Please note that the new Fair Trading Act 2023 commenced on the 1st October 2023. If you are in the process of making a business licence applcition under the now repealed Fair Trading Act 2015, this will still be processed by the OFT under the provisions of that Act.
The business licence application process is set out below:
Business Licence Applications
Pursuant to section 23(1) of the Fair Trading Act 2023 (FTA), there is a presumption to be able to carry on business in Gibraltar, subject to obtaining the required licence.
In accordance with the provision of the FTA, applications for a business licence are made directly to the OFT. The OFT shall grant the applicant a licence subject to:
- the applicant submitting with the application all the information and documents that may reasonably be requested by the OFT;
- no valid objection being made to the application which is upheld by the OFT; and
- the OFT being satisfied that the application satisfies all the requirements of the Act.
Applications for a new business licence
Applications for a new business licence can be submitted:
- Electronically on HM Government of Gibraltar’s eServices platform. To do so you must first create a corporate user account; and
- can be submitted using application form BL1 – New Business Licence Application.
Application to alter an existing business licence
You must make an application to the OFT in order to:
- extend an existing business licence
- transfer an existing business licence to another person;
- transfer an existing business licence to another premises; and
- to alter the conditions of an existing business licence.
Application to alter an existing business licence can be submitted using application form BL2 – Altering an Existing Business Licence Application.
We are currently working hard to make the process of making applications to alter existing business licences available on HM Government of Gibraltar’s eServices platform.
Submitting an application form
If you submit an application using HM Government of Gibraltar’s eServices platform then all communication with the OFT will be carried out through that platform and there is no need to communicate with the OFT in another manner unless requested to do so.
If you are submitting an application using application forms BL1 or BL2, you can submit these:
- electronically by e-mail to the OFT’s Business Licensing Team;
- physically at the OFT’s public counter at Suite 975 Europort.
All applications require supporting documentation. The documentation required will depend on the nature of the application being made. Below are checklists of all the supporting documentation required for each of the different types of application:
- New business licence supporting information checklist
- Extension of an existing business licence supporting information checklist
- Transfer an existing business licence to another person supporting information checklist; and
- Transfer an existing business licence to another premises supporting information checklist.
Pursuant to section 53(7) FTA, all applications shall be supported by such documentation and information as the OFT may reasonably require, and the OFT may defer consideration of any application until it has received all the documentation and information that it has reasonably requested.
The application process
The OFT shall within five working days of receipt of an application in compliance with the provisions of the FTA:
- for a new licence;
- to extend an existing licence;
- to transfer a licence to another person; or
- to transfer a licence to another premises,
give notice of the application to the public on the OFT’s website.
The period of five working days shall start to run when the OFT has received:
- a full application form, supported by such information as is required by section 53 FTA; and
- such other documents and information as the OFT may reasonably request from by a third party statutory entity, authority or agency.
The notice allows the public to make objections to the application.
For relevant fees please see below.
Objecting to applications
The public is able to view notices for applications on the OFT’s website. Any person who wishes to object to the issue of a licence may give notice of his objection on the website.
Pursuant to section 55 FTA, an objection of an application shall only be considered by the OFT if:
- the objection is made on one of the acceptable grounds of objection stipulated in the Act (see ‘Grounds of objection’ below);
- particulars of the objection are provided in writing explaining the exact nature of the objection. These must relate to the ground of objection;
- notice of the objection is given within five working days from the date of the notice is published on the OFT’s website to the OFT; and
- the filing fee of £100 is received by the OFT with the notice.
In addition, pursuant to section 55(1)(a), notice of the objection must also be given within five working days from the date of the notice is published to the applicant for the licence. This must be arranged by the objector directly using the details in the notice. The OFT may require the objector to demonstrate that this has been done within the time prescribed. Objector’s are therefore strongly recommended to keep record of the manner in which the notice has been served to the applicant
Grounds of objection
Pursuant to section 55(2)(a) FTA, the following are acceptable grounds of objection in relation to a business licence application:
- The applicant (or the partner of a partnership that is the applicant) is:
- an undischarged bankrupt or has entered into a composition or a scheme of arrangement with his creditors which is still binding;
- has, within a period of five years immediately preceding the date of the application, been convicted of an offence under the Insolvency Act 2014;
- The carrying on of the business in those premises would breach a covenant, condition or restriction contained in the legal instrument or other terms under which the applicant holds or occupies the premises;
- The premises are not appropriate for the intended business;
- A licence, authorisation, registration or other form of approval or permission under any other enactment has not been obtained by the person or in respect of the premises (as the case may be).
- The applicant is under the age of eighteen;
- The premises on which the applicant intends to conduct the business would not conform to the laws of Gibraltar;
- The issue of such a licence is likely to cause nuisance or annoyance to persons residing or occupying premises in the neighbourhood of:
- the premises in respect of which the licence is sought;
- places where the business is likely to be carried on in the event of an application for a licence and waiver from the requirement for premises in accordance with sections 26(2)(a)(ii) and 27 FTA;
- The applicant’s business would not, in the opinion of the OFT, be compatible with another business which is, or will be, operating from the premises, or any part of the premises, from which the applicant intends to carry on the business;
- The issue of such licence would conflict with any town planning scheme approved by the Development and Planning Commission;
- The premises do not accord with the Official Address Register or equivalent records held by Land Property Services;
- The applicant is a natural person who is not entitled to reside or work in Gibraltar in accordance with the laws of Gibraltar;
- The business is a Specified Business (see definition below) and the OFT is not satisfied that the person–
- has the necessary competence to carry on that business safely for consumers; and
- complies with any regulations applicable to that Specified Business made under the Act;
“Specified Business”, as defined in section 28(2) to the FTA, means a business or activity which involves one or more of the following–
- the introduction or insertion by injection or by any other means of any substance into the body of a person;
- the tattooing of any part of a person’s body;
- the application or administration to another person of any prescription only medicine;
- the provision of therapy;
- the infliction or carrying out of any process that involves the breaking of another person’s skin;
- the provision of counselling, analysis or other therapy or services designed or intended to identify and or to assist a person to understand, accept, overcome or recover or obtain relief from any form of mental condition, mental state, attitude, behaviour or other situation that derives in the mind of that person or any activity that could cause harm to a person’s mental state; and
- the management, organisation or provision of healthcare services to which the Medical and Health Act 1997 applies or a medical laboratory, an ambulance service or a pharmacy.
The following fees are applicable in respect of business licence matters as from 1st October 2023 pursuant to the Fair Trading (Fees) Regulations 2023:
Description of fee
Amount of fee
1. On the issue of a new licence:
(i) for a single business class (trade or service);
(ii) for a trade business class and a service business class;
subject to the deduction of fees already paid in obtaining provisional approval for that licence.
2. On the issuance of a licence or renewal of a licence to carry on any of the businesses referred to in sub-section 30 (1) (for business regualted by the OFT from a money laundering and financing of terrorism perspective)
3. On the extension of a licence by adding another business class or other activities to an existing licence.
4. On the renewal of an existing licence with:
(i) a single business class (trade or service);
(ii) a trade and service business class.
5. On the provisional approval for the grant of a new licence.
6. On the issue of a temporary licence.
7. On the issue of an occasional licence
8. On the transfer of a licence to another person.
9. On the transfer of a licence to another premises.
10. On the removal or alteration of licence conditions.
11.On the issue of a duplicate licence.
12.On the filing of an objection to an application:
(i) for a new licence;
(ii) for an extension to an existing licence;
(iii) for a transfer of a licence to another person;
(iv) for a transfer of a licence to another premises.
13. On the registration of a business pursuant to sub-section 25 (3) (For cottage indistires, artisans and service porviders with an anual turnover below £20,000).
Applications for a new licence
Altering an existing licence
Application for a duplicate licence
Cancelling an existing licence