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Step 1: Gather all necessary information

To ensure the quickest application experience, prepare all the required information (Refer to this blog) beforehand. This will help you get through the entire process smoothly.

It’s is best to set up a company with ACRA first, and then apply for your Food Shop License under your company: You can only hire foreign workers if your Food Shop License is tagged to a company (e.g. a Private Limited). You cannot hire foreign workers if your Food Shop License is tagged to a personal name (e.g. your own name). Therefore, it’s recommended that you set up a company with ACRA first. Choose a renovation contractor who is familiar with COPEH: (Code of Environmental Practice). These are a set of rules for food-related premises. If you’re renovating your food shop, the premises must comply with COPEH guidelines. When picking your renovation contractor, make sure you verify that they are familiar with the COPEH standards, as you’ll need to submit your food shop layout to SFA to get the Food Shop License. If your layout doesn’t comply with COPEH, SFA will turn down your license application. Make sure you’ve got your tenancy agreement before applying for the license: You need to submit your tenancy agreement when applying for the Food Shop License. You don’t have to sign the agreement yet until your license is approved, but you need to at least have the agreement in hand. Ensure you have premises use approvals from the relevant land use agencies (e.g. URA, HDB) before applying for the license: If you’re renting a space that was not previously a food shop, then you’ll need to seek a Grant of Written Permission from URA. If this space is within an HDB premises (e.g. HDB shophouse), then you’ll need to seek HDB approval also. Have this done before you start your license application, because SFA will request for the approval letters from these agencies. Make sure the food shop’s previous occupant has cancelled their Food Shop License: If the previous occupant was also operating a food shop, and they didn’t cancel their Food Shop License, then SFA will take 2 extra weeks to process your application. This is because SFA will need to contact the previous occupant to cancel their license. Gather personal details of all workers who will be handling food, and ensure they all have basic food hygiene certificates: You’ll need to submit the personal details of food handlers in your stall, as part of the licensing process. All food handlers must have a valid food hygiene certificate.

For certain types of food shops, you will need at least one food hygiene officer: The following types of food shops will require a staff member to be a food hygiene officer.

  1. Restaurant – Housed in two or more adjacent units in private and HDB shop-houses – With kitchen area exceeding 16 square meters (172 square feet)

  2. Caterer

  3. Canteen

  4. Food court

A senior member of your staff (e.g. chef, sous chef, manager, assistant manager, etc.) must serve as the food hygiene officer. If your chosen staff member has not worked as a food hygiene officer before, they will need to attend the WSQ Food Safety Course Level 3. Upon completing the course, they will be qualified to work as a food hygiene officer.

Pest control contract: You will need to submit a contract with a Pest Control company during your license application. You don’t have to sign the contract yet – just have one ready for submission. Your contract must have an inspection frequency of at least once a month.

Cleaning programe : You will need to submit a cleaning programme document during your license application. This document should outline your proposed cleaning schedule, state the various areas of your food shop that you will clean, etc.

Step 2: Apply on GoBusiness Licensing Portal

Once you’ve prepared all the necessary documents, log on to the GoBusiness Licensing portal to apply for your Food Shop License. The whole process can be completed online.

SFA will respond within 7 working days.

Step 3: Arrange inspection with SFA

Before SFA approves your license, SFA staff will need to go down to your F&B premises, and conduct an inspection. You will need to provide 7 days advance notice for the premises inspection. For instance, if you wish SFA to conduct the inspection on the 7th day of a particular month, then you’ll need to apply by the 1st day of the month at the latest.

SFA will confirm the inspection date within 3 working days, from the time you make the booking.

SFA will ensure that the layout plan you submitted is the same as the actual layout of your premises. SFA will also ensure that you have proper food washing facilities, food storage facilities, proper exhaust systems, proper drainage systems, etc.

Step 4: Make payment to SFA

After SFA clears the inspection and approves your license, you’ll need to pay SFA the license fee. A Food Shop License in Singapore costs $195/year (GST included). Once payment is made, SFA will mail your hardcopy Food Shop License within 7 working days. It should take 2 weeks, at most, for you to receive your license. If you don’t receive your hardcopy license within this 2-week time-frame, reach out to SFA again so they can send you another copy of your license.

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