Relocating a Business with a New York Liquor License

Is your lease expiring? Buying a new building? Expanding to a large location? If your business has a New York liquor license, you will have to apply in advance for permission to “relocate” your liquor license to a new location. The way to do this is generally with a removal petition. However, a removal petition generally takes 3-4 months. In some cases, an applicant can use a temporary permit or attorney certification to expedite the process.

Sometimes this delay is detrimental to the health of your business. Some commercial leases will require that you open expeditiously because vacancies reflect poorly on foot traffic to other businesses in the mall or plaza. What if you have to start paying rent before you get SLA approval to open at the new location? What if you have to be out of the old location before the SLA grants permission to start selling alcoholic beverages at the new location? Will closing down for a few weeks or months result in financial losses in the thousands or tens of thousands, or dollars? What if you are forced to pay rent at the old and new location simultaneously while the permission is pending?

The good news is that an experienced SLA attorney might be able to offer some strategic planning with another option: apply for a temporary permit and use attorney certification. In some cases, this may get your business opened in 1-2 months rather than the typical 3-4 months processing time for removal applications (especially liquor stores which must go to the Full Board for approval, keep in mind these times are only estimates, at one end of the spectrum, we sometimes see temporary permits with attorney certification in 2-3 weeks, and on the other end of the spectrum, we sometimes see removal applications or new applications take as much as six months or longer).

Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of each strategy:

Removal New Application
  • Filing fee cost is less
  • Application is less burdensome
  • Fewer issues for examiner to raise, smoother process in many situations
  • Lower attorneys fee
  • Attorney certification available
  • Temporary permit available


  • Filing fees are much higher
  • May be able to get partial refund for license fees for unused portion of term of old license
  • Application has more requirements such as new personal questionnaires of principals
  • Temporary permit possible
  • Attorney certification possible
  • May move through system a bit faster than other new applications since the principals are in the system already
  • Attorney fees are higher
  • A fuller application can cause more issues for the Examiner to raise and request more supporting documentation – burdensome and time-consuming


While each situation is unique, there are often possible two or more alternatives to accomplish your desired liquor license goal. If your biggest concern is budget, a removal petition would be your best option. Call our team and we can customize an approach for your business.