post-title What you need to know for various business licenses in Singapore

What you need to know for various business licenses in Singapore

Last modified: November 28, 2023

What you need to know for various business licenses in Singapore

What you need to know for various business licenses in Singapore

A lot of businesses in Singapore actually do not need a license. However, these exceptions include mandatory, occupational and business-based licenses. Oftentimes, a license can take from a few days to two weeks or as late as two months. Make sure you plan ahead of time when you want your license. Certain licenses may take a longer time due to the need for approval from more than one authorities depending on your business type and some may also need you to do a physical site visit. You will most likely need a different license if you plan on operating in different sectors now or in the future. Here is a list of different business industries that require a license in order to operate in Singapore. 


A construction license required not only licenses but also permits and approvals. If you want to hire foreigners, a construction company would need to apply through the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for a work permit. Before you apply for a license, your company must have been registered under these categories: limited or unlimited company. Otherwise, a multi-disciplinary and a limited liability partnership.


The import and export of every good that is going in and out of Singapore require a permit from TradeNet. There are various goods that require different agencies, which include controlled and technological imports and the export of local goods. Some exceptions when a permit is not needed for trade include trade samples that worth less than S$400.


Hotels require a main Certificate of Registration license, but you will also need additional licenses from many other industries, such as music, entertainments, TVs, spa, and swimming pools. The hotel license expires every year’s December, but you can renew every year. Prior to the registration, you will also need approval from different sectors. This includes premises, building construction, and fire safety. 


In order to register for a travel agency license, there must be an appointed executive that is a citizen in Singapore. He/she must have a clear background in order to represent the agency. You must also have a paid-up capital of S$100,000. Most importantly, there must be a website that includes TRUST system to offer more information. 


An event could be conferences, performances, or community or leisure events. The good part is that there is no major license for event management. However, there are required licenses depending on the type of events. This can be arts and public entertainment, or other related activities. Don’t forget about playing music for events, so a copyright permit is also necessary. 


You will have a distinct license for your retail business since you have different goods or services. The most common retail stores include supermarkets, pharmacies, and telecommunications. Since it is a complicated process, here is a detailed guide on Setting up a Retail Outlet in Singapore, specifically in these industries. 

Now that you have some idea on how to get a license in your industry, you should prepare ahead of time. There are a lot of prior-authorization requirements, such as approvals, permits, and preparations. Most importantly, you must have incorporated your company before you register your license. You do not have to worry too much about your license. Singapore has made it a lot simpler to build a business license. For this reason, this is why Singapore is one of the most popular locations to create start-up businesses. Given how convenient and simple it is to do business here.

If you have just become an Entrepreneur, don’t forget about making a pass before a license. For further details, refer to Work Passes You Need to Setup Your Business in Singapore. If you are a foreigner who wishes to settle your business in Singapore, refer to the Global Investor Program (GIP) – visa for wealthy investors.

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