How to Get a Business License in VA
You can get a business license online or by mail by applying with the correct licensing or regulatory agency for your business.
Business licensing requirements generally depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).
There are three main licensing jurisdictions:
State of Virginia Business Licensing
The only state-level permit or license in Virginia is the sales tax certificate, also known as a seller’s permit.
You must obtain a sales tax certificate if you:
- Are engaged in business in Virginia
- Intend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail.
Visit Virginia Tax Online to obtain a sales tax certificate.
Additionally, businesses in certain professions or industries need specific licenses or permits. The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation provides additional information about different state licenses and permits and how to get them.
Local Virginia Business Licensing
In Virginia, you may need other licenses or permits from your local government depending on your business activity or location.
For example, the City of Richmond requires all businesses to have a city business license. This license must be renewed each year.
Contact your local Virginia town, city, or county government office for more information.
Steps for Obtaining a Business License in Virginia
Virginia Sales Tax Certificate
You can register for a Virginia sales tax certificate online, by mail, or by fax.
Other Virginia Business Licenses
A Virginia sales tax certificate does not need to be renewed.
Federal Business Licenses and Permits
You can get a business license by applying with the correct licensing and regulatory agency for your business. Business licensing requirements depend on your business’s activity and location (zoning requirements).
If your business conducts activities that are regulated by the federal government, you will need to apply for the appropriate business license or permit.
Choose a business activity below to learn how to apply:
Firearms, ammunition, and explosives
Fish and wildlife
Mining and drilling
Radio and television broadcasting
Transportation and logistics
VA Business License FAQ
What is a business license?
A business license is a permit issued to businesses by a government office that allows the business to operate in a particular area. They can be issued by federal, state, or local governments. There are typically different licensing requirements for different businesses and different locations.
What are the types of business licenses?
There are many types of business licenses. These include licenses at the local, state, and federal levels, licenses related to sales tax and other taxes, and specific licenses for various professions. There are also environmental licenses, zoning permits, and more.
Is there a national business license?
Most businesses don’t need a federal business license, but some industries, including broadcasting, investment advising, and drug manufacturing, do have federal regulations and licenses.
Is an EIN the same as a business license?
No. An employer identification number (EIN) is issued by the IRS to identify and keep track of businesses, but it does not license them to operate.
Is an LLC considered a business license?
No. An LLC is a type of business structure. While you are required to register as an LLC, it is not a business license.
Who needs a Virginia business license?
Every business that sells products that are subject to Virginia sales tax must have a sales tax certificate. Businesses in certain professions or locations may need other specific licenses.
What licenses do I need to open a business in Virginia?
Many businesses will at least need a Virginia sales tax certificate. Businesses in certain professions or locations may need other specific licenses.
What is a seller’s permit?
A seller’s permit is the common name for a license or permit that allows you to sell products or services. In Virginia, this is called a sales tax certificate.
How much does a Virginia business license cost?
There is no registration fee for a Virginia sales tax certificate. The cost of other licenses or permits varies.
How do I get a Virginia business license?
You can register for a Virginia sales tax certificate online with the Virginia Tax website or by mail.