UPDATED July 1, 2020:

Licensing Requirements

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 Licensing Requirements

In 1992, Williamsburg City Council passed an ordinance requiring the testing and licensing of tour guides operating in the restored area of the city. In spring 1999 a committee was formed to study the effectiveness of the ordinance. That group concluded that the 1992 ordinance needed more specific criteria to permit its equitable implementation. To this end, several changes were made to the ordinance. On January 10, 2019 the City Council amended the tour guide licensing ordinance to provide for voluntary testing. Due to testing now being voluntary, the tour guide licensing fee was reduced to $25 every three years.

  • Upon receipt of an application for tour guide license, a criminal background check is conducted.
  • To facilitate enforcement of the ordinance, tour guides must display their license when conducting tours.
  • The ordinance includes criteria for suspension and revocation of licensing as well as an appeal process.
  • Prior to the issuance of a tour guide license, proof of a business license or an exemption must be obtained.

The amended tour guide ordinance is effective March 25, 2019. Testing will be conducted at the Williamsburg Police Department, located at 425 Armistead Avenue, Williamsburg, VA 23185. The test coordinator is Major Don Janderup at or 757-220-6156.

Applicants must call Major Janderup for a testing appointment. Testing facilities are limited to 10 persons per time. Payments must be made in the form of cash, credit card, check, or money order to the Finance Department.

Attached you will find a study syllabus, a public safety information sheet and a copy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's General Mechanics Guide for Independent Tour Companies. Please note that test questions have been developed from these materials and the text books identified in the syllabus.

If you are not taking the test, bring your notarized & completed application form to the Police Department. We will review it, complete a criminal background check, and create a Tour Guide License for you. We will call you when it is completed and issue it to you upon proof of payment to our Finance Department and Business License, if required.

Also attached is the application for Tour Guide License. The application must be completed, signed by the applicant, and notarized.

Note that, if application and testing result in the qualification of the applicant for licensing, a copy of a business license or exemption must be obtained from the Williamsburg Commissioner of the Revenue (Municipal Building, 401 Lafayette Street, Williamsburg, VA 23185; 757-220-6150).

Please address questions to Major Don Janderup by phone or e-mail. For more information, consult the City of Williamsburg's website where Tour Guide Ordinance #26-99, the license applicationand other relevant material is posted. We welcome your continued participation in the sharing of Williamsburg's colonial history with your clients. We believe that the revised city ordinance will enhance the visitor's experience here.  


Police Patch clr     Professional Services Bureau
425 Armistead Ave.
     Williamsburg, VA 23185
     Phone: (757) 220-2331
     Emergency: 911