Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
What is a Service Permit?
ANSWER A service permit is a permit issued by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to employees who serve alcohol in restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, bars, lounges, private clubs, and similar businesses. A service permit costs $23.00 and is good for 5 years.
QUESTION: Why do I need one?
ANSWER Oregon law requires you to have a service permit if you work at a business with a liquor license that allows customers to drink on the premises and you mix, serve, or sell alcohol in any manner. Managers who supervise employees who mix, serve, or sell alcohol must also have a service permit. Employees of a licensed business must not sell or serve alcohol without a valid service permit.
QUESTION: What if just clear tables or work in the kitchen?
ANSWER If you set up and clear tables, work in the kitchen, check ID at the door, or work as a janitor, bouncer or security person, you do not need a service permit as long as you do not also mix, serve, or sell alcohol in any manner or supervise those who do.
QUESTION: What if I'm a hostess? Do I need aservice permit?
ANSWER If as a host or hostess you just greet and seat customers, you do not need a service permit. However, if you collect money from customers who have been drinking or ring up checks that include charges for alcohol, you are selling alcohol and need a service permit. If you roam the floor and sometimes help servers by delivering drinks to a table or refilling a customer's glass of wine or beer, you are serving alcohol and need a service permit. Remember, the law says you must have a service permit if you mix, serve, or sell alcohol in any manner.
QUESTION: How do I qualify for a service permit?
- You must be at least 18 years old. (If you are between 18 and 20 years old, there are restrictions on what you can do. See: What if I am between 18 and 20 years old? topic on this page.
You must complete the service permit application form supplied by the OLCC.
Your employer must sign the application form and immediately mail it with the non-refundable $23.00 fee to the OLCC.
You must take and pass an Alcohol Server Education class. There's a separate fee for the class, usually $25 to $40, which goes directly to the provider of the class.
QUESTION: How do I apply for a service permit?
- Ask your employer for an application form. If your employer doesn't have one, he or she can call the OLCC main office in Milwaukie or one of our local offices to request the forms.
Read the one page application carefully and answer all of the questions fully and honestly.
Your employer must verify your age and identity by checking your ID and signing the application form.
Your employer is responsible for mailing the application form with the non-refundable $23.00 fee to the OLCC, not you. However, you are responsible for paying the $23 fee.
QUESTION: When may I begin to work?
ANSWER You may begin working only after you have completed and signed the application form and your employer has verified your age and identity and signed the application form. DO NOT MIX, SERVE, OR SELL ANY ALCOHOL UNTIL BOTH YOU AND YOUR EMPLOYER HAVE COMPLETED THE APPLICATION.
By law, your employer must mail your application and fee to the OLCC immediately. Keep the yellow copy of the application – this is your temporary permit. It must be available at all times while you are working until you receive your permit.
QUESTION: Do I have to take an Alcohol Server Education Class?
ANSWER Yes, if you have not already passed a class within the past 2 years. You must complete an Alcohol Server Education class and pass the examination within 45 days after your application is submitted. For more information, see our Alcohol Server Education page or call 503-872-5133 in Portland or 1-800-452-6522, ext. 5133, elsewhere in Oregon.
If you do not take and pass a class within 45 days, you will have to submit another application and fee. However, if you have to submit a second application, YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR ANOTHER TEMPORARY PERMIT. You will have to take and pass an Alcohol Server Education class before you can serve and sell alcohol again. Do not submit your second application until you take the class.
QUESTION: May I take an ASE class before I submit an application?
ANSWER Yes. If you take and pass a class first, the class is good for 2 years. You may apply for a permit any time within those 2 years. However, if you submit an application first, the application is good for only 45 days.
Remember, even if you take and pass a class first, you may not sell or serve alcohol without a valid service permit or a valid temporary permit.
QUESTION: Can I get a service permit before I find a job?
ANSWER Yes. Take a server education class first. Some instructors have service permit applications and will sign them for you when you take their class. Check with the instructor when you register. If your instructor doesn't sign applications, you can go to your local OLCC office to have your application signed. You'll need to have identification and the application fee. Call first to be sure that someone who can sign applications will be in the office.
QUESTION: What if I am between 18 and 20 years old?
ANSWER If you are 18, 19, or 20 years old, you can get a minor service permit. With a minor service permit, you may serve, pour, and draw alcoholic beverages only in areas of the business not prohibited to minors where alcohol service is secondary to food service. You may not mix drinks nor work as a bartender or cocktail server.
You may enter and remain in areas prohibited to minors (such as a bar or lounge) only long enough to perform work-related duties such as:
- Ordering and picking up drinks for service in areas not prohibited to minors (such as a dining room),
- Clearing tables,
- Stocking supplies, and
- Delivering food.
On your 21st birthday, these restrictions will no longer apply.
QUESTION: How long is my premit good for?
ANSWER A Service Permit will now expire five years from the date the Alcohol Server Education class was taken.
QUESTION: Do I have to have my permit on me when I'm working?
ANSWER The law says you must make your service permit "available at any time while on duty for immediate inspection" by an OLCC Inspector or Investigator or by a police officer. If your permit is in your wallet in the employee room, and you can produce it immediately, that would be okay. But if you left your permit at home or at another restaurant where you work, it would not be available for "immediate inspection." (ORS 471.360)
QUESTION: What if I lose my permit or change my name?
ANSWER You must apply immediately for a duplicate or name change permit. Complete a service permit application form the same as if you were applying for a new permit. The fee for a duplicate or name change permit is $5.00.