Governor Josh Shapiro signed an Executive Order to improve the licensing, permitting, and certification processes, beginning a comprehensive review of how long it takes agencies to process applications and how workers and businesses apply online. This Executive Order will help to establish a date-certain for each license, permit, or certificate by which applicants will hear back – if applicants don’t receive a response by that date, the agency responsible will refund their application fee.
“State government’s top priority should be serving the people of our Commonwealth, but for far too long, Pennsylvanians have had to endure long wait times, outdated systems, and bureaucratic delays. They deserve a government that works efficiently and effectively to get them answers,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Under my Administration, Pennsylvanians will have certainty – they will know how long it will take for agencies to respond, and if an agency doesn’t live up to that promise, they deserve their money back. Pennsylvanians work hard to keep our economy moving, and the Commonwealth should work just as hard to process their applications.”
Pennsylvania workers often have to wait months to receive their professional license, permit, or certification. The Governor is directing all state agencies, boards, and commissions to compile a catalog of the licenses, certificates, and permits they issue – including the statutory authority governing the length of time they must process applications and the application fee charged by each agency.
Commonwealth agencies will have 90 days to send this information to the Governor’s Office, which will then review, analyze, and establish efficient application processing times for all occupational permits or licenses based on agency recommendations. Once those recommendations are put in place, if an agency does not respond to an applicant before the date-certain, the agency will be required to refund the application fee.
Under this Executive Order, the Governor’s Office will also conduct a review of the existing digital services that Pennsylvanians use to apply for licenses, certificates, and permits and work to modernize those application platforms and services to better serve Pennsylvanians.
“People shouldn’t have to suffer through long wait times to put their skills and knowledge to good use. Together, with the Governor’s Office, we will work to ensure Pennsylvanians can get to work in a timely fashion without having red tape hold them back,” said Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt.
An NPR analysis from 2021 found that Pennsylvania had some of the longest wait times in the country for issuing nursing licenses. More than half of the nursing applicants who applied in Pennsylvania that year waited at least three months to hear back.