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Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

The Small Business Administration's ‘Apply for licenses and permits’ section can help you navigate through the process of establishing and maintaining the appropriate licenses and permits to ensure your business complies with a range of local, state and federal rules.

You may find owning your own business is a great portable career path. You'll need to understand and follow the rules in your current or new location and obtain all the required licenses and permits to ensure your business is legal.

Federal licenses and permits

You will need to acquire a federal license or permit if your business activities are regulated by a federal agency. This can include agriculture, radio and television broadcasting, transportation and logistics and much more. Look through the list on this website and click on the appropriate issuing agency to see how you can begin the application process and learn more about the requirements and fees.

State licenses and permits

The licenses or permits you need, as well as various requirements and fees, will depend on your business activities and location. Businesses that are commonly regulated by state include construction, farming, plumbing, restaurants and more. Visit your state’s website to find out the steps you will need to take to acquire a state license or permit. 

If you operate your business on an installation, you must also follow your service branch and installation's policies. The installation employment readiness office on your installation should be able to provide you with this information. Visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, select ‘Spouse Education, Training and Careers’ from the list of programs and services, enter your installation or postal code and select ‘Search’ to find a point of contact near you.

Knowing the rules and regulations for your business, or at least knowing where to go for information, will save you headaches and keep you from paying penalties down the road.

Visit the Small Business Administration website for additional information on starting a business. Find local assistance, including mentorship, with the Small Business Administration and partners at SBA Local Assistance. Contact a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or by using the Live Chat feature on MySECO for additional guidance on starting your business. You can also visit the Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment section of the Employment Readiness lifecycle stage of MySECO. 

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