you will need.

A Commercial Business License is needed when a business is being conducted on commercial zoned property such as C-N, C-1, C-2, C-Li, O-1, M-1, M-2, and some Special Use Permits.

A Home Occupation Business License is needed when a business is to be conducted from a residentially zoned property. The Zoning Ordinance allows for one of two types of home occupations business license types.

1. Permissive Use

This type of home occupation is allowed to occur if:

  • The business has a current Bernalillo County business registration.
  • The business is clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the premises for a dwelling.
  • The business has no exterior display (including signage).
  • The business has no exterior storage of materials.
  • The business does not emit nuisances (noise, odors, etc.).
  • The business only employs members of the family who live in the dwelling.
  • The business does not occupy more than 25 percent of the floor area of the dwelling or more than 600 square feet of an accessory building.

These types of home occupations may include medical transcription, telemarketing, Internet sales, or mail-order businesses. 

2. Conditional Use

This type of home occupation is allowed to occur if:

  • The business owner obtains conditional use approval from the Zoning Administrator to permit.
  • Clients, customers, patients, patrons or similar individuals or groups to come to the property; and/or
  • Up to a single, additional employee to work on the site.
  • All other standards of Type 1 (permissive) home occupations are met.

These types of home occupations may include swimming lessons, counseling services, or a home office with up to one employee.

An Out of County Business License is needed when commercial enterprises are conducting business activity in but not originating from Bernalillo County.

Temporary Permit: although technically not a Business License certificate, this permit is needed for temporary sales, i.e. fireworks stand, Valentine’s Day stand etc. and are only valid for 30 days.


Step 4: Submit Application

Submit Business Application and pay the initial fee of $50, or if mailing, a $50 check or money order or made out to:

Bernalillo County, Attn: Business License Clerk, 111 Union Square St. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87102

Step 5: Review and Inspections

All Business License applications will be checked to ensure compliance with all Bernalillo County Codes.

No Business License can be processed on properties that have any unresolved issues, such as a Bernalillo County Flag or Hold, for expired permits or code enforcement violations.

Bernalillo County will also coordinate appropriate inspections of the property and activity by the Zoning, Building, Fire Marshal’s staff and any other county departments as necessary.

Step 6: Updates and Renewals

It is the responsibility of the business owner to report any changes in activity, address, or status. 

 We will mail a renewal notice 30 days prior to the yearly expiration date on the business registration application.

It is the responsibility of the business owner to renew the business License annually. Licenses which are unrenewed or unresolved within 30 days of the expiration date, will be expired.

Contact Us

If we can assist you further, please call us at the Permitting Center, (505) 314-0350.

Permit Technicians will work with each customer to review materials, intake applications, process fees, and schedule inspections. A business license technician will also be available to assist with business licensing questions and license renewals.

Telephone: (505) 314-0350, Fax: (505) 314-0480, Email: permits@bernco.gov 

Business-Related Ordinances


This ordinance clarifies minimum wage requirements for those who hold a county business registration license, or exercises control over wage, hours or working conditions of employees in the unincorporated area of Bernalillo County.

This chapter of the Bernalillo County Code prescribes minimum standards regulating building, mechanical, plumbing and electrical work; and maintenance of buildings and structures within the unincorporated boundaries of the county.

These chapters of the Bernalillo County Code establishes a joint City of Albuquerque/ Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board and defines their duties and powers; as well as permits and hearings.

‚ÄčThis ordinance intends to prohibit unnecessary, excessive and annoying noises from all sources subject to its police power.

This division is intended to create standards for outdoor lighting so that its use does not unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of adjacent property owners, and with astronomical observations, and to promote energy conservation without jeopardizing safety, utility, security and productivity. The purpose of this division is to minimize light pollution, which has a detrimental effect on the night sky environment, interferes with the enjoyment of the night sky, and causes unnecessary illumination of adjacent properties.

This code sets out rules and regulations, fees, review schedules, hearings and penalties for environmental health issues in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County, including restaurants, food processors, food sales, home-based food processing,  dwelling sanitation and safety, and public pools.

This ordinance sets the conditions to assess and collect impact fees.

This chapter of the Bernalillo County Code discusses the County Planning Commission and Neighborhood Associations.

These regulations provide for the control by the county of the subdivision of land to foster harmonious, orderly and progressive development of land.

Zoning, Building & Planning Department, Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, Planned Communities Criteria.

The regulations and restrictions of this ordinance are designed to lessen congestion in the streets and public ways; to secure safety
from fire, panic, flooding and other dangers; to promote health and the general welfare; to provide adequate light and air; to prevent
the overcrowding of land; to avoid undue concentration of population; to facilitate the adequate provisions for transportation, water,
sewerage, schools, parks, and other public requirements; to conserve the value of buildings and lands; and to encourage the most
appropriate use of land throughout the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County in accordance with the Albuquerque/Bernalillo
County Comprehensive Plan.

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