How to obtain a business license in North Dakota

Updated on December 21, 2023


Obtaining the correct business license is essential for legal operation in North Dakota. This comprehensive guide provides insights into licensing requirements, application processes, costs, necessary documents, compliance, and special considerations for various industries in North Dakota.

Who Needs a Business License in North Dakota

Most commercial business entities require licensing in ND including retailers, restaurants, construction companies, contractors, mobile food vendors, tradespeople and independent professionals.

Penalties for non-compliance include potential fines, legal actions, orders to cease operations, and closure after multiple unlicensed practice violations.

Understanding North Dakota Business Licenses

Common North Dakota licenses needed:

  • Sales tax permits – To charge and collect sales/use tax
  • Income tax withholding – For employers with ND based employees
  • Local city licenses – Requirements set by ND municipalities
  • Professional/vocational licenses – For occupations like electricians, plumbers etc.

Preparing to Apply for a License

Identify necessary permits and registrations using North Dakota’s Online Licensing tool. Gather business formation documents, ownership details, lease agreements, and financial statements. Fees vary by license type.

Step-By-Step Guide to Apply

To apply for licenses in North Dakota, visit the Online Licensing Portal, use the License Finder Assistant, select required licenses, provide business information, upload documents, pay fees, and await approval.

To apply digitally:

  1. Access North Dakota’s Online Licensing Portal
  2. Utilize the License Finder Assistant
  3. Select your required license types
  4. Provide requested business/owner details
  5. Upload necessary supporting documents
  6. Pay associated fees
  7. Obtain approvals

After Submitting an Application

Online applications typically process within 15 business days after submitting all documentation. Check your status via the portal.

If issues occur, administrators contact applicants by phone or email to resolve concerns.

Maintaining Compliance

To remain legally compliant in North Dakota once licensed:

  • Display license certificates prominently onsite
  • Renew licenses annually by required deadlines
  • Remit timely tax and licensing payments
  • Maintain necessary insurance policies
  • Report changes in ownership, business activities, locations

Obtaining Federal Registrations

Don’t forget federal registrations such as an Employer ID Number (EIN) and trademark protections in North Dakota.

Special Considerations

Verify specific licensing requirements for businesses like liquor stores, contractors, and healthcare providers with North Dakota regulatory agencies.

Registering Your Business Name

File trade name certificates via the North Dakota Secretary of State if operating under “Doing Business As” names.

North Dakota Tax Registrations

Common tax registrations include Sales and Use Tax Permits and Income Tax Withholding Accounts.


Who Needs a North Dakota Business License?

Most commercial entities in North Dakota, including retailers, contractors, and hospitality companies, require a license.

What Do Licenses Cost in North Dakota?

License fees range from $0 to over $150, with some multiyear discounts available.

Additional Resources

Explore more information on North Dakota’s official state websites for business licensing.

Final Thoughts

Adhering to licensing protocols in North Dakota is essential for legal operation and avoiding penalties. Utilize digital registration options for efficient processing.

Priyank Singh

Priyank Singh, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Stilt, specializes in technology-driven financial solutions. He is having experience of starting FinTech Company, understanding regulations and coming up with creative solutions to solve difficult problems.