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Acquiring Licenses and Permits for Industry-Specific Businesses in Singapore

A business license is issued by the Singapore government that allows a company to conduct a certain type of business. It is essential for businesses that are required to operate with a license to earn it. In order to be able to go through the procedure of acquiring a business license, a businessman must ensure that his company has already gone through the steps of getting it registered by the government, usually ACRA. The time may vary for different types of companies to earn its business license, ranging from two weeks to two months. Depending on the nature of goods and services that are sold by the shop, the requirement for earning the license may vary. Generally, supermarkets, pharmacies, telecommunications, liquor, and cosmetic stores are the few popular types of shops in Singapore.

Retail Shop

To get a license to run a supermarket in Singapore that mainly offers raw and/or cooked foods, a Supermarket License mandated by the Environment Public Health Act is to be required. This license ensures food safety and sanitation according to a certain guideline to avoid food-borne diseases. The criteria that need to be met for the license is that the applicant must either be a Singaporean or Permanent Resident or a company that is registered with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). It will also need to be able to provide a clear and scaled plan in a metric format of the layout, preparation area, toilets, and stores of the supermarket. If the applicant is self-employed, they need to make sure that their Medisave contributions are already paid prior to applying for a license. A special condition where there is a tobacco product to be sold in the store, a Tobacco Retail License from the Tobacco Regulation Branch of the Health Products Regulation Group is needed.


A Certificate of Registration of a Pharmacy issued by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is necessary to operate a pharmacy selling medicinal products. To apply for this certificate, first-time applicants namely a company director is allowed to nominate up to two employees to be official company administrators. This is done via the Client Registration and Identification Service. A SingPass account is required to access this website. Then, the applications must attach information of store details and business registration number, as well as a detailed layout plan of the pharmacy along with its operating hours and expected opening date. Details of all medicinal products storage must also be included, and finally particulars of the applicant and pharmacist-in-charge that is required to be registered with the Singapore Pharmacy Council and possesses a ‘Form A Poisons License’ and ‘Form C Poisons License’ to sell medicinal products.

Telecommunication Store

The license that telecommunication retailers need to have for selling any telecommunication device is Telecommunications Dealer’s License. The registration for Dealer’s Class License is entity-based. An applicant needs to provide Infocommunications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) that includes the address and telephone number for each premises that is to be operational for selling telecommunications equipment as stated in the First Schedule of the Regulations. The applicant must be either a business registered under the Business Registration Act (Cap 32), a company registered in Singapore by ACRA, or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) registered under the Limited Liability Partnerships Act. However, slightly different requirements are needed to apply for a Telecommunication Dealer’s Individual License. This license is outlet based, so every premise that sells approved telecommunications equipment must have its own license. The applicant requirement is the same as the Telecommunications Dealer’s Class License. The difference is in the application fee, where the former is S$50 and the latter is S$250 per outlet and is valid for five years.

Liquor Store

Permit for the sale of liquors is licensed by the Liquors Licensing Board. First the applicant must be company that’s already registered under ARCA. Meanwhile for societies registered with the Registry of Societies (ROS), the applicant has to be a committee member. Applicant is expected to be a Singapore citizen or someone with a Singapore Permanent resident or possess a FIN by Immigration and Customs Authority (ICA). If the applicant is self-employed, then their Medisave contributions are to be ensured up-to-date. The license, if approved, is valid for two years.


A business that sells cosmetic products domestically does not have to apply for a license, according to the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive. It only needs to notify the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) prior to placing the product in the market. Applicants will be charged with a fee that varies depending on the products’ respective risk and variation such as colors.


There are other licenses that may need to be required for one’s business such as Non-Residential TV License for placing a TV or broadcast-receiving device in a retail outlet, Copyright License to play copyrighted tracks, and Wide-area Private Network License to be able to use private network service such as walkie talkie. To get more info on the latest update you can visit this website,

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