How to Apply for a Liquor Licence to Sell Alcohol in Singapore
If you are a business owner planning on selling alcohol in Singapore, it is important to note that by law, you must have a liquor licence in order to sell alcohol in Singapore.
The law on liquor licensing in Singapore is stated in the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) (Liquor Licensing) Regulations 2015 (referred to as “Liquor Control Regulations” in this article).
Before Applying for a Liquor Licence
Decide on the type of liquor licence to apply for
Before applying for a liquor licence, you should first decide what type of licence you will need for your business.
A few factors to consider include:
- The type of alcoholic beverages you will be selling, i.e. whether it is only beer or liquor in general.
- The time period during which you will be selling the alcoholic beverage.
- The type of business establishment, i.e. whether you are running a bar with on-site consumption of alcohol, or a convenience store, with off-site consumption of alcohol, or if you are a wholesaler.
Depending on these factors, you may wish to apply for the following types of licences:
|Types of licences
|Type of establishment/licence
|Sale for on-site consumption of liquor from 6 am to 11.59 pm
|Sale for on-site consumption of liquor from 6 am to 10 pm
|Sale for on-site consumption of beer only from 6 am to 11.59 pm
|Sale for on-site consumption of beer only during specified daily trading hours (as indicated in licence)
|Sale by retail* of liquor for consumption at premises other than the licensed premises from 7 am to 10.29 pm
|Sale by retail of beer for consumption at premises other than the licensed premises only from 7 am to 10.29 pm
|Sale by wholesale** of liquor for consumption at premises other than the licensed premises from 7 am to 10.29 pm
|$22/day or $44/7 days whichever is lower
*A sale is considered by retail if it is for less than 30 litres of liquor.
**A sale is considered by wholesale if the sale is to a licensee of any quantity of liquor, or to any person of 30 litres or more of liquor.
A few additional points to note:
- Class 3A, 3B or 4 Liquor Licence Holders will be able to deliver liquor beyond the trading hours specified in their licence if the delivery is made to a non-public place in Singapore, e.g. residential homes and private condominium function rooms or office premises.
- You can apply for more than one licence in different classes. The only exception is that if you already have a valid Class 2A or 2B licence, you will not be given another Class 3A licence for the same premises.
Applying for a Liquor Licence
After deciding what class of licence you need, you need to first confirm that you meet the application criteria, and then comply with the different steps of the application process.
You have to meet all of the following criteria before you qualify to apply for a liquor licence for your business:
- Your business must be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) (unless you are only applying for a Class 2B licence, 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 a director of the company, a partner of the partnership, or the sole proprietor of the sole proprietorship; and
- You must be fit and proper.
In assessing whether you are fit and proper to hold a liquor licence, the Licensing Officer will consider whether you have:
- Been convicted of or are under investigation for any offence;
- A good track record of complying with the conditions of any liquor licence previously issued to you or a business that you are/were related to;
- Been cooperative with the police regarding any investigation in connection with the liquor licence; and
- Had any previous licence, permission or permit issued, cancelled or suspended, and for what reasons.
However, failing to meet the suitability of any of the above criteria does not mean that you will not succeed in your application for a licence. The weight of each factor is to be determined at the Licensing Officer’s discretion.
The application process is very simple. Applications have to be made using the electronic application service provided at the GoBusiness Licensing portal, accompanied by the appropriate fee.
The appropriate fee is determined according to the class of licence you are applying for and can be found in the table above.
After submitting your application, you may be contacted to submit the following supporting documents. Therefore, you should prepare them just in case:
- ACRA certificate.
- A copy of your NRIC or Foreign IC (for non-Singaporeans with work permit).
- Planning permission on the land use of the premise from Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
- Copy of the hawkers licence issued by the National Environment Agency (NEA) (for hawkers applying for an Outdoor Beer Stall).
- Copy of the Registry of Societies (ROS) Certificate (for societies).
You will be notified of the outcome of your application via SMS or email, and post within 12 working days after submitting your application and the necessary documents, if any.
The following is a quick summary of the application process:
After Obtaining Your Liquor Licence
Conditions of licence
After obtaining your liquor licence, you will have to follow the conditions stipulated in the class of your licence about the allowed timing of sale of alcohol, and the type of alcohol, strictly.
For example, if you are successfully awarded a Class 2A licence, you should only sell beer to customers drinking on the premises, and only from 6 am to 11.59 pm.
Additionally, there are other conditions imposed by the Liquor Control Regulations which a licensee must comply with:
|You are not allowed to lease your licensed premises to anyone else or commit any acts to relinquish the management of the business.
|You must not keep or store any liquors (to be supplied under the licence) in any places other than the premises specified in the licence, unless the liquors are in the course of transit (to Singapore from another country).
|You must not employ any waitress below 17 years old or whom you know or have reason to believe is a prostitute or of bad character.
|You are prohibited from selling any liquor at your premises to anyone whom you know or ought to know is drunk, or who is under 18 years old.
|You must not permit any drunkenness, disorderly conduct or gambling in your premises.
Extension of liquor trading hours
If you need an extension of your liquor trading hours, you can apply on the GoBusiness Licensing portal again.
There are two types of extensions:
- Regular extension hours over a long period of time (not applicable for Class 5 Licence holders).
- Ad-hoc extension hours on a one-off basis only.
For an extension of the regular hours, upon submitting your application and payment of the adjusted fees, you will be issued a new liquor licence reflecting the extended timings.
For ad-hoc extensions, you will be notified upon successfully applying, and will also have to pay for the extended hours.
Renewal of licence
The licence is only valid for the period stated in the licence, which is a maximum of 1 year. A Class 5 temporary licence is similarly only valid for the stated period, which will not exceed 30 days.
Before your license expires, you can amend, renew or cancel your licence on the GoBusiness Licensing portal as well.
However, do note that if you stop serving liquor before, or will stop serving liquor when the renewal term of the licence expires, you will not be able to renew that licence. If in the future, you want to start serving alcohol beverages again, you will have to apply for a new licence.
Penalties for non-compliance with the liquor licence conditions
If you do not comply with the terms of your liquor licence, or worse still, sell alcohol without a valid licence, you can be punished upon conviction of the offence with a fine of up to $10,000 under section 15 of the Liquor Control Regulations.
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