In accordance with the Fair Trading Act 2015 (FTA), the functions of the Trade Licensing Authority have been transferred and subsumed within the remit of the Office of Fair Trading and shall be undertaken by the Business Licensing Authority (BLA).
Business licensing classes
The licencing regime created by the FTA now requires businesses which carry out the following activities to hold a licence:
A. Trade to include, but not limited to, the buying or selling whether by wholesale or retail, of any goods by way of a business and also means the importing of any goods into Gibraltar in commercial quantities;
B. Services, to include, but not limited to;
i. construction services road transport contracting and crafts;
ii. business-related services to include office maintenance, management consultancy, event organisation, debt recovery, advertising and recruitment services;
iii. tourism services to include travel agents;
iv. leisure services to include sports and amusement centres;
v. installation and maintenance of equipment;
vi. online services provided from Gibraltar;
vii. information society services to include publishing – print and web, news agencies, computer programming;
viii. accommodation and food services to include hotels, restaurants and caterers;
ix. training and education services;
x. rentals and leasing services to include car rental;
xi. real estate services;
xii. beauty therapists and hairdressers;
xiii. car repair workshops;
xiv. builders/carpenters/plumbers/electricians and decorators; and
xv. self-employed persons who provide services.
The practical effect of the wide definition of 'business' in the FTA is that any person wishing to:
- trade in Gibraltar, be it wholesale or retail; or
- to provide a service in Gibraltar,
must hold a business licence issued by the BLA (unless the relevant business is already licensed by separate local legislation, please see below).
Licences to trade
List of goods
Any application for a licence to trade under A., be it for retail, wholesale and/or export, should specify the goods which are to be traded from the approved goods list:
|Approved goods list|
The list has been prepared by the OFT in conjunction with HM Customs. You can find the relevant application forms at the bottom of this page.
Customs and importation of goods
A Business Licence is necessary for a business to obtain a Customs code for the importation of goods in commercial quantities into Gibraltar. It is a legal requirement for any Business registered in Gibraltar to obtain a Customs registration number in order to be included within the Customs database. Without this registration number the Business will not be allowed to import any goods in its name. See the HM Customs section of the Single Point of Contact for more information.
Licences for services
Specifying the service to be provided
Applications for a licence to provide services under B. must identify which of the services, i to xv, they shall be providing. If the service the business is to provide is not within the list the applicant should specify what the alternative service is in the application form in the 'Other (please specify)' box provided.
It is important that the BLA understands what type of services will be provided by the business. It is therefore essential that each application provides a full description of the services to be provided in the application form. If the information is not sufficient for the BLA this it may delay the processing of the application while the BLA gets in contact with the applicant to find out more information about the type of services to be provided. If in doubt provide as much information as possible about the type of business to be carried out.
Pursuant to subsection 60(2) of the FTA, all businesses in Gibraltar are required to carry on their business from premises which are appropriate for the intended use of the business. Businesses are required to produce proof of premises at the time of their application to the BLA. these are normally tenancy agreements or leases.
Unless the requirements for a premises are waived, business licences are issued to the business premises and allow the applicant to conduct the business from those premises. Thus, prior to submitting an application for a Business Licence suitable commercial premises need to be acquired. Without suitable commercial premises the licence cannot be issued.
Businesses from home
Subsection 60(8) of the FTA stipulates that "a licence shall not be granted to any premises which are residential Government premises, nor to any non-Governmental premises under which the terms of the title deeds to such premises restrict commercial activities to be carried on from such premises”. A business cannot therefore operate from a home unless the title deeds or head lease of the home does not restrict its use fro commercial activity.
Businesses that do not need premises from which to operate may apply for a waiver from the requirement of subsection 60(2) pursuant to subsection 60(9) of the FTA. An application for such a waiver should be clearly set out in Form 1a (see below). It should be noted that, even where a waiver is granted by the BLA, the business shall nevertheless be required to abide by the requirements of subsection 60 (8) in respect of the restrictions from carrying on business from residential premises.
Whether a waiver from the requirement to have premises is granted to a business, or not, is a matter for the BLA to determine based on the information received with the application. If you wish to apply for a premises waiver we would therefore suggest that you provide information about how, in your view, your business can operate without a premises. This can be provided in a letter accompanying the application.
Premises waivers will not be granted to traders or businesses who are required to hold stock or physical documentation e.g. employees records.
Co-existence of two businesses in same premises
Subsection 60(6) of the FTA permits businesses to share business premises where the BLA, in its sole discretion, is of the opinion that any licences granted in respect of the premises can co-exist in a compatible manner.
If you wish to apply for co-existence would therefore suggest that you provide information about how, in your view, the businesses can both operate in the same premises. This can be provided in a letter accompanying the application.
Persons licensed under separate legislation
Business or professions regulated by any other enactment shall not require a separate licence under the FTA to carry on that business or profession. This includes, but is not limited to, a person carrying on investment business, a regulated activity or a controlled activity as defined in the Financial Services (Investment and Fiduciary Services) Act, a Supervisory Act or the Financial Services (Moneylending) Act, a gaming operators licensed and regulated by the Gambling Act 2005, licence holders under the Leisure Areas (Licensing) Act and port operators with a Port Operator's Licence issued by the Gibraltar Port Authority.
Any person intending to apply for a new licence must, in accordance with section 73 of the Fair Trade Act, first give notice to the public of their intention to apply for a licence by publishing two completed copies of Form No 1a “Notice Of Intention to Apply for a new Business Licence”:
1. The first publication must be made in the Gibraltar Gazette. The Administration Office & Gazette of the Government of Gibraltar Law Offices is responsible for the production of the Gibraltar Gazette. For any enquiries in respect of the publishing notices in the Gazette, the contact details are as follows:
Administration Office & Gazette
Government of Gibraltar Law Offices
40 Town Range, Gibraltar.
Telephone number: +35020047932
The fee for publishing a notice in the Gibraltar Gazette is £20.
The OFT can also process gazette publication at its offices.
2. The second publication must be made in any newspaper circulating in Gibraltar at the time. (Prices may vary between local publications. These are normally in the region of 50 to £70).
Seven days after the date of the latest publication of the above-mentioned notices, the applicant may then submit to the BLA a completed Form 2a “Application for a new Business Licence”, accompanied by the following documentary evidence in support of applications:
1. Original or copy of the rental/tenancy agreement or lease over the premises from which the business shall be carried out (if you are applying for a premises waiver this will not be necessary, however you will be required to provide a written explanation regarding how your business can operate without a premises);
2. Original or copy of site plan in relation to the premises from which the business shall be carried out (not applicable if applying for a premises waiver);
3. A copy of the notice published in the local newspaper and the Gazette clearly showing the name of the newspaper and the date of the publication;
4. Where the applicant is trading under a different business name, an original or copy of the Certificate of Registration of Business Name; and
5. A copy of the identity card or passport of the applicant(s) or, where the applicant is a company, of the identity card or passport of the applicant's directors.
Should the premises from which the business shall be carried out require planning permission, an application to Town Planning must be submitted prior to applying for a business licence.
For fees please see below.
Objecting to applications
Any person who wishes to object to the issue of a licence may, in accordance with section 74 of the Fair Trading Act, give notice of his objection within seven days from the date on which Form No 1a “Notice Of Intention to Apply for a new Business Licence” is published give notice to the BLA and to the person named as the applicant in such notice of their objection to the issue of the relevant licence. The objection must be using the prescribed Form No 3a, “Notice of Objection to Issue of a Business Licence”, to the Trade Licensing Authority and to the person named as the applicant in such notice. The filing fee for an objection is £90.00.
A person who trades without a valid Business Licence, or who contravenes the Fair Trading Act may be guilty of an offence and may be liable on summary conviction to a fine and/or a continuing fine.
The OFT has systems in place to identify those businesses who may be operating without a business licence. If you identify a business which you believe is operating without a licence please contact us and we will investigate it.
The following fees are applicable in respect of matters under the Act, namely issuing of, or renewal of business licences:
|(a) Fee for an application for a new licence for a single business class||£150|
|(b) Fee for the renewal of an existing licence with a single business class||£100|
|(c) Fee for an application for a provisional licence – start ups||£95|
|(d) Fee for each additional business class included on an application for a new licence||£90|
|(e) Fee for an application to extend the scope of an existing licence by each additional business class||£90|
|(f) Fee for application to transfer licence to other premises||£90|
|(g) Fee for application to transfer licence remaining on the same premises||£90|
|(h) Objection filing fee||£90|
|(i) Fee for each additional business class included on a renewal for an existing licence||£60|
|(j) Fee for application for a duplicate licence||£35|
|(k) Inspection of register||£5|
|Guidance Notes||Download PDF|
Approved Goods List
|1A Notice of intention to apply for a new licence||Download PDF|
|1B Notice of intention to apply for an extension to scope of licence||Download PDF|
|1C Notice of intention to apply for transfer of licence to other premises||Download PDF|
|2A Application for a new licence||Download PDF|
|2B Application for extension to scope of licence||Download PDF|
|2C Application for transfer of licence to other premises||Download PDF|
|2D Application for transfer of licence where business is to remain on the same premises||Download PDF|
|2E Application for a duplicate licence||Download PDF|
|3A Notice of objection to application for new licence||Download PDF|
|3B Notice of objection to extension to scope of licence||Download PDF|
|3C Notice of objection to transfer of licence to other premises||Download PDF|
For further guidance about the various forms and how to complete and submit these please refer to our guidance notes.