Apply for an Authority to Construct / Permit to Operate

Learn about air quality permitting requirements and apply for a permit.

New requirements for facilities in Overburdened Communities
New requirements apply to facilities located in overburdened communities. Use the interactive mapping tool, Overburdened Communities Map, to determine if a project is located in an overburdened community and consult Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for 2022 Permit Reform.

Support for Businesses Aiding COVID-19 Response
The Air District will prioritize and expedite permits for businesses and organizations changing or repurposing operations to aid in the public health response to COVID-19.

Read our full instructions to apply for Expedited Permits for COVID-19.

Special Instructions During Shelter-in-Place
Due to the Bay Area's emergency Shelter-in-Place Order, the Air District’s office staff began working from home on March 17.

* Please do not visit our office to meet with staff or drop off materials.

Read our full instructions for handling Permit business, which will be in effect for the duration of California’s Shelter-in-Place Order.

Permit Requirements

Like building permits, air quality permits are required by law as a part of doing business in the Bay Area. Air quality permits are needed for:

  • Any equipment that may cause air pollution.
  • Modification to existing permitted equipment or their permit conditions.
  • Permitted equipment that is moved to a new location.
  • Transfer of permitted equipment to new owners
  • Installation of equipment used to control emissions.
  • The Air District will review the equipment design and inspect the installed equipment to ensure all regulations have been met. Different types of permits are required for each project:
    1. Authority to Construct - issued before construction and after Air District engineers review your project to ensure it will comply with air quality laws.
    2. Permit to Operate - issued after the project is built and Air District engineers confirm it complies with air quality laws. Must be renewed annually.
    3. Certificate of Exemption - issued, upon request, if the type of equipment or activity does not require an Air District permit or registration. Exempt equipment must still comply with Air District regulations.

Some facilities are eligible to register their equipment instead of applying for an Authority to Construct and Permit to Operate. Facilities operating equipment without a Permit to Operate or Certificate of Registration are subject to legal action.

How to Apply

To determine if your facility is eligible, learn more about the Online Permitting System.

To apply for permit/registration:

  1. Review procedures for completing permit application package.
  2. Complete and submit the appropriate application forms.
  3. Provide any information requested, such as equipment description and specifications, material use, emissions, and operation details.
  4. Mail forms with payment of at least a filing fee.

Contact the Engineering Division for more information.

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Last Updated: 8/1/2017