How to Get Business Licenses in North Dakota | A Comprehensive Guide

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North Dakota Business License

Starting a new business is an exciting venture, but it’s essential to understand the various licenses required to operate legally within North Dakota. Forming an LLC in North Dakota requires licenses, as different industries and locations have specific regulations. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to North Dakota Business Licenses, helping you navigate the process and ensure your new venture complies with all necessary requirements. By understanding the permitting landscape in North Dakota, 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 North Dakota. You must be guided by all the factors gathered in this article.

What is a Business License in North Dakota?

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. North Dakota business licenses are issued by North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota medical board issues this license after verifying the applicant’s education, training, and examination results.
  • Realtor License: To become a realtor in North Dakota, you must obtain a real estate license to buy, sell, or lease properties on behalf of clients. North Dakota 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 North Dakota. 
  • Cosmetology License: Professionals in the beauty industry, such as hairstylists, estheticians, and nail technicians, must obtain a cosmetology license to provide services. North Dakota Boards of Cosmetology oversee licensing and regulations for this industry.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) License: Accountants who wish to become a CPA in North Dakota must designate and provide specific services, such as auditing financial statements and obtaining a CPA license from North Dakota’s Board of Accountancy.
  • Architect License: Architects must obtain a license to practice architecture in North Dakota. This typically involves meeting education and experience requirements and passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).
  • Attorney License: North Dakota 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 North Dakota bar association.

3. Health and Safety Permits: North Dakota 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: North Dakota 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: North Dakota 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.

North Dakota 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 North Dakota

If you start an LLC or any other type of business, you must wait until your North Dakota business registration is complete. Once you have completed the necessary steps to register your business in North Dakota, 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 North Dakota

To get a business license, you must follow the guidelines below, including determining if your North Dakota 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. North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota involves submitting an application, paying the necessary fees, and meeting specific requirements set by the local government.

Home-Based License

Home-based licenses in North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota, 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 North Dakota Licensing Agencies

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

  • North Dakota Secretary of State: This office is responsible for issuing licenses for many professional services, including legal, medical, and accounting.
  • North Dakota Department of Health: Food establishments, healthcare providers, and other businesses related to health and safety may require licenses from this department.
  • North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner: If your business sells goods, you may need a sales tax license or permit from this department.
  • North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota Secretary of State’s website. There should be a search feature specifically for businesses. This will often be labeled “North Dakota Secretary of State Business Records 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota business, it’s essential to maintain compliance with all requirements. This may include:

  • Keep your North Dakota licenses and permits current by renewing them on time, typically annually.
  • Reporting any changes to your business, such as a changing North Dakota LLC address. You may amend your North Dakota Articles of Organization if you change anything in your North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota?
You can apply for a business license through the North Dakota Secretary of State website.
Is a business license required in North Dakota?
Yes, most businesses operating in North Dakota require a license to legally operate.
How much does it cost to obtain a business license in North Dakota?
The cost varies depending on the type of business and the location. Contact your local city or county office for details on fees.
How long does it take to obtain a business license in North Dakota?
Processing times can vary but it typically takes around 10 days to obtain a business license in North Dakota.
Do I have to register my business with the state of North Dakota?
Yes, all businesses operating in North Dakota must register with the state’s Secretary of State.
Are there any specific requirements for obtaining a business license in North Dakota?
Requirements may vary depending on the type of business, location, and other factors. Contact your local government office for specific details.
Can I apply for a state business license online in North Dakota?
Yes, you can apply for and process your business license online through the North Dakota Secretary of State website.
Can I operate my business in multiple locations with one North Dakota business license?
No, you may need to obtain additional licenses for each location. Contact your local government office for more information.
Do I need a federal tax ID number to obtain a business license in North Dakota?
It depends on the type of business. Certain businesses, such as sole proprietorships, may not require a federal tax ID number to obtain a business license in North Dakota.
How often do I need to renew my business license in North Dakota?
Business licenses in North Dakota typically need to be renewed annually.
Can I change my business name on my North Dakota business license after obtaining it?
Yes, you can amend your business license to change the name of the business. Contact your local government office for details on the process.
Can I operate a home-based business with a North Dakota business license?
Yes, you can operate a home-based business with a North Dakota business license. However, specific residential zoning and land use regulations must be followed.
Can I transfer my North Dakota business license to another person?
No, you cannot transfer your business license to another person. They must obtain their own business license.
Do I need a professional license in addition to a business license in North Dakota?
It depends on the type of business. Certain professions may require additional licenses. Contact your local government office for more information.
What is the penalty for operating a business without a license in North Dakota?
Businesses that operate without a license in North Dakota could face financial penalties and other legal consequences.
Do I need to obtain a sales tax permit in addition to a business license in North Dakota?
Yes, most businesses in North Dakota are required to obtain a sales tax permit in addition to a business license.
Do I need to register my business with DUNS in North Dakota?
Registering with D&B’s (DUNS) is not a mandatory requirement for businesses registered in North Dakota. However, certain type of negotiations with some federal contracts or applying for federal funding require that you have a DUNS number.
Can I operate an online business with a North Dakota business license?
Yes, online businesses can operate in North Dakota with a business license. Contact your local government office for more information.
Is a local business license required for businesses operating in North Dakota counties and cities?
Yes, most cities and counties in North Dakota require businesses to obtain a local business license in order to operate in specific areas.
Can I obtain a temporary business license in North Dakota?
Yes, temporary business licenses may be available for certain events and activities. Contact your local government office for more information.
How do I apply for a liquor license in North Dakota?
Liquor licenses in North Dakota are governed by the North Dakota Department of Revenue. Contact their office for specific details and requirements.
Can I operate a food truck with a North Dakota business license?
Yes, a food truck can operate in North Dakota with a business license. Contact your local government office for more specific information on licensing and regulations.
What is a Commercial Registered Agent in North Dakota, and do I need one for my business?
A Commercial Registered Agent is an entity that is formally registered with the North Dakota Secretary of State to represent your business entity in all official communications with the Secretary of State. Every business entity is required to have one.
Does North Dakota have any special regulatory requirements for childcare facilities?
Yes, North Dakota has specific regulations for childcare facilities including licensing requirements and safety standards.
What is an Assumed Business Name in North Dakota?
An Assumed Business Name is a name that a business can use to advertise and operate under, which is not the same as its official registered name. If the business chooses to engage in a operation that features an essentially different name than the legal business name, it must register an assumed name with the Secretary of State.
What is a certificate of good standing, and how can I obtain one in North Dakota?
A certificate of good standing is a document issued by the North Dakota Secretary of State that indicates your business is duly registered under the laws of North Dakota. You can obtain a certificate of good standing by filing a request with the Secretary of State.
Do I need a North Dakota business license if I operate a nonprofit organization?
Not-for-profit charitable organizations who engage in revenue-generating activities must typically register with North Dakota in the form of application exemptions.
Can I be licensed to sell guns and ammunition with a North Dakota business license?
Yes, firearms and ammunitions dealers are required to hold a federal firearms license (FFL) in addition to a North Dakota business license. Sportive shooters who offer occasional sales or transfers, public auctions, and some in-person (see state/public inspection comment) firearm sales for individuals may apply for a golf dealship license instead. Contact your local government office and Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for more information
What is a North Dakota business license?
A North Dakota business license is a permit that allows individuals or organizations to engage in business activities within the state of North Dakota.
Who needs a business license in North Dakota?
Anyone who is planning to conduct business in North Dakota may need a business license depending on the type of business and where it will be located.
How much does it cost to get a business license in North Dakota?
The cost of a business license in North Dakota varies depending on the type of business and the location where it will be operating.
How long does it take to get a North Dakota business license?
The processing time for a North Dakota business license varies depending on the type of license and requirements of the application.
What documents do I need to get a business license in North Dakota?
You will typically need to provide proof of identity, business details, and other related documents when applying for a business license in North Dakota.
Do home-based businesses need a license in North Dakota?
Yes, home-based businesses in North Dakota may require a business license depending on the type of business and applicable local zoning rules.
How do I find out if I need a business license in North Dakota?
You can check with the North Dakota Secretary of State or your local city or county government to determine whether your business requires a license.
Can I apply for a North Dakota business license online?
Yes, some applications for North Dakota business licenses can be submitted online, while others may require paper applications to be submitted by mail or in-person.
Do I need to renew my North Dakota business license?
Yes, most business licenses issued in North Dakota require renewal. The renewal process will depend on the type of license and the locality involved.
Can an out-of-state business obtain a license to do business in North Dakota?
Yes, businesses located outside North Dakota can register to do business within the state if they plan to operate in the state or have a physical presence there.
What is the penalty for not having a business license in North Dakota?
The penalties for not having a business license in North Dakota vary by locality; they can range from fines to legal actions to stop the operation of the unlicensed business.
Can I operate a business prior to getting a North Dakota business license?
Generally, you must receive the proper North Dakota business license and permits before you can start any business activity in North Dakota.
Can I register more than one business with a single license in North Dakota?
The number of businesses covered by a North Dakota business license depends on the type of license and typically only allows permits business activity related to the primary business.
Will I need to verify the home or office location of the business for my North Dakota business license?
Yes, you may need to obtain verification of your home or business location by the respective state or local authority in North Dakota.
Do I need to supply confidential information regarding personal identity or finances as part of obtaining my North Dakota business license?
There may be some instances where you will need to provide confidential personal and financial information as part of the application process for certain types of business licenses issued by North Dakota.
What does the North Dakota State Board of Equalization oversee regarding business licenses?
The North Dakota State Board of Equalization is responsible for issuing licenses that support a business if sales are made to consumers within the state.
Will I need to obtain additional permits to sell goods or services in North Dakota?
Yes, depending on the type of industry you are in, additional licenses and permits may be needed to operate a business within the state of North Dakota.
How can I get a copy of my North Dakota business license?
Contacting the issuing authority varies by the type of license held. However, performing an online search on registered business websites or tax docs is a good starting point.
Are there separate licenses to sell products versus services in North Dakota?
Yes, different business licenses might be required depending on whether you sell products versus offering services in the state of North Dakota.
Can I change the specific services or products offered on my North Dakota business license at hine?
Yes, changes can generally be made in the specifications of your North Dakota business license if you obtain written permission from those who originally provided the permit.
Does North Dakota offer a single statewide business license?
North Dakota does not offer a single statewide business license. Instead, specific licenses and permits might be required based on your industry and the cities or counties you plan on operating.
Will applying for a North Dakota business license identify a business’s hold on proprietary information?
Information regarding proprietary data should be kept confidential although some paper-work may be shared online regarding the formation of legal entities and registered businesses in North Dakota.
How are business licenses different from business entity formations in North Dakota?
The differences between the licenses offered and business formation through your state differ. However, typically, North Dakota business license offering comes after corporations are formed.
Can I get e-business licenses for approval for proposals and business applications?
Yes, legal panels are continuously implementing new user-friendly lay-outs and direct website links where business undertaking can reach out, submit and maintain compliance both clearly and uniformly.
What is the age requirement to get a business license in North Dakota?
There is no strict age requirement to obtain a business license in North Dakota. It’s valid as long as you meet all of the other requirements.
What is the significance of registering your chosen company name in North Dakota?
Registering your company name with the Secretary of State allows you the right to use this business name within the state of North Dakota.
What subcontractor regulations does North Dakota include with relation to a traded business?
Subcontracting regulations go over a wide range of regulations; subcontracting registration and permission as well including penalties and specifics associated with agreements made once outsourced.
Are all insurance policies in North Dakota interchangeable?
Unfortunately, No. Simply overlapping policies may not suffice. Certain job types and risks may demand an endorsement to the states to guarantee adequate coverage levels for your business.
Are out-of-state companies proposed to apply for a North Dakota business license?
Yes, it is possible for out-of-state companies to receive a North Dakota business license. Consequently, strong federal and state municipal codes recognize the obligation for these out-of-state corporations to justify necessary government entities that support business and state tax codes.

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Conclusion

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is crucial in starting a new business in North Dakota. 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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