Transfer or Change a License

Your local ABC office can serve as an excellent resource for those planning to transfer or change an existing ABC license.  They can explain the different types of license transfers and answer any questions you may have.  By utilizing the links below you can find information and application forms to some of the more common license transfers and changes.  Associated fees can be found on the License Fees page.

Person to Person

Transfer of an existing license to a new owner.

Double Transfer

A transfer that is person to person AND premises to premises.

Stock Transfer

Transfer of 50% or more of ownership in a legal entity.

Premises to Premises

Transfer of an existing license to a new location.

Drop Partner

One party is leaving a partnership.


A self-incorporation transfer between spouses, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a license be transferred from one person to another person without making an application to ABC?

No. An application signed by both the present licensee and the transferee must be filed with ABC. ABC then proceeds as it would on a new application and may deny the transfer if the transferee-applicant is not qualified for a license. If such transfer also involves a change of the premises, ABC’s approval of the new premises is required. (Sections 24070 and 24073)

When the lease on the licensed premises is terminated and the premises must be vacated, what is required of the licensee?

A licensee must surrender his/her license to ABC within 15 days. During the maximum one year surrender period the licensee may transfer the license to other locations or transfer the license to other persons. All renewal fees must be paid during the surrender period. (Sections 23053.5, 23320, 24072, 24072.1, Rules 60 and 65)

What steps are required for the issuance or transfer of an alcoholic beverage license?

A person who wants to apply for an ABC license must start with the nearest ABC District Office. An ABC staff member will ask the applicant questions about the proposed operation and determine the type of license needed. The staff member will then advise the applicant what forms and fees are needed to file the application. Some applicants, before filing an application with ABC, must first obtain approval from zoning officials, open an escrow, or go to the office of the County Recorder for a certified copy of a Notice of Intended Transfer.

Generally, all parties must appear at the District Office. This is not generally a “mail-in” process because ABC requires personal information such as personal history affidavits. Fees are paid at this time. The applicant also views a video about ABC laws. A temporary permit may be issued under certain conditions.

Does the law prohibit pledging the transfer of a license as security for a loan or as security for the fulfillment of any agreement?

Yes. The law prohibits a licensee from pledging the license as security for a loan or as security for the fulfillment of any agreement. In their transfer application both transferor and transferee must state under oath that the transfer is not being made (a) to satisfy the payment of a loan or to fulfill an agreement entered into more than 90 days before the transfer application is filed, (b) to gain or establish a preference to or for any creditor of the transferor, except as permitted by 3ection 24074, (c) to defraud or injure any creditor of the transferor. (Section 24076)

How long can the licensed premises be closed before the licensee must surrender possession of the license?

When licensed premises are closed, or the exercise of the privileges of the license is discontinued for any reason for a period of 15 consecutive days, the license must be surrendered to ABC. The license may be reactivated upon request of the licensee made at least 10 days in advance. (Rule 65)