Trade & Business License - Guidance
When giving an address on the application form, the full address for the location of the business must be given (including street number). General addresses such as 'George Town' or 'West Bay Road' are not acceptable. The block and parcel number of the location should also be given.
Civil Servants/Police Officers and other Government employees
If the applicant, or a director or shareholder of the company for which the application for a Trade & Business Licence is being made, is a civil servant (including police officers or person in a similar position), then permission must first be obtained in writing from their Chief Officer. Employees of statutory bodies (eg. Water Authority, Civil Aviation) should consult the head of their Authority for guidance.
Does your proposed business require inspection?
Certain types of business premises require inspection by one or more government department or agency (eg. Department of Environmental Health) prior to licensing or, where a licence has been issued, before business can be commenced. Below is a non-exhaustive list of such businesses. If you are in doubt as to whether your business requires inspection, please contact the Trade & Business Licensing Board Secretariat on 244-2086:
- Mobile Food Vendors
- Beauty Salon
- Barber Shops
- Horse Stables
- Storage of hazardous material for sale or for use in furtherance of the business (eg. pesticides, chlorine, acid)
- Mobile car wash
Does your proposed business require planning permission?
Planning permission may be required even for an established location where the intended use of the location is significantly different from that for which it was originally granted permission. Applicants should consult with the Planning Department to determine whether planning issues must be addressed (eg. change of use from retail store to restaurant or issues in relation to zoning).
Operating a business from a residential address
The Trade & Business Licensing Board is aware that residential addresses are sometimes put on application forms as this is where the proposed business is to be operated from. Typically, this is where the application is in relation to a small business where the owner is either unable or unwilling to obtain commercial premises. Whilst the Board has from time to time granted licences permitting the use of a home as the place of business, often subject to conditions restricting the types of business activity that may be conducted there, or perhaps prohibiting the storage of certain goods at that location, the Board is generally reluctant to allow private homes to be used as a place of business. This is due to concerns over residential neighbourhoods being used for unauthorized business activities and associated planning, safety and health concerns. Applicants should therefore endeavour to obtain a business address and location appropriate for their proposed activities.
Early Childhood Centers
Please note that applications for early childhood centres e.g. pre-schools, daycare operations, children nurseries or any other business of this nature, must have Education Council / Early Childhood Unit approval prior to being scheduled and subsequently approved by the Board. As a matter of clarity, these applications can be receipted as the Trade & Business application receipt is a requirement of the Early Childhood Unit for the businesses application to be instated or re-instated as a centre that is compliant.
ECU will forward the approvals on a timely basis and once received the relevant application can then be scheduled for the meeting.
In certain limited circumstances the use of a home as an office may be permitted. This will however be subject to conditions restricting and limiting the scope of activities that may be performed at that address. A list of the conditions that will be applied is available from the Trade & Business Licensing Board Secretariat. If you intend to use an apartment or a condominium unit as a home office you must enclose the written approval of the landlord and the manager of the apartment complex or strata corporation with your application.
Applicants are also advised to consult the Planning Department for advice as to whether the nature or scale of the office activity requires a Change of Use application.
Preparation of food at a residential location for sale to the public
The Board will not grant a licence where it is proposed that foods for sale to the public are to be prepared in an apartment or condominium. In limited circumstances a single family home may be used for the preparation and sale of foods but this will be subject to conditions designed to guard against safety and health concerns. This policy is as a result of the Board receiving complaints relating to excessive heat radiating from one apartment to another due to extended use of cooking equipment, food odours traveling from one unit to another over prolonged periods of time, safety concerns arising from the improper installation and use of commercial stoves in private homes and apartments and health issues related to food handling practices.
Generally, the Board will encourage current licence holders in this category to obtain an appropriate location for this type of business and will actively discourage the granting of new licences unless a commercial location with appropriate equipment and food handling standards is obtained by the applicant. In any event, applicants in this category must first consult with the Planning Department regarding a Change of Use application and any licence issued by the Board subsequent thereto will be subject to conditions.
Applicants are also advised to consult with the Department of Environmental Health (DEH).
Licences that carry standard conditions
The Board maintains an extensive list of standard conditions that are typically imposed upon the grant or renewal of various categories of licence. Details of these conditions are available from the Trade & Business Licensing Board Secretariat.
This list is however non-exhaustive and the Board has a general power to impose conditions to the grant or renewal of a licence in accordance with section 16(2) of the Trade & Business Licensing Law (2007 Revision) as it sees fit.