How to Get Business Licenses in Nebraska | A Comprehensive Guide

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
Last updated: 
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Nebraska Business License

Starting a new business is an exciting venture, but it’s essential to understand the various licenses required to operate legally within Nebraska. Forming an LLC in Nebraska requires licenses, as different industries and locations have specific regulations. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to Nebraska Business Licenses, helping you navigate the process and ensure your new venture complies with all necessary requirements. By understanding the permitting landscape in Nebraska, you can ensure that your business is fully prepared to succeed while avoiding potential legal pitfalls.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you easily obtain a business license in Nebraska. You must be guided by all the factors gathered in this article.

What is a Business License in Nebraska?

A business license is a legal authorization, permit, or document that allows a business to operate within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city, county, or state. Nebraska business licenses are issued by Nebraska Secretary of State and ensure businesses comply with applicable laws, regulations, and standards in their respective industries.

A business license protects public health, safety, and welfare by ensuring businesses operate responsibly and lawfully. Acquiring a business license often involves registering the business, paying applicable fees, and meeting specific requirements or qualifications for the type of business.

Business licenses can vary greatly depending on the location and nature of the business. Some common types of business licenses include:

1. General Business License: This is a basic license required for most businesses to operate within a specific jurisdiction, such as a city or county.

2. Professional and Occupational Licenses: These licenses are specific to certain industries or professions, such as healthcare, construction, real estate, or cosmetology, and are typically issued by state licensing boards or agencies.

You must have a professional and occupational license to form Nebraska General Partnership and offer your service. 

Here are some examples of Professional and Occupational Licenses:

  • Medical License: Physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals must obtain a medical license to practice medicine in a specific state. The Nebraska medical board issues this license after verifying the applicant’s education, training, and examination results.
  • Realtor License: To become a realtor in Nebraska, you must obtain a real estate license to buy, sell, or lease properties on behalf of clients. Nebraska has its own real estate commission or board responsible for issuing licenses and regulating the industry.
  • Contractor License: General contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other construction professionals must often have a contractor license to work in Nebraska. 
  • Cosmetology License: Professionals in the beauty industry, such as hairstylists, estheticians, and nail technicians, must obtain a cosmetology license to provide services. Nebraska Boards of Cosmetology oversee licensing and regulations for this industry.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License: Accountants who wish to become a CPA in Nebraska must designate and provide specific services, such as auditing financial statements and obtaining a CPA license from Nebraska’s Board of Accountancy.
  • Architect License: Architects must obtain a license to practice architecture in Nebraska. This typically involves meeting education and experience requirements and passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).
  • Attorney License: Nebraska Business Attorneys must obtain a license to practice law in a particular jurisdiction, typically by passing the state’s bar examination and meeting other requirements set by the Nebraska bar association.

3. Health and Safety Permits: Nebraska businesses involved in food service, hospitality, or other industries directly impacting public health and safety may require specific permits from local health departments or regulatory agencies.

4. Environmental Permits: Nebraska businesses that involve activities that may impact the environment, such as waste disposal, air or water emissions, or hazardous materials handling, may require permits from local, state, or federal environmental agencies.

5. Sales Tax License: Nebraska businesses that sell goods or services may be required to collect sales tax from customers and remit it to the appropriate tax authority. A sales tax license is typically required to collect and remit sales tax legally.

Nebraska business owners must research the specific licensing requirements for their business in their jurisdiction and obtain all necessary licenses and permits to operate legally and avoid potential fines, penalties, or legal troubles.

Requirements For Getting Business Licenses in Nebraska

If you start an LLC or any other type of business, you must wait until your Nebraska business registration is complete. Once you have completed the necessary steps to register your business in Nebraska, you must be prepared with the required documents to apply for business licenses.

  • Name of your company
  • Phone number and company address
  • Employee Identification Number (EIN)
  • Your company’s legal structure (Corporation, Partnership, or LLC)
  • Your business strategy, which includes revenues and costs

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How to Get a Business License in Nebraska

To get a business license, you must follow the guidelines below, including determining if your Nebraska business requires a license or permit, identifying the appropriate licensing agencies, researching license and permit requirements, completing and submitting license applications, and maintaining license and permit requirements.

Step 1: Determine The Required License or Permit

The first step in obtaining a business license is determining if your business needs one. Some businesses may not require a license or permit, while others may need multiple licenses depending on their industry and location. Some businesses typically require some form of licensing or permit:

  • Professional services, such as medical, legal, and accounting
  • Food establishments, including restaurants, bars, and catering businesses
  • Retail businesses, including stores, shops, and online retailers
  • Construction and contracting companies
  • Manufacturing and industrial businesses

State Licenses

The licenses that you must get first are the licenses within the state. Nebraska state licenses require individuals or businesses to engage in certain activities or professions legally. The state government issues these licenses and serves as proof that the license holder has met certain qualifications and standards set by the state. The types of licenses vary depending on the profession or activity, including but not limited to healthcare professionals, contractors, real estate agents, and drivers.

State licenses assure the public that the license holder has undergone the necessary training and education to perform their duties safely and competently.

Federal Licenses

Federal licenses in Nebraska are granted by federal agencies and are required for certain activities and industries that fall under federal jurisdiction. These licenses ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations and are necessary for individuals or businesses engaged in the following services.

  • Agriculture: License issued by The U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Aviation: License issued by The Federal Aviation Administration
  • Alcohol & Tobacco: License issued by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  • Ammunition, Explosive, & Firearms: License issued by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
  • Commercial Fisheries: License issued by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service
  • Mining & Drilling: License issued by The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
  • Nuclear Energy: License issued by The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Radio & Television (Broadcast): License issued by The Federal Communications Commission
  • Transportation by Sea: License issued by The Federal Maritime Commission
  • Wildlife & Fisheries: License issued by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Obtaining a federal license in Nebraska involves meeting specific criteria and adhering to federal laws and regulations, which can vary depending on the activity or industry.

City-Based License

City-based licenses in Nebraska are granted by local municipalities and are required for certain activities or businesses operating within the city limits. These licenses ensure businesses comply with local regulations and ordinances and typically cover business operations, health and safety, zoning, and permits.

City-based licenses vary depending on the location and the nature of the business, but examples may include restaurant licenses, liquor licenses, taxi licenses, and street vendor licenses. Obtaining a city-based license in Nebraska involves submitting an application, paying the necessary fees, and meeting specific requirements set by the local government.

Home-Based License

Home-based licenses in Nebraska are required for individuals or businesses that operate from their residential property. These licenses regulate and permit activities conducted within a residential setting, such as home-based businesses or rental properties. Home-based licenses ensure these activities comply with local regulations, building codes, zoning requirements, and health and safety standards.

The specific requirements for obtaining a home-based license in Nebraska can vary depending on the type of activity and the local municipality but typically involve submitting an application, paying any necessary fees, and meeting specific criteria set by the local government.

Professional License

Professional licenses in Nebraska are mandatory for individuals pursuing specific careers or professions that require specialized knowledge, skills, and expertise. The state government grants these licenses and serves to regulate and ensure the competency and ethical practice of professionals in fields such as law, medicine, engineering, teaching, and accounting.

To obtain a professional license in Nebraska, individuals must meet education, experience, and examination requirements specific to their profession. These licenses assure the public that they receive services from qualified professionals and protect consumers from potential harm or malpractice.

Step 2: Identify the Nebraska Licensing Agencies

Once you’ve determined that your business requires a license or permit, you must identify the appropriate Nebraska agencies responsible for issuing these documents. In Nebraska, numerous agencies oversee licensing and permitting, including:

  • Nebraska Secretary of State: This office is responsible for issuing licenses for many professional services, including legal, medical, and accounting.
  • Nebraska Department of Health: Food establishments, healthcare providers, and other businesses related to health and safety may require licenses from this department.
  • Nebraska Department of Revenue: If your business sells goods, you may need a sales tax license or permit from this department.
  • Nebraska Department of Labor: Businesses that involve construction or contracting may need licenses from this department.
  • Local City or County Governments: Depending on your business’s location, you may also need to obtain licenses or permits from your local government.

Step 3: Research License and Permit Requirements

After identifying the appropriate agencies, research the specific requirements for each license or permit your business needs. This may involve reviewing the Nebraska agency’s website, contacting their office directly, or consulting a legal or business professional. Some common requirements for obtaining a business license or permit include:

  • Completing an application form
  • Providing proof of insurance or bonding
  • Passing background checks or inspections
  • Paying application fees

Some licenses or permits may have ongoing requirements, such as annual renewals, inspections, or reporting.

Step 4: Complete and Submit License Applications

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information and documents, complete the application forms for each required license or permit. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions provided by each Nebraska agency, as incomplete or incorrect applications can lead to delays or denials.

In addition to the application forms, you may also need to submit supporting documentation, such as:

Proof of Business Registration

You can find it on the Nebraska Secretary of State’s website. There should be a search feature specifically for businesses. This will often be labeled “Nebraska Secretary of State Corporate & Business Entity Search“. In the search feature, enter the name of the business you are looking for, and once it appears, you will now have proof of your business registration.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Aside from opening a bank account, you must have an Employer Identification Number in Nebraska to file and submit for a business license. An EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax purposes. You’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, file taxes, and hire employees. 

The application of an EIN in Nebraska can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that the Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone-International Applicants – International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

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Proof of Insurance, Bonding, or Worker’s Compensation Coverage

To have a business license, you need proof of insurance, bonding, or worker’s compensation. You need to obtain a certificate or policy document as additional documents for your proof of insurance. Also, there is a database of businesses with worker’s compensation coverage or require businesses to register their insurance or bonding information. Visit your Nebraska Department of Labor, Department of Insurance, or another relevant agency website for information about the business’s coverage.

Professional Certifications or Licenses

As I have mentioned, if you will form a general partnership and offer your service, you must have professional certifications or licenses. 

Submit your completed applications and the Nebraska business license fee, which ranges from $50 – $300. The processing times for license and permit applications can vary, so plan accordingly and allow ample time for approval.

Step 5: Maintain License and Permit Compliance

Once you’ve obtained the necessary licenses and permits for your Nebraska business, it’s essential to maintain compliance with all requirements. This may include:

  • Keep your Nebraska licenses and permits current by renewing them on time, typically annually.
  • Reporting any changes to your business, such as a changing Nebraska LLC address. You may amend your Nebraska Certificate of Organization if you change anything in your Nebraska business.
  • Maintaining proper insurance, bonding, or worker’s compensation coverage.
  • Complying with any inspection, reporting, or record-keeping requirements.

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Additional Considerations

In addition to the steps outlined above, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when navigating the Nebraska business licensing process:

  • Licenses and permits are often industry-specific, so research your business type’s requirements.
  • Some businesses may need licenses or permits from multiple agencies at the state and local levels. Be sure to research and comply with all necessary requirements to avoid complications.
  • If your business operates in multiple locations or across state lines, you may need to obtain licenses or permits for each jurisdiction in which you operate. You can form Nebraska Foreign LLC
  • Stay informed about licensing and permitting requirements changes, as regulations can change over time.

FAQs

How do I obtain a business license in Nebraska?
You can obtain a business license in Nebraska by visiting the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office or applying online through Nebraska One-Stop Business portal.
Why do I need a business license in Nebraska?
A business license in Nebraska shows that you are a valid entity and in compliance with local and state regulations. It also provides legal protection for your business.
What types of businesses require a license in Nebraska?
Most businesses in Nebraska require licenses or permits, including professional services, trades, and retail.
How much does a Nebraska business license cost?
The cost of a business license in Nebraska varies depending on the type of business you have, the industry, and their location.
How long does it take to get a business license in Nebraska?
The time it takes to obtain a business license in Nebraska depends on the type of business the applicant owns and how timely and accurate information/permission they provide to the state.
Can a trained or verified representative apply for a Nebraska business license on my behalf?
Yes, an applicant can appoint a trained and Verified Representative to apply for a business license in Nebraska.
What are the requirements for obtaining a Nebraska business license?
The requirements for a Nebraska business license include registering with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office, showcasing completed education or starting a legal organisation, and paying any necessary registration fees.
Do I need a business license to start a home-based business in Nebraska?
Almost all businesses in Nebraska need a business license or permit, including home-based businesses.
Can I apply for a Nebraska business license online?
Yes, companies can apply for a Nebraska business license online through Nebraska One-Stop Business portal.
How long is a Nebraska business license valid?
The business license validity period in Nebraska is usually one year. However, enterprises need to renew annually upon payment of renewal fees.
What if I need additional licenses for regulatory purposes of my Nebraska business?
Owners must obtain specific listings, certifications and professional licenses to comply with regulation needs for their businesses in Nebraska that are different from the standard business license which needs permits and planning fees.
What are the penalties for not obtaining a business license in Nebraska?
Penalties for operating a business without a license in Nebraska can include criminal and civil monetary fines, as initiated by the concerned state agencies and proper guidance is needed for relief from penalty consequences.
Can I operate a business in Nebraska without a physical location?
Yes; operating a virtual business without a physical presence is also possible, but appropriate licenses must still be obtained based on certain business regulations.
What is a trade name, and do I need to register it with Nebraska?
If a trade name is not the owner’s real name, it might be necessary to register it through the appropriate Nebraska agency representing protecting branding and commercial interests.
What is an EIN and when do I need to have it?
An Employer Identification number (EIN) is a unique identifier applied for by the business through online application within three business days once the company structure changes to an LLC, C-Corp, or S-Corp, for example.
Do I have to apply for a Nebraska sales tax permit?
Yes, a Nebraska business needs to apply for a sales tax permit if applicable to them in conjunction with overall Nevada sales tax laws and policy applications.
Can I apply for multiple licenses for different businesses at one time online in Nebraska?
Yes, Nebraska Officials offers permit and licensing access applications for several industries and for single/multi-location registrations Multiple licenses can be bagged through one online application form.
Do I need a zoning permit in Nebraska?
Yes, businesses must obtain zoning permits if required by Nebraska ordinances and requirements for professional layout plans in advance based on Nebraska architectural standards.
Can I operate an e-commerce business without a licensing permit in Nebraska?
No, operating any business ‘in-service,’ also receiving income from exchanges amid deliveries via the State of Nebraska requires a proper Nebraska license or permit for operating businesses on e-commerce.
When should I notify the Nebraska Secretary of State about my change of business location or owner(s)?
Nebraska Business entities and commercial primary contact details of the Essential Commercial Filings, including registered agents, should be changed whenever their details changes and immediately post such instances.
What is a Nebraska local government business license, and how do I get one?
A local business license in Nebraska is for businesses operating in specific areas and sectors of Nebraska. Sessions must be addressed to local city council officials or business help registers.
Does Nebraska have any Unique Contract Requirements from the businesses proposing tenders for the State Government Project?
Yes, Nebraska usually has specific requisites as listed on individual state agency/department bids in regards to the state public contracting process.
Can I be awarded a license based on my personal current activity, interests, qualifications in Nebraska, and earlier experiences as a business competitor in any other state?
Nebraska agencies strongly consider the business owner’s qualifications in the proposed economic program they are looking forward to launching, documented legal documents necessary to have and market experience as the top-level factors for approval eligibility criteria.
What taxes will I have to pay revenue related to my Nebraska allowed business?
Different businesses operating items in Nebraska will have to apply for different revenue tax rates after obtaining the proper business licenses according to their specific commercial category.
Who needs to have a DBA of a company registered in Nebraska?
Anyone else who would like to step into and consult that business’s components of knowledge regarding the power and dignity of any other business besides themselves would benefit from incorporating proper registration of DBAs of a Nebraska based company.
Is it possible to renew my Nebraska approved permit annually?
Yes, a Nebraska Business Permit has to be renewed annually after payment of annual fees with full up-to-date renewal of business contracts updated as new protocols will apply accordingly.
Can operations of Commercial CBD and selling products containing CBD, in particular, be authorized in Nebraska?
Not in all cases with the reserved potential for permanent damages related to trade and associated jobs, to products and services as issued by government agencies at the state and federal levels should recognize eligibility compliance prerequisites for launching a CBD specific business/neighborhood variant.
What is a business license?
A business license is a type of legal permit that allows you to conduct business in a specific location.
Who needs a business license in Nebraska?
In Nebraska, anyone who wants to conduct business activities needs to have a business license.
How do I get a business license in Nebraska?
You can obtain a business license from the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office by submitting the required documents and paying the necessary fees.
How much does a business license cost in Nebraska?
The cost of a business license in Nebraska varies depending on the type of business, the location, and other factors. Contact your city or county government office to determine the exact fee.
Can I operate a business without a business license?
No. Anyone who operates a business in Nebraska without obtaining a business license may face fines and penalties.
What are the steps to obtaining a business license in Nebraska?
The steps to obtaining a business license in Nebraska may vary depending on the type of business and location, but typically involve registering your business name, completing any necessary prelicensing courses, submitting an application, and paying a fee.
Are there any specific requirements or restrictions for obtaining a business license in Nebraska?
Yes. Depending on the type of business that you operate, there may be specific requirements regarding your qualifications and the types of services or products that you provide.
What documents do I need to submit to obtain a business license in Nebraska?
In order to obtain a business license in Nebraska, you will need to submit some basic information, such as your name, address, and social security number. Additionally, you may need to provide documentation related to your business, such as proof of insurance or a business plan.
Can I obtain a temporary business license in Nebraska?
Yes. If you are hosting an event or conducting a short-term business endeavor, you may be able to obtain a temporary business license in Nebraska.
What do I do if I change my business location or name in Nebraska?
Contact your city or county government office to update your business license information.
Is a Nebraska business license transferable to other states?
No. Each state has their own licensing requirements and regulations. You will need to obtain a separate license in each state where you conduct business.
Is a Nebraska business license transferable to another person?
No. Business licenses are typically tied to the individual who applies for the license.
Can I apply for a business license online in Nebraska?
Yes. You can file for a business license using the online business registration portal from the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office.
Once I obtain a business license in Nebraska, what next?
Once you obtain a business license in Nebraska, you need to understand and comply with the state’s local business regulations and tax laws.
Are there any special requirements for home-based businesses in Nebraska?
Yes. The regulations for a home-based business in Nebraska vary according to area. Be sure to check with city or county offices.In certain areas the regulations are significantly different.
What is my Nebraska business registration number and how do I find it?
Your business registration number is a unique ID number issued to you after submitting the Business Registration Application. You can find it on the official certificate of registration issued to you.
Do I need to renew my Nebraska business license?
Yes. You will need to renew your business license in Nebraska at regular intervals. Contact your local regulatory agency to learn more about the nature of registration and renewal process.
Do I need to register my business in all cities where I want to conduct business within Nebraska?
If you have a physical presence like office or warehouse, most likely information regarding all the establishments will reflect in common registry system. However If services are buying or selling through online they could operate or sell in the whole state.
Am I responsible for ensuring my business stays compliant with Nebraska state laws?
Yes, as the owner of the business, you are responsible for staying compliant with Nebraska state and local laws.
Can I cancel my Nebraska business license if I no longer do business?
Yes, you can cancel your business license in Nebraska if you are no longer operating. Contact your local regulatory agency for more information .
Where can I go to learn more about Nebraska state business laws and regulations?
You can visit the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office website for information on Nebraska state business and commerce laws and regulations.
What happens if I fail to renew my Nebraska business license before the expiration date?
You may face fines, penalties or punishments as per the business code of State of Nebraska if the license is allowed to laps.
Can I apply for a Nebraska business license on behalf of a not-for-profit organization?
Yes. However, not-for-profit organizations usually need double-check registration requirements. Contact the secretary of state website or explore more about section-by-section or consult an attorney.
Can I conduct nationwide business with just a Nebraska business license?
No, every state has their own requirements for business licensing and other regulations.
Do I need a separate Nebraska license for every trade that I engage in as part of my business?
The requirement of licenses varies depending on the type of business and trade. For example Nebraska mechanical and electrical contractors need business licenses but beyond it there any other trade that requires licensing varies as per different jurisdictions.
Can I transfer my out-of-state business license to operate in Nebraska?
Fully licensed businesses etc. may have privileges if offered by threshold limits. Unlicensed businesses needs to get in touch with authorities for more specific rules and restrictions.
If I am changing my main or business address within Nebraska, do I need to change my business address on my business license?
If moving facilities or offices locally generally requires update of location on business license with officials of the new resident state and your registration application.

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Conclusion

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is crucial in starting a new business in Nebraska. Following the steps outlined in this guide and consulting with the appropriate agencies or professionals, you can ensure that your business complies with all state and local requirements. This will protect your business from legal issues and help establish your reputation as a responsible and trustworthy business operator.

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