Business licences and work permits when setting up a business



How to obtain the correct work permits and licences when setting up a business

Business Licences

Work Permits

If you’re setting up a small business, you might need to obtain a licence from your local authority. These can include, but are not limited to, businesses in the food sector, animal shops, hotels and beauty parlours. If you are planning to sell or distribute alcohol, you will also need a licence for this as well. The licence types you may require before you start can include software licences, data protection licences or health and safety licences.

With so many different types of business licence out there, understanding which ones you need to run your business legally can be incredibly overwhelming. Thankfully, there is a step by step guide you can use to figure out the types of licences necessary for your sector.

To find out whether you need a licence to operate, you can use the GOV.UK licence finder tool, which gives potential new business owners more detailed explanations of the types of licensing available.

Obtaining a licence

If you find that you do need a licence to operate, you’ll need to apply through the local authority in the area where your business is located. It’s easy to apply for a licence form through the local authority office or you can do it online, through the GOV.UK website.

Personal licences will normally last for 10 years but this can be subject to change depending on the person and the sector.


Work Permits

If you’re employing someone from outside of the EEA or are from a non-EEA country yourself and are looking to set up your own business in the UK, you’ll need some type of work permit to get started.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa – If you’re not from the EEA but want to set up a business here, this is the permit you’ll need. There is a range of requirements you’ll have to meet before you can obtain this permit and they can be found here, along with other important details.

UK Visa Sponsorship Licence – If you’re employing someone from outside of the EEA, you may need a sponsorship licence to employ them. You’ll need to check you’re eligible, decide upon the type of licence you need, (this will depend on the worker), and have a designated person to manage the sponsorship, (this can be you).

More information about sponsor licences can be found on theGOV.UK website.

There are a range of different work permits available for employees overseas and this can complicate things if you’re trying to hire someone. This comprehensive list tells you more about each visa type and what work they allow a person to undertake inside the UK.

Obtaining the correct licences and checking potential employee’s permits is essential for running your business legally. It can be a difficult and tiresome process but taking the time to do the research now, will save you both time and stress in the long run.