Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions imageGeneral










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Q: How do I use this web site?
A: The SFGov web site provides extensive search capabilities and is easy to use and navigate. The content is organized in five major categories that are referenced on the top of every page on the site. They are:

  • Residents : in this section you will find information and services useful primarily to those who live in San Francisco, from culture to education, from health to transportation, etc.
  • Business : in this section you will find information and services useful primarily to businesses or entrepreneurs in San Francisco.
  • Visitors : in this section we have placed general information that is of most value to those who want to visit or learn more about San Francisco.
  • Government : in this section we have aggregated content that relates to the City's agencies and institutions and the City's codes and legislation.
  • Online Services : in this section Residents and Businesses will find access to a variety of City's transactions that can be completed online.

Q: Why is the City's web site using the top-level domain ".org" rather than ".gov"?
: The City has adopted the simple and easier to remember "" domain to facilitate Citizens' access to information which is our main objective. At the same time, we have also registered the "" domain.



Q: Where can I find general resources on living in San Francisco?
A: Our Residents category was created just for that purpose.  There you'll find links to useful information, from culture to transportation.

Q: How can I get a marriage certificate?
A: See our information on marriage in San Francisco.

Q: How can I find information on Domestic Partners in San Francisco?
A: Find information on Domestic Partners in San Francisco.

Q: Where can I find a list of upcoming concerts and cultural events in San Francisco?
A: Check City Events at SF Gate's entertainment section, or the calendar of events at San Francisco Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Q: A street light is out, damaged or obscured in my neighborhood, how can this be fixed?
A: Most street lights in San Francisco are owned or operated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. You can contact them by phone: (415) 554-0730; email: or go their website at (click on “At Your Service” and then “Street Light Problems”).

Q: How can I make a whistleblower complaint?
A: The City has a Whistleblower Program where City employees and residents may report complaints concerning the quality and delivery of government services, misuse of City funds, wasteful and inefficient City government practices, and improper activities by City officers and employees. Complaints can be made online via a complaint form which can be found on our website ( Complaints can also be made by calling the City’s Customer Service Center at 311.

Q: Where can I obtain a passport?
A: Federal, state and probate courts, many post offices, some libraries, and a number of county and municipal offices. Our own Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector houses the main acceptance office in the San Francisco area. For hours and general information, visit the Treasurer's Passport Acceptance Office website. For information about passport requirements, see the Department of State's passport website.

Q: How can I get involved in my neighborhood?
: From recreation to volunteering, you can find a list of activities on our "Recreation" guide.



Q: How do I start a business in San Francisco?
A: See the "Getting a Business Started" guide available for download on the Treasurer/Tax Collector's web site.

Q: How do I do business with the City and County of San Francisco?
A: Find out how easy it is to do business with the City of San Francisco.

Q: How do I obtain a building permit?
A: It is quickly and easily to request building and other permits online.

Q: How can I work for the city government?
A: Explore the "City Employment" page for job opportunities with the City of San Francisco.



Q: Where should I begin if I'm visiting the City?
A: The San Francisco Travel Association is your first stop for all your visiting needs.  We also provide useful information on our Visitors site.

Q: Where can I find photographs of San Francisco to download?
A: The San Francisco Travel Association has a library of photos.

Q: What is the population of San Francisco?
A: 801,377 as of January 1, 2000.

Q: What is the weather like in San Francisco?
A: Visit sfgate for the latest weather update.

Q: How do I get around the City?
A: Whether you're traveling by bike, bus, rail, or boat, the "SFMTA" guide has links to all forms of transportation available in San Francisco.



Q: How do I file a claim against the City and County of San Francisco?
A: You can find the claim form at the Office of City Attorney.

Q: How can I find out about the City Council?
A: San Francisco does not have a City Council. It is both a City and a County, and it only has a Board of Supervisors. The Board holds weekly meetings at City Hall.

Q: How do I register to vote?
A: Contact the Department of Elections at 415-554-4375 (voice), 415-554-7344 (fax), or (email) to have a Voter Registration Card mailed to you. You can also visit the Department of Elections for more information.

Q: How can I get a copy of the municipal code?
A: The municipal code is on-line. It is also available at the public library.

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See the entire A-to-Z list of departments and agencies.