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Business Permits and Licenses in Ireland

Business Permits and Licenses in Ireland

Businessmen who want to establish a company in Ireland must receive a set of business permits and licenses, which are issued in accordance with the type of activity set out by the company. Business permits and licenses are provided by the local authorities.

Foreign investors who want to open a company here can receive assistance on this matter from our team on Irish lawyers, who can offer legal advice on necessary documents. Our attorneys can provide step-by-step advice on the procedures involved in obtaining a certain type of license/permit in this country, depending on the business sector that is of interest. 

Business licensing as part of the company registration procedure in Ireland

When starting a business in Ireland, there are various steps to complete and obtaining business permits and licenses is one of them. However, obtaining specific licenses and permits is not a mandatory requirement for all companies, as some businesses only need the approval from the local municipality in order start their operations.

In most cases, Irish companies will need to apply for specific licenses and permits from relevant authorities that regulate the industry they operate in.

Obtaining the necessary business licenses is, in some cases, the lengthiest procedure a company must go through, this why it is advisable to consider the registration process as soon as possible when one has a specific date in mind for starting the operations.

Our law firm in Ireland is at your service with complete support in starting a company and obtaining the necessary business permits and licenses. We also provide assistance to individuals interested in divorce in Ireland.

Business licensing in Ireland 

According to the field of activity in which thecompany will carry out its operations, the investor must obtain various business permits and licenses, which will allow him or her to run the business respecting the rules and regulations stipulated by the commercial legislation

All companies which serve, prepare or deliver food are required to register with the Environmental Health Service (EHS); most of the businesses in this field do not need a license. However, EHS will have to give an approval in this sense.

Documents required when applying for business permits in Ireland

Generally speaking, when applying for the necessary business licenses for starting a company in Ireland, the relevant authorities will need detailed information on the company, which is why the Certificate of Registration must be obtained before starting the licensing procedure. Also, some government institutions will require the payment of various licensing fees which, in some cases, must be renewed.

When opening a business in food or beverages industries, for example, the company will also need to pass a verification with the health authorities in Ireland before being issued the operating license.

One of the most important aspects to consider when starting a company in Ireland is that when it comes to business licenses, each case must be treated individually and our lawyers can handle these procedures in order for you to have all you need when applying for the necessary permits.

Specific share capital requirements for certain industries

Another aspect to consider when opening a company that needs a special license or permit is related to the share capital requirements. This is usually the case of companies operating in the financial sector, such as banks, insurance companies, investment funds and a few others. In their case, the issuance of the business license depends on submitting proof of the required share capital.

Here are some of the main requisites when applying for licenses for financial companies in Ireland:

  • financial institutions operating as banks must have an initial share capital of 5 million euros
  • for companies offering non-life insurance services, the minimum share capital is 2,5 million euros;
  • for the registration of investment vehicles for retail funds, the minimum subscription is set at 100,000 euros;
  • for the creation of Professional Investor Funds, the minimum subscription is set at 100,000 euros.

Once these institutions make proof of the minimum share capital or subscription, they will be issued the necessary licenses to operate. Also, upon the creation of an investment fund, the investors must also consider the share capital requirements of the vehicles used to create the fund.

Our lawyers in Ireland can offer more information on the special licensing requirements applicable in the financial industry.

We invite entrepreneurs to find out more details on the business permits and licenses available in Ireland from the video presented below: 

When talking about food served in a given premises, all types of businesses included in the catering sector are required to comply with the regulations of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), an institution set up with the purpose of implementing the provisions of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland Act 1998our team of Irish lawyers can provide an in-depth presentation on the main rules of law prescribed by this act. 

In order to verify if the food standards are met by any Irish food operator, the institution has the right of performing inspections at the premises where the activity is developed; it also has the right to sample the food products sold by the company, but it can also verify if the equipment used for preparing food meets the applicable technical standards. 

Tourism and transportation companies in Ireland 

Foreign companies which operate in the hospitality industry should know that hotels in Ireland must obtain a registration permit (or a renewal permit); the same procedure is applicable to all types of businesses offering accommodation. 

The following types of establishments intended for tourism purposes are required to obtain a proper license:

  • Hotels;
  • Guesthouses and holiday homes;
  • Hostels and youth hostels;
  • Holiday camps;
  • Caravan and camping parks;

The department that issues the registration certificate (and with which the renewal is made) for the five types of accommodation businesses listed above is the National Tourism Development Authority.

Investors with companies in the transportation fieldhave to obtain a community license if they are involved in the international carriage of goods; the permit is issued by the Road Transport Operator Licensing

For transport companies, the following types of licenses and permits are given as an example:

  • Auto-fuel trader’s license: this type of license is issued by the Revenue Department;
  • Community license for road haulage or road passenger: these are two separate license, both issued by the Road Transport Operator Licensing Unit;
  • Dispatch Operator License: issued by the National Transport Authority; our lawyers in Ireland can provide more details;
  • Public service vehicles: included here and the Public Bus Service License and the Small Public Service Vehicle License, both issued by the National Transport Authority.

Alcohol and tobacco permits and licenses in Ireland 

Companies selling tobacco in Ireland will have to register at the Health Service Executive of the National Tobacco Control Officeour Irish lawyers can provide you with further information on this matter. Companies with commercial activities involving alcohol should receive permits from the Revenue Commissioners National Excise License Office, a regulatory body able to issue such permits for retailers or wholesalers selling any type of alcohol. 

When selling alcohol in Ireland, there are several types of licenses that can be obtained. For example, a restaurant can apply for a Special Restaurant License, which allows the holder of the document to sell alcoholic beverages in certain areas of the premises. In this case, the holder may offer beverages in the waiting area of the restaurant, in the dining area, and it also provides the right of serving alcohol in a period of 30 minutes after the customers ended their meal. 

When applying for the Special Restaurant License, the applicant has to pay EUR 3,805 for the issuance of the document, which is available for a period of one year (starting with 1st of October of each year); the renewal of the license costs EUR 500, and the application should be made prior to 30 of September, when the document expires. 

When selling alcohol in a hotel and similar accommodation units, companies must apply for a Hotel License and the validity of the document is the same as in the above mentioned case. However, the issuance of the document imposes a smaller fee, of only EUR 250, but the fee regarding the renewal of the license will be determined based on the turnover of the company obtained in its previous financial year. Our law firm in Ireland can offer more information concerning this type of license

Businesses in Ireland which are directly involved in the manufacturing of alcoholic beverages are also required to obtain a license. The license needed in this case is the Manufacturer’s License, which grants the right of selling the product to other customers; the document is necessary for breweries, producers of cider products, distilleries and other similar types of establishments. 

Those involved in other types of business activities have to apply for a designated business license when selling alcohol, and this is needed regardless of the company’s operations. For example, theaters in Ireland have to obtain a Publican’s License (Ordinary) License if selling alcohol to their customers; through this license, such businesses may only offer alcohol in a given time frame. 

Companies involved in the aircraft transportation sector (for passengers) must also apply for a license if they intend to offer alcoholic beverages to passengers during a flight. It is illegal to sell alcoholic beverages in this case without holding a Passenger Aircraft License, which costs EUR 500/year. 

Some examples of alcohol activities related licenses in Ireland are listed below by our team of attorneys:

  • Retailer’s Off License: this category includes the Wine/Beer/Spirit/Cider Retailer’s Off License and it is issued by the Revenue Department;
  • Manufacturer’s License: included here are brewer, cider manufacturer, compounder/distiller/rectifier of spirits;
  • Wine Retailer’s On License: also issued by the Revenue Department.

Applicants should know that the licenses issued for selling beer or wine as a retailer have conditions concerning the amount of alcohol that is sold. For example, the Beer & Wine Retailer’s Off License is issued for companies that sale for consumption off premises not in open vessels and in a limited quantity – not exceeding 2 gallons and not less than 1 reputed pint bottle (for wine) or 4 and no more than 4 and a half gallons or 2 dozen quart bottles in case of beer and cider. By contrast, the Beer Retailer’s On License (Ordinary) allows the holder to sell beer and cider for consumption on and off the premises in any quantity up to 4.5 gallons.

If you have questions about any of these permits, please feel free to reach out to our team of lawyers in Ireland.

License or permits for other types of business activities

Regulations are in place in numerous business fields in terms of licensing and they do not include solely tourism, transport or the sale/manufacturing of spirits. Below, our team of lawyers will list a number of different other fields that require licensing. Remember that if you wish to open a business that falls under any of the categories listed in this article our team is ready to provide comprehensive information on how to apply and renew the license.

Several other types of licenses in Ireland are the following:

  • Private security: issued by the Private Security Authority, includes licenses for security guard, access control, CCTV/intruder alarm installation and maintenance, locksmith or private investigator;
  • Estate agent’s license: issued by the Property Services Registration Authority; this is also the authority that issues the Auctioneers License;
  • Music and Singing License (Public): issued by the Courts Service; we can provide more details as needed;
  • Occasional Trading License: issued by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Sheep production, along with farming and dairying are important branches of agriculture in Ireland. Entrepreneurs who wish to start a business in the animal agriculture sector. The licenses and permits differ according to the type of animal that is being bred and the Livestock Breeding, Production & Trade, with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is responsible for issuing both the approval for animal reproduction and the approval of herdbooks (the official record of a recognized breed of livestock, especially swine or cattle). Fisheries have a separate department, for example retailers who wish to deal in wild salmon and sea trout will address the Inland Fisheries Ireland. Raising livestock is an important part of the economy. Our team can help those who are interested in starting a business in agriculture.

Are there any permits for gambling operations in Ireland? 

Gambling in Ireland covers a wide range of operations. The licensing requirements are applicable depending on the specific type of gambling activity developed in this country. Thus, Irish businesses that provide gaming machines within their premises are legally required to obtain a Gaming License. The issuance of the license is necessary for each of the premises in which the company carries its activity (premises where gaming machines are available). In this case, the following are applicable: 

  • the company must obtain a Gaming License for each of the gaming machines it operates;
  • the license of each gaming machine must be displayed on the respective product;
  • the license can be obtained for a period of three months or for a period of one year;
  • the fee for obtaining a license for this type of activity varies between EUR 145 and EUR 630, depending on the period in which the machine is licensed. 
  • the application for this type of license is concluded through the National Excise License Office and it should be done by the company’s founders (the application can be made by the company secretary/director of the company, in the case of a corporate structure). 

How can foreign investors apply for a business license in Ireland?

It should be noted that foreign investors who open companies in Ireland will benefit from the similar requirements when applying for business licenses for their operations. They are not required to comply with additional requisites, no matter the field they operate in. For non-EU citizens, however, Irish residence permits are necessary if they want to relocate to the country and conduct their operations from here. However, it is rather simple to apply for a work or residence permit in Ireland.

Also, when hiring foreign workers, various aspects must be considered, which is why it is recommended to seek advice on the Employment Law. Our Irish lawyers can offer more information on the requirements to meet when hiring foreign workers.

How long does it take to obtain a business license in Ireland?

The business licensing procedure can be one of the lengthiest when starting a business in Ireland. Considering that each authority has its own regulations, it is best to inquire prior to incorporating the business on how long the issuance of the necessary permits will take. You can also rely on our lawyers for information on these aspects. We can also assist with the preparation of the documents that need to be filed in accordance with the type of license sought.

Our team can provide you with a list of the licenses you will require for your business and the licensing authorities, based on the business field in which the company will activate. By using our services, you can save time and focus on what matters more – making sure that your business benefits from a proper launch and a promising start. We can also provide ongoing services related to licensing, more specifically their renewal.

If you need further information on the business permits and licenses in Ireland, please contact our team of Irish lawyers, who can assist you in obtaining the documents your company needs. Our law firm in Ireland can provide in-depth advice on all the types of permits and licenses needed for a business registered here. We also provide assistance for personal or family issues, such as divorce in Ireland.