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Massage PermitsBusiness Licenses

Effective immediately, the SB Police Department will be charging a $25 rolling fee for Live Scans. This charge will be paid at the time of the scan.

Thank you for considering the City of Santa Barbara for your massage-related business. Massage is an integral component in one’s physical and emotional well being.

The city wishes to facilitate the ethical practice of massage by the orderly regulation of massage in their interest of public health, safety, and welfare.  As a result, Massage Technicians and Establishment owners, in the City of Santa Barbara are required to obtain special permits as well as a business license tax certificate.

Statewide Approval Process

California Massage Therapy Council
One Capitol Mall
Suite 320
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 669-5336

A state license for massage therapy can be obtained by contacting the California Massage Therapy Council. The holder of a valid state license for massage is exempt from applying for the local massage technician outcall permit and only needs to complete the Business License Tax Application and remit with payment.  The state license number is required on the application.

Those wishing to open a massage establishment are required to complete an application for an establishment and pay a processing fee. Upon approval by the Fire and Police Commission the business license tax application is to be remitted with payment before commencing business.

If a state license is not held for massage therapy those wishing to practice massage are required to complete an application for Massage Technician Outcall and pay a processing fee. Upon approval the applicant is required to pay the annual business license tax before the permit is issued.

City of Santa Barbara Documents

Is a business license tax certificate required?

Yes, anyone conducting business within the City of Santa Barbara limits must maintain a business license tax certificate; as outline in the city Municipal code.

The annual business license tax for an outcall massage technician is $100.00. The annual business license tax for a massage establishment is based on the number of employees. (Refer to Section C of the Business License Tax Rate Schedule)
If you are an employee of a massage establishment, and payroll taxes are deducted from your paycheck, a letter from the owner of the massage establishment can be submitted stating as such, and you would be exempt from the annual business license tax requirement. In this circumstance, you are not allowed to provide “outcall” massage services.

Who is required to obtain a Massage Technician Permit?

If you are providing massage services, either in an establishment or on an outcall basis, you must possess a City of Santa Barbara Massage Technician Permit. 

What documents do are required to apply for a Massage Technician Permit? (*this is in-lieu of State Certification)

Written statements of at least five (5) bona fide residents of the County of Santa Barbara that the applicant is of good moral character. (must include phone/address of the reference).
Written proof that the applicant is over the age of 18 years (Driver’s License)
Two (2) passport photographs (1 ½ inches by 2 inches).
Massage business tax history of applicant, listing suspension or revoked licenses.
Medical certificate (TB Test Only) issued within the last 30 days.
A copy of diploma or certificate with at least 200 hours from a state recognized school.
Completed Massage Technician Permit application packet.

Is there a requirement for a background check?

Yes. Once the application packet and the $52.00 processing fee are received in the Business License Tax Office, you will be required to visit the Santa Barbara Police Department to provide fingerprints for a statewide records check. Call (805) 897-2300 to set up your Live Scan appointment.

When will the technician permit be issued?

Once the application has been approve by the Police Department, the Finance Department will contact the owner/technician to pick up their identification card.

The approval process takes 6-8 weeks from the time of fingerprinting. Several weeks are required by the State Department of Justice to conduct their review of the submitted information and provide direction to the local law enforcement agency.

When picking up the Massage Technician ID card, you will be required to pay $100.00 for your Business License Tax Certificate.

Who is required to obtain a Massage Establishment Permit?

Any establishment, in a fixed place of business, engaging in or carrying on, or permitting any combination of massage and health treatment of massage and bathhouse, showers, hot tubs, saunas is required to obtain a massage establishment permit. Remit the Massage Establishment Application form with all its approvals to the Finance Department.

What if I move my Massage Establishment location, within the City of Santa Barbara?

Send notification to the Business License Department located at:

735 Anacapa St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93102.

The information provided here is intended to assist with the understanding of the permit and license requirements and is not intended to supersede any provisions in the Santa Barbara Municipal Code. Should any information conflict with the provisions of the Ordinance, the Ordinance shall prevail.

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2018
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