Protecting Consumers and Helping Businesses

Employment Agency

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Who Must Have an Employment Agency License?

You must have an Employment Agency license if, for a fee, you procure or attempt to procure employment or engagements for persons seeking employment or engagements, or assist employers in procuring employees.

Your agency must do business in New York City in order to be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). If your office is located in New York State, but not within New York City, please contact the New York State Governor’s Office of Regulatory Reform, Permit Assistance:

Phone: (800) 342-3464 

You do NOT need an Employment Agency License if you are one of the following types of business:

·                           Temporary Employment Agency: You are the employer and you contract out your employees, all of whom receive a W-2 form from you at the end of the year and you meet the criteria of an employer.
·                           Theatrical Personal Manager: Your primary business is managing artists. Exception: If your primary business is finding employment or engagements for artists for a fee, you are a “theatrical employment agency” and need an Employment Agency License.
·                           Certain Executive Search Firm and Employer Fee Paid Agencies: Your agency places only commercial, clerical, executive, administrative, and professional applicants, and never charges the applicant a fee of any kind. If you fit this category, you do not need a license, but you must comply with all sections of the New York State Employment Agency Law relating to Employer Fee Paid Agencies.

This description is only a general explanation of which businesses need to have an Employment Agency license.

Application Requirements

Before You File Your DCA License Application:

You must obtain the following required documents before filing your application.

·                           Applicable Business Certificates based on your Business's Legal Structure 
o                                            Sole Proprietorships operating under a name other than your own must file a Business/Assumed Name Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
o                                            Sole Proprietorships doing business under your own name—and not under a trade or Doing-Business-As (DBA) name—do not need a Business Certificate.
o                                            General/Business Partnerships must file your Partnership Certificate with the clerk of the county in which your business is conducted.
o                                            Corporations, Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, or Limited Liability Partnerships must register and remain active with the New York State Department of State. Active status will be verified by DCA prior to license issuance. You can confirm the status of your business entity at NYS Web site. If applicable, you must also file an Assumed Name Certificate for your business.
o                                            Businesses incorporated out of state must obtain a Certificate of Doing Business in Good Standing from your home state’s Secretary of State and file this with an application for Authority to Conduct Business in New York with the New York State Secretary of State.
·                           Premises Approval by the Department of Buildings
You cannot operate your business in a residential building. If you plan to operate in a building that is both commercial and residential, your agency must be placed in the commercial part of the building. DCA will verify your premises with the Department of Buildings (DOB) to ensure you are operating in a commercial space. Although DCA does not require submission of DOB documents in order to process your application in person or online, DCA reserves the right to request and examine the documents under section 20.104 of the New York City Administrative Code.

When You File Your DCA License Application:

Below are requirements when filing your license application:

·                           Basic License Application
Online submission: After reviewing the application requirements, please click the Apply Online link at the bottom of the Web page to submit your application.

In-person submission: Download the Basic License Application Form.
·                           Business Certificate.
See description above.

Attention: Corporate Applicants. If you file your application in person, DCA can print a copy of your Certificate of Incorporation and/or Certificate of Authority to Conduct Business in New York from the New York State Department of State’s website.
·                           Employment Agency Self-Certification (download) OR Theatrical Employment Agency Self-Certification (download)
The owner (e.g., sole proprietor, general partner, director, corporate officer, or shareholder owning 10% or more of company stock) must complete the appropriate Self-Certification for your agency:
o                                            If you place or attempt to place job applicants in employment other than theatrical engagements, you must complete the Employment Agency Self-Certification (download)
o                                            If you place or attempt to place job applicants in theatrical engagements (e.g., actors, singers, models, directors, writers, musicians), you must complete the Theatrical Employment Agency Self-Certification (download)

Note: If the owner is not also the Employment Agency Manager, then the Employment Agency Manager must complete and certify PART II of the appropriate Self-Certification. The Employment Agency Manager is responsible for directing and operating the placement activities of the employment agency.
·                           Copy of your Surety Bond (or Third Party Bond), properly signed
Applicants that will engage in the recruitment of domestic or household employees from outside the United States or conduct a modeling/theatrical agency must submit a $10,000 bond certificate. All other employment agency applicants must submit a $5,000 bond certificate. The copy of the bond must name the Department of Consumer Affairs as the Certificate Holder. Your corporate name, Doing-Business-As (DBA) name (if any), and premises address must be exactly the same on all documents. You must also submit a copy of the bond receipt showing that the bond has been paid in full and does not expire before the end of the licensing period.

Download a list of bonding companies
The companies listed have provided bonds for licensees, or have communicated to the Department of Consumer Affairs an interest in doing so. The list must not be considered a recommendation of any company, or a complete listing. All applicants are advised to investigate and compare these and other bonding companies. Some companies may provide only certain types of bonds. Companies are listed in alphabetical order.
·                           Copy of Fee Paid Letters
If you will never charge applicants a fee within a class of employment, for each such class a signed “fee paid” letter from a principal of the agency is required stating: 
None of our [insert class name] applicants will ever be charged a fee. All fees will be paid to this agency by their employer.

You must also submit a sample of all contracts for which you intend to enter with the employer. Each employment category must be represented either by an applicant contract or an employer contract in conjunction with a “fee paid” letter as described above. 

Classes of Employment:
o                                            Class A (domestic or household workers)
o                                            Class A1 (non-professional trained or skilled industrial workers or mechanics)
o                                            Class B (commercial, clerical, executive, administrative, and professional employment; all employment outside the continental United States; and all other employment not included in classes A, A1, C, and D)
o                                            Class C (theatrical engagements)
o                                            Class D (nursing engagements)
·                           Fingerprints and Processing Fee
All employment agency managers, sole proprietors, general partners, directors, corporate officers, and all shareholders owning 10% or more of company stock must be fingerprinted at the DCA Licensing Center. EXCEPTIONS: Any person who currently holds or has held within the past three years a DCA license that required fingerprinting does not need to be fingerprinted. Any person fingerprinted at the DCA Licensing Center within the past three years does not need to be fingerprinted. Each person who must be fingerprinted must visit the DCA Licensing Center with photo identification (ID) and pay a $91.50 processing fee by check or money order, payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. Acceptable forms of ID include:
o                                            Driver’s license or non-driver’s license identification issued by a State Department of Motor Vehicles
o                                            License or permit issued by a government agency 
o                                            Passport 
o                                            Alien card/green card 
o                                            City, State, or Federal employee ID card

Your fingerprints will be checked for any criminal record that you may have. Note that a conviction will not necessarily prevent you from being granted a license. However, failure to reveal a conviction can constitute grounds for the denial of your application.
·                           Child Support Certification Form (download)
If your business is a SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP or GENERAL or LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, the proprietor or each individual general partner must submit a Child Support Certification Form.
·                           Granting Authority to Act Affirmation (download) 
If this application will be filed by someone other than the license applicant, the license applicant must submit a Granting Authority to Act Affirmation. 
·                           License Fee
Must be paid by credit card, money order, or check. Cards accepted at the DCA Licensing Center include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card. Credit card payments are subject to a 2.49% convenience fee. Checks or money orders must be payable to NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. The chart below lists the amount due depending upon when your license application is filed and the number of placement employees. Note: An odd year is any year ending in an odd digit; for example, 2013, 2015, etc. An even year is any year ending in an even digit; for example, 2014, 2016, etc. 

Please note that a 2.49% convenience fee applies if you submit your license application online. A major credit card is required to submit applications online.  
Employment Agency License Fee
License Term:
 2 years
License Expiration Date: May 1, Even years  
If You File Your Application Between These Dates:
License Fee for 1-4 Placement Employees:
License Fee for 5 or More Placement Employees:
From May 2 in an even year to April 30 in an odd year.
From May 1 in an odd year to October 31 in an odd year
From November 1 in an odd year to May 1 in an even year
$125 or *$625
$175 or *$875

*If you are applying within six months of the license expiration date, you can pay the prorated fee for the remaining license term plus the full fee to renew the license for the next term. If you pay both fees, you will not need to renew the license until the end of the next license period.

Application Filing Process


File in person at the DCA Licensing Center, 42 Broadway, in Manhattan between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Translation Services
If you do not speak or understand English well, please let us know when you arrive at the Licensing Center and we will provide translation services.

Reasonable Accommodation
To request a disability-related accommodation, visit our Accommodations page.


1.                        Please review requirements for the license and gather all materials before clicking the button below.
2.                        If you haven’t registered an account with the City of New York, you will need to register an account before you can proceed to the online application.
3.                        After you submit the online application, follow the instructions on the confirmation page. DCA cannot process incomplete applications.
4.                        Important: If you need to file another license application, return to the DCA Business Toolbox to read requirements and proceed to the online application.

Additional Resources for Employment Agency

·                           Licensing Law/Rules Handout

Note: New York City businesses must comply with all relevant federal, state, and City laws and rules. All laws and rules of the City of New York, including the New York City Consumer Protection Law and Rules, are accessible using the Public Access Portal. For convenience, sections of relevant New York State Law and New York City Law and Rules are included as adownloadable handout, including:
o                                            New York City Laws and Rules regarding Employment Agencies
o                                            New York General Business Law
o                                            New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law

Theatrical Employment Agencies

The October 3, 2012 Amendments to Sections 171 and 185 of the New York General Business Law and Section 37.01 of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law relevant to theatrical employment agencies are included in the handout.

Please note that businesses are responsible for knowing and complying with the most current laws, including any City Council amendments. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is not responsible for errors or omissions in the handout. The information is not legal advice. You can only obtain legal advice from a lawyer.
·                           Visit our Laws page
·                           Signage Posting
DCA will provide you with the listed signs, which you must post in the reception or waiting area, where all job applicants can see them.
o                                            New York Employment Agencies Law poster containing Sections 178, 181, 185, and 186 of the New York General Business Law Note: You must display posters in the language in which your agency does business. DCA can provide copies of the poster in English and/or Spanish
o                                            U.S. Anti-Discrimination Poster
o                                            New York State Anti-Discrimination Poster. Visit the New York State Division of Human Rights website at to download posters.
·                           Contracts and Receipts
You must give each job applicant a written contract. You must also give a receipt to each job applicant who pays a fee, deposit, or any other payment as confirmation of payment. Contracts and receipts must include all information required by Section 181 of the New York General Business Law. For convenience, download the model contract in English and Spanish, and a model receipt in English and Spanish.

Theatrical Employment Agencies In addition to the requirements of Section 181 of the New York General Business Law, the contracts that you use must also include all information required by Section 37.01 of the New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law. Download a sample theatrical employment agency contract approved for use by DCA.
·                           Statement of Employee Rights and Employer Responsibilities
If you place job applicants as Class A domestic or household workers, you must give each applicant DCA’s “Domestic or Household Employees: Statement of Employee Rights and Employer Responsibilities.” Download the statement. Agencies must also use DCA's Job Description Form (Statement of Job Conditions) and give the completed form to each job applicant it refers to a position as a domestic or household employee.
·                           Register Book
Employment agencies must maintain a “Register” containing applicant and employer information. The following company has provided registers for licensees or has communicated to DCA an interest in doing so. Listing this company must not be considered a recommendation. All applicants are advised to investigate and compare this and other companies before making a decision.

121 Varick Street, 9th Floor 
New York, NY 10013 
(212) 255-2300

 is a trademark and service mark of the City of New York

How to Start an Employment Service Staffing Agency

Employment service companies are designed to help match companies who have job openings with available, qualified employees. Also called staffing agencies, these types businesses support most industries and can be found in both small towns and large cities. The most common structure of employment agencies is a small office with a handful of internal employees who recruit candidates and sell employment services to local businesses. Even the largest international staffing companies operate in this manner, so your small business will be able to compete with established firms if you have the right business plan and tools.

How to Start a Temp Job Agency From Home  

Employment Agency Business Plan