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Business Licenses & Permits API

The API for SBA.gov's Business License and Permit Search Tool, which provides small business owners with a list of permits, licenses and registrations needed to run a business.

1. Summary

SBA.gov's Business License and Permit Search Tool provides small business owners with a list of federal, state and local permits, licenses, and registrations needed to run a business. When links to specific local licenses are not available, the tool returns local websites (when available) to point users to official resources for their local government agencies.

The API is RESTful and output formats are available in XML and JSON. There is a DTD for the XML output available.

2. Request Methods

By Category

URL template:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/by_category/CATEGORY.FORMAT
Example URL:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/by_category/doing%20business%20as.xml
Parameters:
CATEGORY
One of the following (case insensitive, URL-encoded):
doing business as
Requirements for registering a fictitious business name or “doing business as” in all 54 states and territories.
entity filing
Requirements for registering a business’s legal structure (e.g. LLC, Corporation, etc.) in all 54 states and territories.
employer requirements
Registration and filing requirements for employers in all 54 states and territories.
state licenses
Business licenses required by state governments for each business type in the Licenses & Permits database.
tax registration
Requirements registration and permit requirements for 54 states and territories.
FORMAT
Either xmlor json, case sensitive.

By State

URL template:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/all_by_state/STATE_ABBREVIATION.FORMAT
Example URL:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/all_by_state/ca.xml
Parameters:
STATE_ABBREVIATION
The two-letter postal code for the state. This is case insensitive.
FORMAT
Either xmlor json, case sensitive.

By Business Type

URL template:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/by_business_type/BUSINESS_TYPE.FORMAT
Example URL:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/by_business_type/child%20care%20services.xml
Parameters:
BUSINESS_TYPE
One of the following (case insensitive, URL-encoded):

Parameter values for retrieving data about specific types of businesses:

  • General Business Licenses
  • Auto Dealership
  • Barber Shop
  • Beauty Salon
  • Child Care Services
  • Construction Contractor
  • Debt Collection Agency
  • Electrician
  • Massage Therapist
  • Plumber
  • Restaurant

Parameter values for retrieving data about specific employer requirements:

  • Insurance Requirements
  • New Hire Reporting Requirements
  • State Tax Registration
  • Workplace Poster Requirements
FORMAT
Either xmlor json, case sensitive.

By Business Type, State & County

URL template:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/state_and_county/BUSINESS_TYPE/STATE_ABBREVIATION/COUNTY_NAME.FORMAT
Example URL:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/state_and_county/child%20care%20services/ca/orange%20county.xml
Parameters:
BUSINESS_TYPE
One of the following (case insensitive, URL-encoded):

Parameter values for retrieving data about specific types of businesses:

  • General Business Licenses
  • Auto Dealership
  • Barber Shop
  • Beauty Salon
  • Child Care Services
  • Construction Contractor
  • Debt Collection Agency
  • Electrician
  • Massage Therapist
  • Plumber
  • Restaurant

Parameter values for retrieving data about specific employer requirements:

  • Insurance Requirements
  • New Hire Reporting Requirements
  • State Tax Registration
  • Workplace Poster Requirements
STATE_ABBREVIATION
The two-letter postal code for the state. This is case insensitive.
COUNTY_NAME
The name of the county (or its equivalent), case insensitive, URL-encoded. County (or equivalent) name should including the word “county” (or “parish” etc.) For example, input Orange County, not Orange.
FORMAT
Either xmlor json, case sensitive.

By Business Type, State & City

URL template:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/state_and_city/BUSINESS_TYPE/STATE_ABBREVIATION/CITY_NAME.FORMAT
Example URL:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/state_and_city/child%20care%20services/ca/orange%20county.xml
Parameters:
BUSINESS_TYPE
One of the following (case insensitive, URL-encoded):

Parameter values for retrieving data about specific types of businesses:

  • General Business Licenses
  • Auto Dealership
  • Barber Shop
  • Beauty Salon
  • Child Care Services
  • Construction Contractor
  • Debt Collection Agency
  • Electrician
  • Massage Therapist
  • Plumber
  • Restaurant

Parameter values for retrieving data about specific employer requirements:

  • Insurance Requirements
  • New Hire Reporting Requirements
  • State Tax Registration
  • Workplace Poster Requirements
STATE_ABBREVIATION
The two-letter postal code for the state. This is case insensitive.
CITY_NAME
The name of the city (or village, town or township), case insensitive, URL-encoded.
FORMAT
Either xmlor json, case sensitive.

By Business Type & ZIP Code

URL template:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/by_zip/BUSINESS_TYPE/ZIP_CODE.FORMAT
Example URL:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/by_zip/child%20care%20services/90210.xml
Parameters:
BUSINESS_TYPE
One of the following (case insensitive, URL-encoded):

Parameter values for retrieving data about specific types of businesses:

  • General Business Licenses
  • Auto Dealership
  • Barber Shop
  • Beauty Salon
  • Child Care Services
  • Construction Contractor
  • Debt Collection Agency
  • Electrician
  • Massage Therapist
  • Plumber
  • Restaurant

Parameter values for retrieving data about specific employer requirements:

  • Insurance Requirements
  • New Hire Reporting Requirements
  • State Tax Registration
  • Workplace Poster Requirements
ZIP_CODE
A valid five-digit ZIP code.
FORMAT
Either xmlor json, case sensitive.

By Business Type & State

URL template:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/state_only/BUSINESS_TYPE/STATE_ABBREVIATION.FORMAT
Example URL:
http://api.sba.gov/license_permit/state_only/child%20care%20services/ca.xml
Parameters:
BUSINESS_TYPE
One of the following (case insensitive, URL-encoded):

Parameter values for retrieving data about specific types of businesses:

  • General Business Licenses
  • Auto Dealership
  • Barber Shop
  • Beauty Salon
  • Child Care Services
  • Construction Contractor
  • Debt Collection Agency
  • Electrician
  • Massage Therapist
  • Plumber
  • Restaurant

Parameter values for retrieving data about specific employer requirements:

  • Insurance Requirements
  • New Hire Reporting Requirements
  • State Tax Registration
  • Workplace Poster Requirements
STATE_ABBREVIATION
The two-letter postal code for the state. This is case insensitive.
FORMAT
Either xmlor json, case sensitive.

3. Response Format

XML Format

The XML response is well-documented in the XML DTD for this document type. The document root element's tag-name is <result>, which contains the child elements <county_sites>, <local_sites>, <state_sites>, <sites_for_business_type>and <sites_for_category>. Each record within the document is contained within one of these elements, consisting of a <site>element which contains sub-elements as detailed in the JSON Format documentation below. Each of these sub-elements contains its relevant data as Parsed Character Data.

JSON Format

The JSON response consists of an object containing the following properties, each of which is an array:

  • county_sites
  • local_sites
  • state_sites
  • sites_for_business_type
  • sites_for_category

Each one of these arrays contains zero or more anonymous objects, each of which represent a site. Each of these objects has the following properties:

Field Name Description Type Max.
Length
Possible Values
link_title Title of a link to a business license or permit resource. String 255  
description Description of the business license or permit resource. String 255  
url The URL for the business license or permit resource. String 255  
category This is a broad category label for licenses and permits required by all business types. String 50 Tax Registration
State Licenses and Permits
Business Entity Filing
Fictitious Name Filing (Doing Business As)
Employer Requirements
county The name of a county (or equivalent) within a U.S. state or territory boundary. At this time, this value will always be empty. String 255  
state Two letter postal abbreviation for a U.S. state or territory. String 2  
business_type One of the standard business types to which business license and permit resources apply. String 50 Auto Dealership
Barber Shop
Beauty Salon
Child Care Services
Construction Contractor
Debt Collection Agency
Electrician
Massage Therapist
Plumber
Restaurant
Home Health Care
Real Estate Appraiser
Real Estate Agent or Broker
Money Services Business
General Business Licenses
Insurance Requirements
New Hire Reporting Requirements
State Tax Registration
Workplace Poster Requirements
section Details of business licenses and permits applicable to a specific business_type. String 50 Disability Insurance
Unemployment Insurance Tax
Workers' Compensation Insurance
Food Service Establishment Permit
State Posters
resource_group_description Describes the business and permit resources that appear under a category or section (when not a null value). String 64K