December 6, 2023

How To Get A Singapore Business License

  • April 8, 2023
How To Get A Singapore Business License

A business license is a permit granted by a Singapore government agency that enables you to direct a specific type of business. Specific types of business activities require a business license in Singapore. If you want to start a business in Singapore, consider the Singapore business license and permits that can be directed to commence a business. 

Hence, to apply for a business license in Singapore, the company must first register with the Registrar of Companies. Besides, it is essential to investigate whether your business activities are regulated under the local law and, if required to apply for the relevant license. A business license is a legal requirement that permits your company to operate within the country’s borders. This blog post will discuss how to get a Singapore business license.

Types of Business Licenses in Singapore

Singapore Business License
Singapore Business License

Certain types of businesses involve a special license before they can operate. Below are some specific permits that should be obtained to start a business in Singapore. 

There are three main types of licenses in Singapore, they are:

  • Compulsory License: Some specific businesses need to obtain licenses before they start functioning. E.g., Childcare centers require a Child Care Centre license. 
  • Occupational Licences: Specific professions need to obtain particular licenses from their respective professional organizations. These include doctors, architects, lawyers, and accountants. 
  • Business Activity based licenses: Some specific types of business activities require special licenses. E.g., for selling liquor, you need to obtain a liquor license. 

Different Types Of Businesses & Their Licenses

Let’s check in detail about different businesses and their licenses in Singapore. 

1. Running a retail shop

Licensing requirements of retail shops differ depending on the nature of goods and services sold. There are three types of retail stores businesses:

  • Supermarkets
  • Pharmacies 
  • Telecommunications stores. 

There are specific guidelines for the licenses and requirements if the items like cosmetics and liquor are sold. 

2. Engaging in trading activities

In the trading business, different aspects of trading are considered like:

  • Opening a customs account
  • Applying for essential/ export license
  • Permits regarding types of goods that can be imported/exported
  • Taxes and fees 
  • Trade financing options 
  • Cargo clearance procedures
  • Goods storage options etc. 

Singapore is considered a global trading hub. Hence, a Singapore business license is required for trading activities.

3. Starting a Construction Business 

Many approvals and business licenses are required to set up a Singapore construction company. Besides, one has to apply to the Ministry Of Manpower for work permits to hire foreign laborers. 

4. Setting up a hotel 

There are many approvals and licenses to be obtained while setting up a hotel or boarding house in Singapore. License for Hotel Keeping and permission from the Hotels Licensing Board must be obtained for the following activities, housing TVs, playing copyrighted music, selling tobacco products, and operating a swimming pool. 

5. Running a Spa

A Singapore Business license is obtained for this business. A Massage Establishment License has to be obtained to offer massage services, food reflexology services, manicure treatments, spa baths, or other similar treatments of spa offerings. 

6. Establishing Travel Agency 

Singapore Business License is being obtained for conducting business as a Singapore travel agent in Singapore. The informational page, Starting a Travel Agency in Singapore, will guide you on how to stay in a Travel agency and obtain a travel agent license in Singapore. 

7. Starting a shipping business

A guide named Starting a Shipping Company in Singapore provides the minimum legal requirements for setting up a shipping or maritime business in Singapore. This business includes legislation for operating vessels within and outfits, dealing with dangerous goods, and using specific communication equipment on board vessels. 

8. Setting up a real estate agency

A new statutory board was recently set up to regulate the industry and raise professional standards in customers’ interests. A new framework has enhanced real estate agent licensing and established new industry regulations. 

9. Running a publishing business

The Newspaper Permit and Printing Press license are primary licenses required for anyone wanting to start a publishing business in Singapore. You can switch to commencing a 

Publishing Business in Singapore, and for that, you can refer to the guide for more details on a publishing note. 

10. Starting A Private Education 

There are specific mandatory licenses that one needs to obtain to set up an educational establishment in Singapore. Starting a Private Education Business in Singapore summarizes additional registration, licenses, and permits needed to create childcare centers, academic schools, and kindergarten and non-academic schools in Singapore. 

Renew your License 

Once you have acquired your business license, you need to make sure that you renew it before it expires. Most business licenses in Singapore are valid for one year, and you must renew them annually. You can restore your license online through the LicenceOne portal.


Obtaining a Singapore Business license is a relatively simple process. However, ensuring you have obtained all the necessary permits and documents before applying for the license is essential. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can ensure that you obtain the proper license for your business and start operating legally in Singapore. The ease of doing business helps nurture an efficient and pro-business environment in Singapore, making it a popular destination for start-ups. 

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