Thinking about opening a restaurant in Singapore? Before you step into the exciting culinary world, you’ll first have to navigate the red tape in Singapore’s heavily regulated food and beverage industry.

From permits to certifications, gear up as we take you through the different types of restaurant licenses you’ll need to acquire and how much they will cost.


1. Food Shop License

sales invoice

A food shop license is one of the basic licenses to apply for if you’re opening a food shop. Food shops include establishments such as a takeaway kiosk, snack counter, restaurant, etc.1

Before applying for a food shop license, you’ll have to ensure that you meet the requirements of the pre-application checklist, which includes documentary, food shop design, and hygiene requirements. The annual license fee will be S$195.

How to Apply?

Head to Gobusiness Licensing and click ‘Apply’ for the “Food Shop License” or follow the detailed steps from the Singapore Food Agency website (SFA).

When applying for the license, these are the supporting documents required1:

  • Approval from the URA/HDB for the use of premises
  • A copy of the applicant’s NRIC and the ACRA registered Company Business Profile
  • Layout plan and floor plan of the premises
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Pest control contract and cleaning programme/schedule
  • Basic Food Hygiene Certificate/Refresher Food Hygiene Certificate of Food Handlers
  • Documentary proof of vehicle ownership (only applies to food catering companies)
  • FSMS Plan (for premises which are required to implement FSMS)
  • WSQ Apply Food Safety Management System for Food Service Establishments’ Certificate (Statement of Attainment)
  • HACCP Plan (for premises which are already HACCP-certified) and valid HACCP certificate accepted by SFA
  • Letter issued by the “WSQ Apply FSMS for Food Service Establishments” course Approved Training Organizations

Estimated Timeline

Upon completion of your application, you will receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA), which officially marks when renovation works can commence. Successful applicants will be notified within 7 working days via email.

After the renovation is completed, you may need to request an inspection of the premises, and this should be arranged at least 5 working days in advance. Upon complying with all the pre-licensing requirements, you will then be notified via email or GoBusiness to complete your payment within 28 days. 2


2. License for Importing Food Ingredients

reduce food cost

Have plans to import ingredients to spice up your menu? You will have to be licensed or registered with the SFA to ensure that all imported food is safe for consumption and meet Singapore’s food safety regulations.

You will also have to ensure all food imports comply with the specific conditions and requirements in each food category. Upon meeting all pre-import requirements, you can then apply for an import permit. To save yourself the hassle, you may wish to engage a trusted logistics company to apply on your behalf.


3. Halal Certification

In a multicultural country like Singapore where people of various ethnicities and religious backgrounds coexist harmoniously, being halal certified and actively promoting diversity, such as hiring Muslims in your team, speaks volumes about your restaurant’s willingness to embrace all cultures. With a flourishing halal dining market4, being halal-certified will also attract more customers to your business.

Requirements for Halal Application Process

Applying for a halal certification can be a complex process, as restaurants must abide by the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS Halal) Certification Conditions5. The conditions are laid out below:

  • Raw materials, additives, and processing aids must be Halal and declared on the MUIS eHalal System — the online platform for all Halal certification applications. All items must have 1 or more supporting documents.
  • Applicants must submit a floor plan of the restaurant to MUIS. It must clearly define the different sections of the kitchen that will handle and process Halal items, ensuring that no Haram items are brought into the defined areas.
  • Applicants must engage at least 2 Muslim employees, and one of them must be appointed as a representative in the Halal team.
  • Applicants must comply to the Singapore MUIS Halal Quality Management System (HalMQ), which consists of 10 principles. One of the principles requires a Halal team to be established to ensure compliance with the conditions of the MUIS Halal Certification.

How to Apply for Halal Certification

Halal certification applications must be made online via the GoBusiness licensing platform, where you will be required to pay the full application fee and 40% of the certification fee, and fulfill the below pre-requisites6:

  • Have a valid SFA/NEA/HSA license
  • The Halal team leader and a Muslim representative must have attended the Halal Foundation Programme (Level 1)
  • Operations at the premises have commenced

Your application will then be processed and verified, and a certification audit will be conducted at your premises. In total, the processing of your application will take 14 working days from the receipt of the application fees for normal applications and within 7 working days for express applications.

Here’s a breakdown of the EE schemes certification fee for restaurants based on the Halal Fees Schedule.

  • Type of Scheme Description Application Fees Total Payable (including 8% GST) Remarks
    EE-Restaurant Issue of a halal certificate for a period of one year for any restaurant with a total floor area not exceeding 186 square metres  $775 $829.25 Applicable to food shops with self-managed dining area.
    EE-Restaurant Issue of a halal certificate for a period of one year for any restaurant with a total floor area exceeding 186 square metres  $1,140 $1,219.80

The Halal certificate will be issued once application is approved and the balance certification fees are paid. To prevent any lapses, unannounced periodic inspections will be conducted to verify compliance.

Halal certificate holders are required to update GoBusiness for any change in details, and a renewal application must be submitted 60-120 days prior to the certification expiration, otherwise you can also opt for an auto-renewal submission.

Getting a Halal certification is a lengthy process that will require you to make many changes to your restaurant and dishes, but it will be a worthy investment to tap on the high demand for halal food and make your establishment more inclusive. For more information, check out the MUIS website.


4. Liquor license

wine glasses

Want to elevate your restaurant with a selection of alcoholic beverages? You’ll need to have a liquor license to be qualified to sell alcohol in Singapore. This applies not only to bars and pubs, but also to all restaurants looking to offer alcohol in their menu.

Types of Liquor Licenses in Singapore

With 8 liquor licenses available, it’s important that you pick the right one for your business. You’ll first have to decide the beverages you wish to sell, the type of establishment, and closing hours, before you can start to narrow down the specific license you need for what you have in mind. Here are the 8 types of licenses available7.

  • Cat        Description of Types of Licenses Liquor license cost (SGD)

    Trading Hours

    Suitable for

    Supply of liquor for consumption at the licensed premises stated in the liquor license.


    6 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

    • Restaurants
    • Cafes
    • Bars
    • Pubs
    • KTVs
    • Other F&B Outlets

    Supply of liquor for consumption at the licensed premises stated in the liquor license.

    $660/year 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Supply of beer only for consumption at the licensed premises stated in the liquor license.

    $460/year 6 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

    Supply of beer only for consumption at licensed premises stated in the liquor license.

    $285/year Trading hours as indicated on license

    Supply by retail of liquor for consumption at premises other than the licensed premises stated in the liquor license.


    7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

    • Online alcohol stores
    • Wine shops
    • Liquor shops
    • Convenience shops/Mama shops
    • Grocery shops

    Supply by retail of beer for consumption at premises other than the licensed premises stated in the liquor license.


    7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

    • Online alcohol stores
    • Convenience shops/Mama shops
    • Grocery shops

    Supply by wholesale of liquor for consumption at premises other than the licensed premises stated in the liquor license.


    7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

    • Alcohol wholesalers

    Temporary license where license is required for a short period of time, such as once-off events and exhibitions.

    $22/day or $44/week Specified time period of not more than 30 consecutive days
    • Pop-up F&B stores
    • Pop-up liquor stores/booths

Applying for a Liquor License

Not every business will be qualified to apply for a liquor license. Here are the following criteria you’ll need to hit to qualify for application8:

  • Your business must be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) (unless you are only applying for a Class 2B license, or if you are representing a registered society).
  • You must be a Singapore Citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident or possess a FIN issued by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
  • You must be the director of the company, a partner of the partnership, or the sole proprietor of the sole proprietorship.
  • You must be fit and proper.

But what does being “fit and proper” mean? The Licensing Officer will be the one to determine that by considering if you have:

  • Been convicted of or are under investigation for any offence.
  • If a liquor license was previously issued to you or a business that you are/were related to, you will need to have a good track record of complying with the conditions of the license.
  • Been cooperative with the police regarding any investigation in connection with the liquor license.
  • Had any previous license, permission or permit issued cancelled, or suspended, and for what reasons.

Failing to meet the above criteria does not immediately mean you will fail the application of the license. The decision will lie with the Licensing Officer, who will weigh each factor.

Estimated Timeline

You will be notified of your application outcome approximately 3 weeks from the receipt of your application, given that all necessary supporting documents are enclosed (if required). Any incomplete or incorrect submission will be rejected.

Check out the SPF website for more detailed information.


Other F&B Licenses

  • Public Entertainment Establishment License: If you wish to provide entertainment in your restaurant, such as live performances or game machines, you will need to apply for this license from the SPF website.
  • GST Registration9: If at any point of time you expect that your restaurant’s annual revenue will be more than S$1 million, you are expected to register for GST. If there is no certainty in your forecast based on market assessment, business plans, or sales targets, you are not required to register for GST.

Securing the right licenses is a crucial step for any restaurant in Singapore. Even though the food shop license is an absolute must for all food shops, you may wish to pursue other licenses like the Halal certification, trader’s license, or liquor license to cater to more customers and open yourself to a world of opportunities.

Additionally, having your restaurant licensed may make you eligible for grants, government funding, or incentives, which can go a long way in growing your business. Read about Restaurant Financing and Loans to learn more about the costs involved in opening or running a restaurant and how you can finance them.