Here in MA at least since the early 80s and I am sure much longer than that, all electric work requires permits and inspections.
To pull a permit you must have a license and liability insurance (I do not recall how much)
The owner of the property can sign a wavier for you if you do not have insurance, but I always wondered how that conversation would go.
"Mr Homeowner even though I make my living charging for my work I chose not to carry insurance, so can you sign this waiver that says you know I have no way to pay for your house if it burns down. Hey why are you running away?"
A homeowner can pull a permit for the single occupancy home they live in, and is subject to inspections. I have heard of inspectors trying to give on the spot tests to homeowners looking for permits, I believe they are making their own rules at this point though.
There is also yearly maintenance permits that can be applied for if you do a lot of work for the same location, but as the name implies it is for repairs, not new installations.
Permit fees vary widely, by the service amps, by the device, by a percentage of job cost etc. each area makes their own rules here.
One more thing is many small towns have part time inspectors, one or two days a week, as Roger mentioned, the GCs go nuts but it is not my problem.