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North Dakota Business License

Once you have registered your business entity in North Dakota, the next step is to check if your business requires a license or a permit in the state of North Dakota. A business license or permit is required by most states for businesses to operate. Some businesses require a single license while others require multiple licenses or permits.

There are different types of licenses and permits in North Dakota and they are mostly issued by different state agencies. Some of the agencies responsible for issuing a North Dakota company license or permit are:

  • Secretary of State (SOS)
  • State Attorney General
  • Regulatory boards or commissions

How to Get a Business License in North Dakota

Where and how do you apply for a business license in North Dakota? Do you need permits as well or license and permits? Does your business entity require multiple permits or licenses? Who is the issuing authority for these licenses or permits? The only way to answer these questions is by understanding the process of business licensing.

Here is a step-by-step approach towards acquiring a business license in the state of North Dakota:

Step#1: The Industry or Business Type

How would you know what type of business or professional license is required to operate in North Dakota? The type of industry or the activities of a business entity helps in identifying the type of business license required.

Let’s take a look at some examples to understand this better:

Industry or Type of Business

  • Food and Beverage Establishments, Bed and Breakfast Facilities, Lodging Establishments and Assisted Living Facilities, Tattoo and Body Art Facilities – This includes restaurants, lodging facilities, bars, campgrounds, mobile home parks, bed and breakfast facilities, meat markets, retail food stores, salvage food establishments, bakeries, tanning facilities, small food manufacturers/ processors, tattoo and body art facilities, and electrologists. A business license in North Dakota for this type of industry or business is issued by North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Food and Lodging. So, if you are planning to establish your business in the food establishment industry then you will require a license to be issued by the DHHS.
  • Alcoholic Beverage, Tobacco, Amusement Games Fireworks, Manufacturer or Distributor of Gaming Equipment and Supplies, Gaming – This includes Coin Operated or Other Amusement Games and Devices, Retail Alcoholic Beverage, Fireworks Wholesalers, Tobacco Distributor, Tobacco Sellers, Cigarette Making Machines, manufacturer of charitable gaming equipment and supplies, and North Dakota Lottery among others. A North Dakota company license for the above industry or business activity is issued by the office of the North Dakota attorney general.
  • Aircraft Dealer, Aerial Applicators – The ND license is issued by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission.

Step#2: Licenses issued by City/County

If you were to establish a business focusing in Soft serve ice cream or a Mobile Food Vendor then you will require a North Dakota company license from the Environmental Division of Fargo Cass Public Health. This license and the regulations will be applicable for your business if situated in the cities of Fargo and West Fargo.

Some of the other licensed establishments in the cities of Fargo and West Fargo include Food Event Vendor, retail establishment selling grocery, Bakery, establishments that prepare and serve food at venues of entertainment, and manufacturing, processing, preparation, storage, handling or selling of meat.

The license fee will be dependent on the tier classified for your business type e.g., Food Tier 1 has a fee of $200 while the fee for Food Tier 3 is $400. The license gee for soft serve ice-cream is $100.

Read more about different tiers.

Step#3: Issuance of a Business License

How is a business license in North Dakota issued? You have to identify the following to complete the process:

  1. The type of business or industry
  2. Do you need a license or a permit or multiple licenses?
  3. Will it be issued by the state or the city?

Once you have identified the above, all you need to do is either download the application online or contact the concerned state department or city of clerk office.

It is important to note that a business license or permit will have to be renewed annually unless specific dates have been mentioned, to keep the business operational.

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