Business License and Permits in Singapore 101

In some cases, a few types of business require a business license to operate legally in Singapore. After
setting up a company in Singapore, a business owner might be required to apply for a license, a permit for certain types of operations that are issued by the government agency.

License Types

1. Compulsory License

This type of license must be procured even before a business starts.

2. Occupational License

This license is required for someone with a specific kind of profession to prove that they are a registered professional such as accountants, doctors, lawyers, and architects. Only after acquiring a license they are allowed to practice their profession.

3. Business Activity Based License

This website mentioned that the license is given based on certain types of business. Generally, most companies or businesses can operate without having to secure a license in Singapore as long as they have been registered by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). However, for certain types of business operations, a business license is required. Here is a list of business that requires the procurement of a permit:

Retail Business

The license required for retail business may vary depending on what type of goods or service that are offered for its consumers. There are Supermarket License, Dealer’s Class License, Wholesale Dealer’s License for Chinese Proprietary Medicine, Certificate of Registration, Cosmetic Products Notification, and Liquor License, to name a few.

Supermarket License is required for supermarket retailers. This license is issued by the Environmental Public Health Act. The Supermarket License is important to ensure the handling of food supplies whether raw or cooked that they fulfill the requirement or standard operating procedure of an acceptable food hygiene standard. If the retail sells liquor or alcoholic products, it will have to secure a Liquor License from the Liquors Licensing Board. If the retail offers cosmetic products, it will also have to apply for a Cosmetic Products Notification from the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore.

The Dealer’s Class License is issued by the Infocommunications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) for telecommunications retailers. A license is required for each retail outlet that is going to be operational in the activities of telecommunication device selling.

Retailers of Chinese Proprietary Medicine must acquire the Wholesale Dealer’s License for Proprietary Medicine (CPM) from the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore (HSA). This license ensures the approval of your operations and monitors the goods you are selling and your credibility as a Chinese proprietary medicine retailer. As for common Pharmacy or drugstores, a different type of license is required, that is in the form of Certificate of Registration from the HSA.

Food and Beverage Business

This license is required for types of food and beverages related business such as restaurants. The required license usually include a Food Shop License. If a business operation involves importing food products and food appliances, then it needs to apply for a Registration Number.

Travel Agency

A travel agency that fulfills the definition stated in Section 4 of the Travel Agents Act of Singapore that commonly deals with the sale or arranging tour packages and tickets must acquire a Travel Agent’s License with the Singapore Tourism Board.

Child Care Center

All child care centers in Singapore must apply for a child care center license with the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).

Educational Institution

Any form of institution that provides educational services in Singapore must register with the Ministry of Education and Council for Private Education. It is also recommended for them to get the certifications of EduTrust and Singapore Quality Class (SQC).

Employment Agency

A business that operates in the work of job placement and recruitment of laborers must get an Employment Agency License that is registered with the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore.

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