Print Friendly

Business License Application in Singapore

Package Fee for Business License Application

Packages Available Fee (SGD)
AVA License Application From $1,000 (W/GST $1,070)
NEA License Application From $1,500 (W/GST $1,605)
Travel Agency License Application From $1,500 (W/GST $1,605)
Liquor License Application From $1,500 (W/GST $1,605)
Tobacco License Application From $1,500 (W/GST $1,605)
Employment Agency License Application From $1,500 (W/GST $1,605)
Activation of custom account From $400 (W/GST $428)
Other Business License Application From $1,500 (W/GST $1,605)

* The fee quoted above are excluded actual out-of-pocket expenses such as government fee and etc.
** If you are foreigner, you will need to obtain employment pass before submission of business license application.
Depending on the type business you would like to set up in Singapore, it is sometimes necessary to obtain a license and/or permit when you register your business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). ACRA’s automated system will indicate if another approving authority is required to grant a license or permit during the application-for-name approval process.
For most licence application such as money changer licence, employment agency licence, food stall licence, IDA licence and many others, the Company must have an executive local director who is a Singaporean or a Singapore P.R. and the appointment of such director must have already been lodged with ACRA before the licence application.
Besides, most licence application documents will need to be signed and submitted by a local key executive personal/director therefore you will need to have such person (either Singapore Citizen, Singapore PR, or employment pass holder) to act for your company and apply for the licence.
Most businesses do not require licences or permits to operate but there are handfuls that do as they are regulated by the approving authorities such as those in food businesses, employment agencies, private schools, travel agencies, liquor distributors, moneylenders, banks, childcare centres, etc.
The summary of the industry specific business license requirement are as follows. In general, it may take between two weeks to two months to get a business license or permit depending on the type:-
Running a retail shop
Licensing requirements for retail shops vary depending on the nature of goods and services being sold. The three popular types of retail stores viz. supermarkets, pharmacies and telecommunications stores
Starting a construction business
There are several permits, approvals and licenses that are required for setting up a construction company in Singapore. In addition, one needs to apply to the Ministry of Manpower for work permits in order to hire foreign laborers.
Engaging in trading activities
Starting a Trading Company in Singapore is required to open a customs account and we can do it for you at $428 W/GST only. You can engage a local freight forwarder to arrange the import and export for your items and they will handle the import/export licenses and permits, taxes and fees, cargo clearance procedures, and goods storage etc for you. Alternatively, if you have a local staff in Singapore, you can do it yourself and please refer to Freight Forwarders or Declaring Agents for the detail.
Setting up a hotel
There are several licenses and approvals to be procured in order to set up a hotel or boarding house in Singapore. Apart from the principal Hotel-Keeper’s License and approval from the Hotels Licensing Board, permits or licenses will have to be obtained for the following types of activities: housing TVs, organizing ad-hoc entertainment, playing copyrighted music or videos, running a spa, selling tobacco products, operating a swimming pool, etc.
Running a spa
You need to apply Massage Establishment License in order to offer massage services, foot-reflexology services, manicure treatments, spa baths or other similar treatments as part of your spa offerings.
Starting a western medical clinic
There are three essential types of licenses in order to operate a western medical clinic in Singapore – the Medical Clinic License which is a compulsory license for all health-care institutions; licenses for dealing with hazardous chemicals, using irradiating equipment or for purchasing certain medicinal products; and licenses and approvals to carry out medical procedures such as such as liposuction, abortion and sterilisation.
Setting up an employment agency
All employment agencies in Singapore require an Employment Agency License prior to starting business activities.
Establishing a travel agency
A travel agency license is required in order to conduct business as a Singapore travel agent.
Setting up a financial services business
Financial advisers must be licensed in order to carry out certain regulated financial services activities. There are two types of licenses (i.e. Capital Markets Services License and Financial Advisers License)
Starting a F&B business
You will need to apply for a food shop license to Open a Restaurant in Singapore
Starting a shipping business
You need to apply license to set up shipping/maritime business operations in Singapore. These include legislation for: operating vessels within and outside Singapore, for crew members to work on board the vessels, for dealing with dangerous goods, for operating certain communication equipment on board vessels, etc.
Running an event management company
Event management companies that are in the business of organizing various types of events will have to obtain one or more licenses depending upon the event or activity being organized. Examples of such licenses include Arts Entertainment License, Copyright Permit, Public Entertainment License, Trade Fair Permit, Animal Exhibition License, etc.
Setting up a real estate agency
Given the rising importance of Singapore’s real estate industry, a new statutory board was recently setup in order to better regulate the industry and raise professional standards in the interest of consumers. The new framework has enhanced the licensing of real estate agencies, introduced a compulsory registration of real estate agents and established new industry regulations. For more information, please refer to Setup a Real Estate Agency Company .
Running a publishing business
The Newspaper Permit and Printing Press License are the two primary licenses that are required for anyone wanting to start a publishing business in Singapore.
Starting a telecommunications business
There are several legal requirements and licenses to be obtained in order to establish a telecommunication services related business in Singapore. The licensing requirements vary depending upon the type of telecommunication service being provided. Each type of business activity requires a compulsory license and may require one or more additional licenses.
Starting a private education business
There are certain mandatory licenses that one needs to obtain in order to setup an educational establishment in Singapore. Which include starting childcare centers, kindergartens, academic schools and non-academic schools in Singapore.
The Online Business Licensing Service (OBLS) is a service you can use to apply for your licenses and permits. From a single website, you can manage multiple licenses and permits. You no longer need to wait in line or go from agency to agency. Visit Online Business Licensing Service (OBLS) today to apply for your business license.
Feel free to contact us today at 3e@3ecpa.com.sg should you need any assistance from us when applying for business licenses.
For a quick guide to identifying the approving authority for a specific business, please refer to our Referral Authority Chart below.

Cases Requiring Referrals

Referral Authority

If company name or service is related to architectural services Board of Architects (BOA)
If company name or activities are related to real estate. Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
If company name or activities are related to commodities futures trading, brokerage, clearing etc. International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore)
If the proposed activities involve community services for the elderly, families, youths, disabled or children Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
If the proposed business name contains terms such as “Military” or “Defense”. Ministry of Defense – Defense Technology and Resource Office
Organization rendering educational or training services of academic nature. Names of such establishments contain terms such as ‘college’, ‘national’, ‘Singapore’, ‘university’ etc. Ministry of Education – Private Schools Section
If the proposed name contains the acronym ASEAN Ministry of Foreign Affairs
If the proposed company is to be engaged in financial services and with a name containing terms related to financial services such as ‘Bank’ ‘Futures Exchange’, ‘Clearing House’ or ‘Securities Exchange’ or other similar terms Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
If the name and activities contain or involve “Islam” and “Muslim” MajlisUgama Islam of Singapore (MUIS)
If the business activities are related to arms, explosive chemicals and ammunition Singapore Police Force – Licensing Division
If the proposed name or tourism-related activities involve the term “Merlion” Singapore Tourism Board (STB)
If the proposed name or activities are related to law or legal services The Law Society of Singapore

Certain business activities require prior approval from the relevant authorities before registration with ACRA:

Cases Requiring Referrals

Referral Authority

If the proposed name and activities contain accounting services Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS)
If the proposed name and activities contain the term “Co-op” or “Co-operative” Registry of Co-operative Societies
If the proposed name and activities contain the terms ‘Medical’ or ‘Clinic’ Ministry of Health (MOH)