Santa Cruz County


The County of Santa Cruz oversees some aspects of the business registration process such as filing your fictitious business name and applying for a health permit for your restaurant or food based business.

Fictitious Business Name

You may need to obtain a fictitious business license through the County Clerk’s Office. You are required to obtain a fictitious business license if your business’ name a) does not include your surname, the business owner’s surname, and each of your partners’ surnames and b) the nature of the business is not clearly evident by the name. This is so the community is notified of a new business and they are aware of who runs the business.

For example: doing business under a name like “Cruz Cakes” would require a Fictitious Business Name be registered because the surname of the owner is not stated, but the business name “John Smith Photography” wouldn’t require a Fictitious Business Name be filed.

The Fictitious Business Name fee is $40 and $7.00 for each additional business name or owner name, plus the fee to advertise the name in a local newspaper once a week for four consecutive weeks. Once registered, your Fictitious Business Name is effective for 5 years and you will need to re-register prior to the expiration date or if the business location changes.

How to Get Your Fictitious Business Name:

Address:Santa Cruz County Clerk, 701 Ocean Street, Room 210
Hours:8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday
Fees:$40 plus the fee to advertise the name in a local newspaper
Processing Time:4 weeks
Information Needed:Business name, owners contact information, business structure and Articles of Incorporation if Corporation or Partnership
Forms:Fictitious Business Name Application

More information is available here.

Environmental Health Permit

The County of Santa Cruz is responsible for ensuring food and environmental safety for the entire county for a variety of business types that can affect the public, such as:

  • Food service, processing, vending for restaurants and pop-ups
  • Home-based cottage food
  • Pools, spas, or hot tubs
  • Body art such as piercing or tattoos
  • Medical waste handling
  • Hazardous materials and waste

Obtaining your Environmental Health Permit is critical for many businesses, especially restaurants and pop-up restaurants and requires submitting the application form to Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. The cost of the permit varies depending on the type of the business and size of the space.

For assistance completing the Environmental Health Permit form or questions about the process email [email protected].