Food Permits


There are several different types of Food Permits available through the Portsmouth Health Department. The following information can help you determine which permit type is right for your business. 

Food businesses that will operate year-round (annually) or seasonally (e.g. restaurants, convenience stores, delis, coffee shops, supermarkets, specialty food stores with perishable products, food processing/manufacturing facilities, bakeries, chocolatiers, take-aways, water parks, entertainment hubs, etc.):

If you are considering purchasing an existing food business, purchasing or becoming a partner in a corporation/company that owns a food business, or building a new food business, the facility must meet current requirements. Please contact the Portsmouth Health Department early in your business development process so that you fully understand Portsmouth Food Service requirements. 

An existing food service facility, even one that has been operating continuously, may require substantial upgrades in order to obtain a permit. A new food service permit is required whenever a food service establishment, or the entity owning that establishment, undergoes any change in ownership of any type. The Portsmouth Health Department is eager to assist you and would be happy to perform a "walk-through", which is a visit to the facility that will identify what needs to be corrected in order for the facility to be permitted to a new owner. This service is free of charge and can usually be scheduled within 2 business days. 

The steps for opening/changing a food related business are outlined in the "New/Renovated Food Establishment Checklist." Additional guidelines and more detailed information can be found in the "Restaurant/Food Service Construction Guide." Follow the instructions carefully and, as always, please contact the Health Department with your questions.

Mobile Food Businesses: including food trucks, ice cream trucks, and push-carts: This may be an Annual or Seasonal food permit. Please visit the Mobile Vending Permits page for details on obtaining Mobile permits. 

Farmers' Market Food Permits: This is a Seasonal food permit. Please visit the Farmers' Market and Local Foods page for details on participating in the Portsmouth Farmers' Market.

Temporary Event related Food Permits: Please visit the Temporary Events Food Permits page for detailed instructions on the application process for hosting Temporary Events in Portsmouth. 



Initial Food Permits for all annual and seasonal businesses can be applied for using our online permitting system. Once your business has passed all of its pre-opening inspections, your Food Permit will be issued and available to print online.

Permits are issued Annually, Seasonally, or Temporarily. Expiration dates vary based on type of permit. 

ANNUAL permits expire on September 30

SEASONAL permits:

  • Seasonal Food Permits (including seasonal mobiles and pushcarts) expire on October 15
  • Farmers' Market Permits expire at the end of the seasonal contract period (see Farmers' Market page)

TEMPORARY permits expire at the end of the Event period as permitted.


Annual and Seasonal food permits are eligible for automatic renewals. Permit holders will receive automatic notifications via email when the RENEWAL period opens for their specific permit type. 

ANNUAL permits:

  • RENEWAL period opens at the beginning of September
  • Permit holders have until September 30 to renew their existing record in ViewPoint

SEASONAL permits:

  • RENEWAL period for Seasonal Food Permits opens mid-March
  • RENEWAL period for Farmers' Market Food Permits opens at the beginning of April

To renew your food permit, log into your ViewPoint accounts and visit your personal Dashboard (located under the "My Account" tab at the top of your page) to review and submit the renewal application for your existing Food Permit. DO NOT CREATE A NEW APPLICATION if you are currently licensed with us. 


Log into your existing ViewPoint account or create a new account to apply for permits through our online permitting center. If you have any questions about the online system, please read the NEW USERS and FAQs page.


LOOKING FOR OPTIONS TO OBTAIN CERTIFIED FOOD MANAGER CERTIFICATION? The American National Accreditation Board maintains a list of programs accredited by the Conference for Food Protection. Please visit their page for information on the different organizations that provide courses that lead to certification. The organizations are listed on the left side of the page. Select one (1) of the programs listed (by clicking on their name) to obtain the website address where you can register for your training and exam.