What Happens to My TABC Permit Application After Submission?


As of February 2019, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is reporting a processing time for retailers who sell alcohol for on-premises consumption (such as restaurants and bars) of approximately 60 days. So what happens between submitting a Texas liquor license application and receiving the permit? We’ve summarized your application’s journey through the agency here.

Local Processing

You have delivered your application to the TABC. You showed up at the local office with your complete application (an original and a copy). You waited in the waiting room. You met with a License and Permit Specialist. He or she confirmed the documents you held in hand and deemed them to constitute a complete application. You left the office feeling great and with a file-stamped copy in your hand to keep for future reference when considering making changes to the location, ownership, financing, or other aspects of your establishment. What’s next?

After a few days, you should receive an email from another License and Permit Specialist. This may be the same person you met at the local TABC office, but it probably won’t be. In fact, the person could even be a License and Permit Specialist from a completely different area. When certain offices have a backlog, the TABC may reroute your application to a non-local representative for processing, which is not a bad thing. Rerouting helps the License and Permit Specialists keep a balanced workload, and it helps keep your TABC permit application moving along.

The License and Permit Specialist will be your point of contact. He or she will review your Texas liquor license application and may ask questions, request that you correct any errors, or even provide additional documentation. The License and Permit Specialist will also provide you with this link to an online “Responsibilities Course” that must be completed by a certain representative of the applicant. Reference the link to identify who from your organization must complete the course and to review the specific course required for the permit or license being requested.

Once you have completed the training and satisfied all requests, and the License and Permit Specialist completes his or her review, the application will go to TABC headquarters in Austin.

Headquarters Processing

Once at TABC headquarters, your application will again be reviewed by TABC Licensing Department personnel. You will not typically receive any direct communication from these individuals. If headquarters personnel does have questions, they will submit those to you via your assigned License and Permit Specialist. The good news is that your TABC permit application usually spends much less time at the headquarters office than it does in the field office.

When the application is finally approved, this is often reflected online before you hear from the TABC. If you are anxious to know the status of your application as soon as possible, you may want to visit the TABC Public Inquiry website on a regular basis. Again, once the TABC headquarters approves it, that approval should be reflected on the TABC Public Inquiry website within 24 hours. Click on the first link in the list of options on the left: “Verify the status and other information on license/permit or to check the status of a pending license.” Then, enter information as necessary to search for your application. If you are looking for an active permit or Texas liquor license or pending application, make sure you check all of the following boxes:

  • Active-Current
  • Active-Suspended
  • Pending Original

Leave the remaining boxes unchecked. The address fields can be tricky, so it’s recommended to search using the owner name. If nothing comes up, try adding or taking away punctuation or using a different identifier to search for the application.

Requesting a Letter of Authority

The record for the correct licensed premises will indicate whether the application is still pending or whether there is an active permit or Texas liquor license. Once the status has changed to “Current,” you can request a “Letter of Authority” from your License and Permit Specialist who initially emailed you. This request is typically made by you and fulfilled by the License and Permit Specialist via email.

If you do not request the Letter of Authority, one will not issue, and you will simply wait for your official permit in the mail. If you do receive the Letter of Authority, post it at your licensed premises, and you are ready to transact business under the permit or license. The official permit will still follow in the mail. Discard the Letter of Authority and post the permit when it arrives. Make sure that you comply with all other TABC requirements as you open your business, including posting the required signs.

Consulting the Experts

Remember, the permit issuance timeline varies depending on your establishment and several other factors. Submitting a complete and accurate application to the TABC is the fastest way to get your permit issued, and Storm Liquor License can help. If the TABC needs more information or corrections to your application, your permit issuance date could be held up. A skilled liquor licensing service will know exactly what is needed (or not) on your form to ensure a quick and easy process without delays.

Disclaimer: Nothing in our articles or on our website is legal advice and should not be taken as such. Please address all legal questions to your counsel. While our team is not a law firm, we can refer you as needed.

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