What are the licenses required for a Singapore company?

There are 3 main kinds of licenses that are applicable for a Singapore company:

Compulsory Licences
Certain businesses require licences before they can commence operations. For example, childcare centres require a Child Care Centre licence.

Occupational Licences
Applies for doctors, lawyers, architects and accountants. These licences are usually obtained from the respective professional organisations.

Business Activity Based Licenses
To carry on certain business activities you will need specific licenses or permits. For example, for selling liquor, you will need a liquor licence.

What are the businesses that need licenses?

We have provided an indicative list below. For further details, please feel free to contact us.

  • For running an establishment like a club or bar
    1. Public Entertainment (PE) Licence
    2. Copyright Licence to Play Copyrighted Music, Videos & Films.
  • For running a Food and Beverage establishment
    1. Food Shop/Food Stall License
    2. Liquor Licence (N.B. you will need this license for a club if you are serving alcohol).
  • For providing Private Education – Mandatory registration if providing education to 10 or more people.
  • For running a Child Care/Early Education Establishment – You need to register if you are planning to run a:-
    1. Kindergarten; or
    2. child care centre.
  • For Telecommunication Related Business –
    1. Services-Based Operator (Class) Licence; or
    2. Services-Based Operator (Individual) Licence.
  • For Infocomm Related Business–
    1. Telecommunications Dealers’ (Class) Licence – to sell approved equipment.
    2. Second-hand Goods Dealers Licence – to deal with second-hand phones.
  • For Manufacturing Plants–
    1. Essential Registration For All Manufacturers – factory, lifting equipment or pressure vessel; and
    2. Other Licenses That Might be Needed – You will also need other licences/permits depending on type of factory premises, products, materials/apparatus, manufacturing-related activities e.g. pollution, waste discharge etc.
  • Healthcare –
    1. Compulsory Licence For All Healthcare Institutions must be obtained before you can operate.
    2. Other Licenses That Might be Needed – Depends on whether you have operating clinics, pharmacies, importing medicines, etc.
  • Trading (including export and import of goods) –
    1. Before you start trading, you must activate your Customs Account.
    2. Other Licenses That Might be Needed – Depends on whether you intend to import goods from overseas, export goods from Singapore, tranship goods through Singapore, trade controlled goods, e.g. animals, food products, trade strategic goods e.g. chemical and biological weapons.

What is the time required for obtaining a license?

It can vary from a few days to a few weeks. Some of the licenses require approval from multiple authorities and might require actual site visits. So please factor that in if you have any particular intended time of opening in mind.