Food Retail

Licensing & Permits

Food Shop Licence

All food retail establishments must be licensed in order to operate.  Each licence application is assessed on its own merits. Here is a self-checklist [PDF, 152 KB] for easy reference on the licensing conditions to fulfill. They will be verified through a pre-licensing check of the premises upon the completion of renovations and installation of equipment

Submission of relevant approvals and supporting documents 

  1. Approval from the land agency e.g. URA and HDB (referred to as planning permission from land agencies)*
  2. Tenancy agreement#
  3. Details of applicant - one of the following (where applicable):
        i. Individual - Both sides of NRIC 
        ii. Company - Information Business Profile from Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) 
        iii. Society - Certificate of Registration from Registrar of Societie
  4. Basic food hygiene certificate/Refresher food hygiene certificate of foodhandlers
  5. Food hygiene officer certificate (for Food caterers, Restaurants, Foodcourts and Canteens only)
  6. Cleaning program
  7. Layout plan of premises (in scaled metric units)
  8. Letter of authorisation (when submission of application is not done by intended licensee/director of company holding the licence)
  9. Pest control contract covering the control of rodents, cockroaches and flies during the year-long licensing period. The inspection frequency of the food shop premises covered in the contract shall be at least once a month to detect any sign of pest infestation.
  10. Supplementary Information form to capture business name, type of food sold, business operating hours, etc.
  11. Food Safety Management Plan (with critical control points identified) or proof of registration for the “WSQ Apply FSMS for Food Service Establishments” course. (For Food Caterers & premises with permission to cater only). Refer to the following link for more details.
  12. Photos showing the interior and exterior of the catering vehicle
  13. Vehicle log card or tenancy agreement for rental vehicle to prove ownership of catering vehicle
  14. Cleaning program for catering vehicle

*Please note that this is potential pitfall for applicant. Applicant should ensure the relevant planning permission is obtained, prior to signing any tenancy agreement and investing in renovations/equipment for the premises.

#Please notes that the submission of a tenancy agreement is not required during the initial stage of application for a licence. The tenancy agreement will only be required at the final stage, before SFA approves and issues the licence. You are advised not to sign any tenancy agreement, until the land agency concerned has approved the relevant use for the premises, and you are reasonably confident you can meet with the licensing conditions by also verifying with the owner/landlord on the necessary renovations like installation of exhaust system, pipings for sinks etc.

How soon can my application be processed?

The total time taken by an applicant from the start of a food shop application to receipt of licence can typically vary from a week to a few months, depending on time taken to renovate the premises to meet the requirements, our pre-licensing checks on site to ensure compliance, complete and accurate submission of required documents, and payment of licence fee.

If you are taking over an existing food outlet, please note that the previous licensee will need write in to cancel his licence, before we can approve your application. Otherwise, there will be a delay of at least 2 weeks, as SFA will need to write to the existing licensee to confirm his licence can be cancelled.

Some key milestones are as follows:

  • We will respond to you within 5 working days upon receipt of the application.
  • If the application is incomplete without basic details of applicant and layout plan of premises, you will be informed to furnish the information within 2 weeks. Upon furnishing the information, we will notify you on the licensing conditions to comply for your application.
  • After notification of the licensing conditions, you may commence the set up or renovation of your premises according to the layout plan submitted in the application.
  • Once completed, please inform the licensing officer to arrange for a pre-licensing site inspection to verify compliance.
  • We will issue an approval letter to you within 5 working days after our pre-licensing inspection if everything is in order. This letter will also serve as notification to you to make payment for the licence. Once you have made payment, you may proceed to start your operation.
  • The licence will be issued to you within 7 working days upon payment of the licence fee.

Can an individual hold a SFA food shop licence if foreign workers are employed in the shop?

Only company entities are allowed to employ foreign workers in accordance with MOM policy. Companies that do so must register the food shop licence in the name of the company. Licence issued in an individual e.g. Director will not be acceptable for the purpose of work pass application.

For more information on work pass related matters, please refer to MOM webpage or call MOM Contact Centre at 64385122.

How much does the food shop licence cost and how long is the validity? 

The Food Shop Licence including entertainment outlets serving food e.g. pub, bar, discotheque, and night club, costs $195.00 and is valid for one year. Please click here for online services for food shop licence. 

Should you have further enquiries please submit your enquiries via the Online Feedback Form. To help us assist you in the enquiry, please provide details of your intended food business including information on the food items being sold, how the items are processed, and type of equipment used.

*Please note that all existing licences issued by NEA before 1 Apr 2019 will remain valid till the stated expiry date.