Apply For A Business License Bismarck, North Dakota

Does every business in Bismarck, North Dakota need a business license?

As a general rule, business licenses are not required to businesses operating within the city limits of Bismarck. However, there are a few exceptions that must comply with a plan review from the City of Bismarck’s Environmental Health Division that requires a business to provide details in accordance to the Code or Ordinance that governs the type of business.

A list of those businesses is listed below:

  • Food/Temporary Food Establishments must conform to city regulations and pay fees based on the type of food and service provided and where it is located. Click on the link for further information and to download the necessary form(s).
  • Lodging Establishment must comply with the city ordinance and pay any applicable fees applied by the city commission.
  • Pesticide Applicators will need to be certified or under the supervision of one who is certified, in order to obtain a permit by the City Health Officer. Those providing this service will need to be responsible for adhering to the City of Bismarck’s Health and Sanitation regulations under the Code of Ordinances. The $50 fee and application will need to be completed and returned to the Bismarck Fire Department’s Environmental Health Division.
  • A Special Pet license is required for anyone owning more than three dogs or cats. An inspection will need to be made by the Environmental Health Division and the application completed and a $20 fee paid before the license can be issued.
  • Swimming Pool Establishments are required to comply with the City of Bismarck’s ordinance for operators of public or semi-public pools. A fee of $100 and the completed application will need to be paid to the Environmental Health Division.
  • Tanning Establishments are required to comply with Ordinance 5607, have an inspection of the business, complete an application, and pay the applicable fees ($100 for 1-10 tanning beds, $125 for more than 11 tanning beds).
  • Tattoo/Body Art Operators will need to acquire a permit to operate their businesses, pay the $75 fee, and adhere to the City of Bismarck’s Code.
  • The following businesses must complete applications and pay fees to the City of Bismarck Police Department:

  • Door to Door Sales and Solicitations applications can be downloaded or you can receive a copy from the Administration Office in person. Application fee is $200 and $25 per sales person listed. In addition you will need to provide a copy of your North Dakota Tax Permit and photo identification.
  • Gaming Permit requires an application to be completed and a $25 fee, unless the applicant pays for their own background check. Applications and fees should be mailed to: Office of Attorney General, Gaming Division, 600 East Boulevard Avenue–Dept. 125, Bismarck, ND 58505-0040.
  • Liquor Permits and Licenses have several different applications depending on the nature of the business.
  • Pawnbroker licenses are coordinated by the Administration Office and annual fees are based on the nature of the business, pawnbrokers $75, junk dealers $50, and second hand dealers $25.
  • What about home-based businesses?

    Home-based businesses are allowed in the City of Bismarck. However, unless they fall under the above-stated specialty businesses, they are not required to obtain a business license.

    Where do we send the applications and fees?

    For businesses required to obtain licenses or permits through the Environmental Health Division:

                Environmental Health Division
                Bismarck Fire Department
                1020 E. Central Avenue
                Bismarck, ND 58501-1936

    For applications through the Police Department:

                City of Bismarck Police Department
                700 S 9th Street
                Bismarck, ND 58504

    For applications through the City Administration Office:

                City Administration Office
                221 North Fifth Street
                Fourth Floor
                Bismarck, ND 58501

    For further information or questions, contact the City Administration Office by phone (701) 355-1300, fax (701) 222-6470, or email

    Click the link to your city below to apply for a business license

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    This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advise. The information on this site should not be relied upon as an official source of information and should be independently verified.


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