Apply for a new business license

Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership

Before you begin

How to file a Business License Application for a Sole Proprietorship (17:01) File a application for a sole proprietor

If the business structure is a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you may need the following documentation to complete a business license application:

  • Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer ID (ITIN) and date of birth of all governing persons (owners or officers)
  • General business information including physical location, business activities, and estimated gross revenues
  • Employee information (start date, duties, and number of hours worked)
  • Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN).
Access the business license
  1. Click the Log in button.
  2. Enter your SAW user ID and password and click the Log in button. If asked, complete the Multi-Factor Authentication challenge to verify your identity.
  3. On the My DOR Services page, in the Business Licensing section, click Apply for a new business license.
  4. Select I want to start a business in WA State. If the business has already been assigned a UBI, enter it in the Enter the UBI field. *When entering a UBI: If you don't have permission to access the account, you will be asked to request access or add access before completing the application. Click Next.
  5. On the Ownership Structure page, select Sole Proprietorship or General Partnership as the legal structure for the business. If you are unsure about which type applies to your business, learn more about ownership types. Click Next.
  6. Answer whether this business has an UBI (Unified Identifier number). If Yes, enter your Unified Business Identifier (UBI). Click the Next button.
  7. Review the information that may be requested as part of your application. Click Confirm.
Tell us about your business

Section 1 of the application, About Your Business, will request basic information about the owners, business name, and whether or not the business will be hiring employees.

Start new business

  1. Enter the Federal Employer Identification number (FEIN) for the business if you have it. You will need a (FEIN) to withhold taxes for any employees.
  2. Answer whether the business will hire employees in the next 90 days. If you plan to hire employees after 90 days, you can come back and update this business license when you are ready.
  3. If you would like language assistance with any follow-up communications from other Washington State agencies, answer Yes, and select your language.
  4. Select Next to continue.

Sole proprietor information

  1. Enter the Last Name and First Name of the sole proprietor (required).
  2. Enter Date of Birth. The quickest way is to key in the date using either the DD/MM/YYYY or DD-MM-YYYY format.
  3. Enter the Phone Number including area code.
  4. Select the identification number type and enter the number. As a sole proprietorship, you can use either the IRS Tax Identification number (ITIN) or Social Security number (SSN). This is required when the business is hiring employees.
  5. Enter the Home Address of the sole proprietor. You must select the Verify Address button to confirm the address.
  6. Click Next to continue.


Spouse information

If the owner has a spouse:

  1. Select Yes and answer whether the spouse’s name should be included on the business license document.
  2. Enter the Last name, First name, and Date of Birth of the owner’s spouse.
  3. Select the identification number type the owner’s spouse and enter the number.
  4. Click Next to continue.

If the owner does NOT have a spouse, click Next to continue.

General partner information

General Partnerships require a minimum of two owners or officers.

  1. Click +Add an owner or officer to enter information about owners, officers, or partners.
  2. Select whether the owner or officer is an individual or a business:
  • If the owner is a person, enter the Last Name, First Name and either the Social security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and telephone number, and whether they are married, and spouse first and last name (if applicable).
  • If the owner is a business, enter the requested information about percent owned, business name and address..
  1. Click Next to continue.

Business names and registering a trade name

  1. Enter the Doing business as name (DBA) for the business. By having a DBA name, it is possible for sole proprietors and general partnerships to do business using a name other than the owners' personal name(s). This name will also be searchable in the Department of Revenue’s Business Lookup tool.
  2. Click Next to continue.
  3. The DBA name entered will default as a trade name to register in Washington State. A trade name is any name used in the course of business that doesn’t include the full legal name of all the owners of the business.
  4. If you have additional names that the business will use, you can enter the names on this page. Learn more about trade names and why they should be registered.
  5. Click Next to continue.

Optional coverage for owners

  1. Determine whether you want to add optional insurance coverage of owners and officers. If yes, then the Department of Labor & Industries will contact you and provide more information and next steps to apply.
  2. Click Next to continue.
Location information

Section 2 of the application requests information about the location of your business. Based on your location(s), you may also be presented with questions relevant for city endorsements (licenses) as well.

Business location and mailing address

  1. Answer whether the business location is the same as the home address.
  • If Yes, the home address will auto-populate.
  • If No, enter the business location. This cannot be a PO Box or private mailbox (PMB). You must select the Verify Address button to confirm the address..
  1. Click Next to continue.
  2. Answer whether the mailing address for this business is the same as the business location (physical address).
  • If Yes, the business location address will auto-populate.
  • If No, enter the mailing business location. You must select the Verify Address button to confirm the address.
  1. Click Next to continue.

Business information

  1. Enter the First date of business in Washington. The quickest way is to key in the date using either the DD/MM/YYYY or DD-MM-YYYY format. You can also select the date from the calendar.
  2. Select the range that best estimates the gross annual income in Washington. Gross annual income represents the amount of money the business will earn in one year from all sources before taxes.
  3. Enter the Business contact phone number and email address.
  4. Click Next to continue.

Additional business questions

This page includes questions about any relationship to a previous or existing business.

  1. Answer Yes or No to the required questions.
  2. If you answer Yes to any of the questions, additional rows will display requesting more information. If you know the bank name and branch for your business, please enter in the Bank name and Bank Branch fields.
  3. Click Next to continue.


City selection/additional locations

Answer whether you will you be traveling to other cities in Washington (other than your primary business location). Home cleaning, landscaping, and construction contractors are common examples of businesses that may travel to offer services or products in additional cities.

If yes, you most likely will need a city license endorsement for each city. You may be able to apply online for a city license with this application. City licenses available with this application display after you select yes. If a city is not listed, you must contact them directly to determine their licensing requirements.

  1. Check each city where you will be doing business. If a city is not listed, you will need to follow up with them directly.
  2. Click Next to continue.
  3. For each city, answer the requested information including first date of business, estimated gross revenue, and number of employees.
  4. Click Next to continue.

If no, click Next to continue. Skip to Physical location questions.

Nonprofit city license

Answer whether you are applying for a nonprofit city license in any of the cities that are traveling to conduct business.

  1. If Yes, upload a copy of the IRS tax exemption certificate for your business. Click Next to continue.
  2. If No, click Next to continue.

Additional city questions

  1. Answer Yes or No to the required questions. If you answer Yes to some of the questions, additional rows may display requesting more information.
  2. Click Next to continue.


Physical location questions

For many cities in Washington State, you can apply for a city license as part of state business license application.

If the city license where your business is located is not available through our application, you will need to follow-up with them directly. Your business license application will skip these pages and go directly to the Business Activity section.

If you can apply for a city license as part of this application, you will be presented with questions about the physical location of your business. These questions are specific to the city where your business is physically located. Be prepared to answer questions about the first date of business in the location, estimated annual revenue, and whether this location will have employees. You will also be presented with questions about the characteristics of the property, including automated smoke detection and alarm monitoring services.

When you have completed each page of questions, click Next to continue.


Business activity

Depending on your business activities, there may be additional state (specialty) endorsements required with your business license. By selecting the description(s) that best describes your business activities, we can help determine if there are additional state endorsements needed. State endorsement information will appear later in the application.

  1. Type the keyword or words that best describes the primary business activity or activities for this business in Washington state and press ENTER.
  2. Select the description(s) that best match your keywords (click the word Select next to the description). Selected descriptions will appear to the right of the description box. If you cannot find a match based on your keyword, check None of the activities listed above describes the business.
  3. Click Next to continue.
  4. Check the category(ies) for your business activity. This information is required as part of the tax registration for this business.
  5. If you want to share additional information regarding the activities or services of your business, select Yes when asked. You may be required to add this information if you indicated that none of the descriptions in the keyword search matched the primary activities of your business.
  6. Click Next to continue.
Hiring employees

Section 4 of the application will be presented to you if you answered that the business intends to hire employees (adults and minors). By completing this Business License application, you will be registered for workers’ compensation at the Department of Labor & Industries and unemployment insurance at the Employment Security Department.

If you answered that your business will not hire employees, you will presented with a question whether you will hire contractors.

Be prepared to enter the following information:

  1. Enter the first date of employment (or estimate if unknown) for the first employee. The quickest way is to key in the date using either the DD/MM/YYYY or DD-MM-YYYY format. You can also select the date from the calendar.
  2. Enter the date that the first wages to an employee will be paid. The quickest way is to key in the date using either the DD/MM/YYYY or DD-MM-YYYY format.
  3. Enter the number of employees that you plan to hire.
  4. Enter the estimated number of hours that all employees will work in a three-month period. You can multiply the number of employees by 480 hours to get the total estimated hours for employees working 40 hours per week.
  5. Describe the primary job responsibilities and duties of the employees.
  6. Click Next to continue.
  7. Answer whether you will be hiring minors..
  • If Yes, then you’ll be presented with additional questions. Complete the requested information and click Next to continue.
  • If No, click Next to continue..
  1. Answer whether you will be hiring any independent contractors. Learn more about the difference between independent contractors and employees.
  2. Click Next to continue.
State endorsements

Section 5 of the application is based on the activities you selected and if your business may need additional state endorsements (specialty endorsements). The forms that you can complete with the online business license application will be presented in this section. Learn more about state endorsements and fees

Review and pay
  1. Review your total fees, and then click Next. If you need to make any changes, you can use the navigation bar at the left to access each section and page of the online application.
  2. Select the payment type you wish to use and follow the prompts. More information on payment options.
  • ACH Debit/E-Check will deduct the payment from the bank account you select on the next page.
  • Credit Card will charge the credit card you provide on the next page. A 2.5% credit card processing fee is charged by a third party vendor for this service. Enter your email address. Click the Enter Credit Card Information button to be redirected to a third party vendor to complete the transaction.
  1. Fill in all required fields and click Next.
  2. Review the information on the Summary page. Click the Submit button.
  3. On the Confirmation page, you can print your confirmation number by clicking the Print Confirmation button.
  4. Click the OK button.

Corporation or Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Before you begin

If your business structure is a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Liability Company, or Limited Liability Partnership, you must file with the Washington Secretary of State before completing the Business License Application.

Before beginning this process, you will need the following information:

  • Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN).
  • Unified Business Identifier (UBI)
  • General business information including physical location, business activities, and estimated gross revenues
  • Employee information (start date, duties, and number of hours worked)
Access the application
  1. Click the Log in button.
  2. Enter your SAW user ID and password and click the Log in button. If asked, complete the Multi-Factor Authentication challenge to verify your identity.
  3. On the My DOR Services page, in the Business Licensing section, click Apply for a new business license.
  4. Select I want to start a business in WA State. If the business has already been assigned a UBI, enter it in the Enter the UBI field. *When entering a UBI: If you don't have permission to access the account, you will be asked to request access or add access before completing the application. Click Next.
  5. On the Ownership Structure page, select the legal structure for the business. If you are unsure about which type applies to your business, learn more about ownership types.
  6. On the Washington SOS page, answer whether this business is in Washington state or out-of-state:.
  • If the business is located in Washington, enter the UBI.
  • If the business is incorporated out-of-state and has an UBI, enter it. Click the Next button..
  1. Review the information on the Before you file page and click Confirm.
Tell us about your business

The first section of the application, About Your Business will request basic information about the owners, business name, and whether the business will be hiring employees.

Start a new business

  1. Enter the country, state, and year of formation information about the business.
  2. Enter the Federal Employer Identification number (FEIN) for the business if you have it. You will need a (FEIN) to withhold taxes for any employees.
  3. Answer whether the business will hire employees in the next 90 days. If you plan to hire employees after 90 days, you can come back and update this business license when you are ready.
  4. If you would like language assistance with any follow-up communications from other Washington State agencies, select Yes, and select your language.
  5. Select Next to continue.

Owner, partner, and officer information

  1. Click +Add an owner or officer to enter information about owners, officers, or partners
  2. Select whether the owner or officer is an individual or a business:
  • If the owner is a person, enter the Last Name, First Name and either the Social security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and telephone number, and whether they are married, and spouse first and last name (if applicable).
  • If the owner is a business, enter the requested information about percent owned, business name and address.
  1. Click Next to continue.

Business names and registering a trade name

  1. Enter the legal name of the business. (Typically, the name used when the business was registered with the Secretary of State.)
  2. Enter the Doing business as name (DBA) for the business. This name will also searchable in the Department of Revenue Business Lookup tool.
  3. Click Next to continue. The DBA name entered will default as a trade name to register in Washington State. A trade name is any name used in the course of business that is not the full legal name.
  4. If you have additional names that the business will use, you can enter the names on this page. Learn more about trade names and why they should be registered.
  5. Click Next to continue.

Optional coverage for owners

  1. Determine whether you want to add optional insurance coverage of owners and officers. If yes, then the Department of Labor & Industries will contact you and provide more information and next steps to apply.
  2. Click Next to continue.
Location

Physical business address

  1. Enter the address of the physical location of the business in Washington. This cannot be a PO Box or private mailbox (PMB). You must select the Verify Address button to confirm the address.
  2. Click Next to continue.

Business mailing address

  1. Answer whether the mailing address for this business is the same as the business location (physical address).
  • If Yes, the business location address will auto-populate.
  • If No, enter the mailing business location. You must select the Verify Address button to confirm the address.
  1. Click Next to continue.

Business information

  1. Enter the first date of business in Washington. The quickest way is to key in the date using either the DD/MM/YYYY or DD-MM-YYYY format. You can also select the date from the calendar.
  2. Select the range that best estimates the gross annual income in Washington. Gross annual income represents the amount of money the business will earn in one year from all sources before taxes.
  3. Enter the Business contact phone number and email address.
  4. Click Next to continue.

Additional business questions

This page includes questions about any relationship to a previous or existing business.

  1. Answer Yes or No to the required questions.
  2. If you answer Yes to any of the questions, additional rows will display requesting more information.
  3. If you know the bank name and branch for your business, please enter in the Bank name and Bank Branch fields.
  4. Click Next to continue.

City selection/additional locations

Answer whether you will you be traveling to other cities in Washington (other than your primary business location). Home cleaning, landscaping, and construction contractors are common examples of businesses that may travel to offer services or products in additional cities.

  • If yes, you most likely will need a city license endorsement for each city. You may be able to apply online for a city license with this application. City licenses available with this application display after you select yes. If a city is not listed, you must contact them directly to determine their licensing requirements.
    1. Check each city where you will be doing business. If a city is not listed, you will need to follow up with them directly.
    2. Click Next to continue.
    3. For each city, answer the requested information including first date of business, estimated gross revenue, and number of employees.
    4. Click Next to continue.
  • If No, click Next to continue.

 

Nonprofit city license

Answer whether you are applying for a nonprofit city license in any of the cities that are traveling to conduct business.

  • If Yes, upload a copy of the IRS tax exemption certificate for your business. Click Next to continue.
  • If No, click Next to continue.

Additional city questions about your business

  1. Answer Yes or No to the required questions. If you answer Yes to some of the questions, additional rows may display requesting more information.
  2. Click Next to continue.


Physical location questions - City license

For many cities in Washington State, you can apply for a city license as part of state business license application.

If the city license where your business is located is not available through our application, you will need to follow-up with them directly. Your business license application will skip these pages and go directly to the Business Activity section.

If you can apply for a city license as part of this application, you will be presented with questions about the physical location of your business. These questions are specific to the city where your business is physically located. Be prepared to answer questions about the first date of business in the location, estimated annual revenue, and whether this location will have employees. You will also be presented with questions about the characteristics of the property, including automated smoke detection and alarm monitoring services.

When you have completed each page of questions, click Next to continue.

Business activity

Depending on your business activities, there may be additional state (specialty) endorsements required with your business license. By selecting the description(s) that best describes your business activities, we can help determine if there are additional state endorsements needed. State endorsement information will appear later in the application.

  1. Type the keyword or words that best describes the primary business activity or activities for this business in Washington state and press ENTER.
  2. Select the description(s) that best match your keywords (click the word Select next to the description). Selected descriptions will appear to the right of the description box. If you cannot find a match based on your keyword, check None of the activities listed above describes the business.
  3. Click Next to continue.
  4. Check the category(ies) for your business activity. This information is required as part of the tax registration for this business.
  5. If you want to share additional information regarding the activities or services of your business, select Yes when asked. You may be required to add this information if you indicated that none of the descriptions in the keyword search matched the primary activities of your business.
  6. Click Next to continue.

 

Hiring employees

Section 4 of the application will be presented to you if you answered that the business intends to hire employees (adults and minors). By completing this Business License application, you will be registered for workers’ compensation at the Department of Labor & Industries and unemployment insurance at the Employment Security Department.

If you answered that your business will not hire employees, you will presented with a question whether you will hire contractors.

Be prepared to enter the following information:

  1. Enter the first date of employment (or estimate if unknown) for the first employee. The quickest way is to key in the date using either the DD/MM/YYYY or DD-MM-YYYY format. You can also select the date from the calendar.
  2. Enter the date that the first wages to an employee will be paid. The quickest way is to key in the date using either the DD/MM/YYYY or DD-MM-YYYY format.
  3. Enter the number of employees that you plan to hire.
  4. Enter the estimated number of hours that all employees will work in a three-month period. You can multiply the number of employees by 480 hours to get the total estimated hours for employees working 40 hours per week.
  5. Describe the primary job responsibilities and duties of the employees.
  6. Click Next to continue.
  7. Answer whether you will be hiring minors.
  • If Yes, then you’ll be presented with additional questions. Complete the requested information and click Next to continue.
  • If No, click Next to continue..
  1. Answer whether you will be hiring any independent contractors. Learn more about the difference between independent contractors and employees.
  2. Click Next to continue.
State endorsements

Section 5 of the application is based on the activities you selected and if your business may need additional state endorsements (specialty endorsements). The forms that you can complete with the online business license application will be presented in this section. Learn more about state endorsements and fees

Review and pay
  1. Review your total fees, and then click Next. If you need to make any changes, you can use the navigation bar at the left to access each section and page of the online application.
  2. Select the payment type you wish to use and follow the prompts. More information on payment options.
  • ACH Debit/E-Check will deduct the payment from the bank account you select on the next page.
  • Credit Card will charge the credit card you provide on the next page. A 2.5% credit card processing fee is charged by a third party vendor for this service. Enter your email address. Click the Enter Credit Card Information button to be redirected to a third party vendor to complete the transaction.
  1. Fill in all required fields and click Next.
  2. Review the information on the Summary page. Click the Submit button.
  3. On the Confirmation page, you can print your confirmation number by clicking the Print Confirmation button.
  4. Click the OK button.