Federal licenses and permits
Most small businesses need a combination of licenses and permits from both federal and state agencies. Business activities regulated by a federal agency will need a federal license or permit.
Check to see if any of your business activities are listed here. If they are, then check with the right federal agency to see how to apply.
Requirements and fees depend on your business activity and the issuing agency. Check with them for details on the business license cost.
The import or transport across state lines of:
|U.S. Department of Agriculture
|Federal Aviation Administration
|Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
|Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
|Fish and wildlife
|U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
|National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service
|Federal Maritime Commission
|Mining and drilling
|Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
|U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
|Radio and television broadcasting
Information broadcasts via:
|Federal Communications Commission
|Transportation and logistics
|U.S. Department of Transportation
State licenses and permits
The licenses and permits you need from the state, county, or city will depend on your business activities and business location. Your business license fees will also vary. You may also need licenses from your county or city.
States tend to regulate a broader range of activities than the federal government. Business activities that are commonly regulated at the local level include:
- Dry cleaning
- Vending machines
Some licenses and permits expire after a set period of time. Keep close track of when you need to renew them — it's often easier to renew than it is to apply for a new one.
You'll have to research your own state, county, and city regulations. Industry requirements often vary by state. Visit your Secretary of State's website to find out which permits and licenses you need.