If your business is involved in activities supervised and regulated by a federal agency, you may need to obtain a federal license of permit. These include:
- Agriculture (import or transport of animals, animal products, biologics, biotechnology or plants across state lines)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Firearms, ammunition and explosives
- Fish & wildlife
- Commercial fisheries
- Mining and drilling
- Nuclear energy
- Radio & TV broadcasting
- Transportation & logistics
You can find links to the relevant federal agencies for these categories at the Small Business Administration’s Website.
A dizzying array of state, county, and local government requirements may also come into play. The Small Business Administration operates a helpful State Licenses & Permits portal that lets you check out requirements by state or by entering your zip code.
Resources in New York State
In 2009, the New York State Legislature passed a One-Stop law requiring Empire State Development’s Regional Offices to provide assistance to businesses with regard to federal, state, and local rules, regulations, and licenses. Visit their Business First portal to find links to state agencies and information portals on licensing and certification rules. You can also reach them at (800) STATE-NY.
You should also be aware of local laws governing zoning, parking, sign regulations, and any occupational licenses. Contact the village, town, or city and county clerk where your business plans to locate.
The New York State Online Permit Assistance and Licensing program (OPAL) is an interactive website that guides individuals and businesses through the permit and licensing requirements to start or expand a business in New York.