How to Apply for a Business License in Nebraska

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Carlos Serrano
Written by Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Updated October 17, 2023
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
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With the right preparation, starting a new business in Nebraska doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. The first and foremost step is registering a business as a limited liability company or another business type, after which comes the ever-important licensing. 

While registration defines your business's form, licenses keep it on the right side of the law. This guide will help you check every box for a Nebraska business license without issues.

Nebraska Business License: Key Takeaways

  • Business licenses and permits are essential for legitimizing your business, ensuring trust and legal compliance, and protecting consumers. 

  • Licensing requirements can vary significantly depending on your business type and location, and you may need multiple federal, state, and local licenses, each with its specific demands.

  • Once you have your business license(s), maintaining them through regular renewals is crucial for legal compliance.

Navigate Nebraska Business Licensing with Ease

Ensuring you have the right business licenses and permits is crucial. Let us manage the complexities for you, so you can stay focused on what you do best — running your business.

Apply For My Business Licenses

What Is a Business License?

Before an establishment can call itself a proper business, it must get the proper licensing and permits. They prevent fraudulent or immoral activities and signal that the company is ready for fair trade. In return, the company gets access to customers, legal protections, and assistance when needed.

However, depending on your location, acquiring some of these licenses can be tricky. Different states and local jurisdictions, including municipalities, counties, and cities, can have varying requirements you must satisfy before receiving a business license.[1]

The exact licenses or permits you need can vary depending on your business type. You can think of them in terms of general, federal, state, and local or city business licenses. Before doing business, you must determine the specifics of the licensing process for the type of activity you'll be carrying out in Montana.

Keep in mind that registering a company and obtaining licenses are two different processes. Registering a business involves registering a business name, drafting a Limited Liability Company Operating Agreement, and filing formation documents. Licensing is a more explicit legal matter that signals the state that you're ready to comply with all its laws.[2]

Get Your Nebraska Business License in 8 Steps

It’s critical to research what licenses or permits you need depending on your business activities, as their requirements will vary to a lesser or greater degree. Here are the eight steps you can follow to stay on good track:

Step 1: Apply for Nebraska General Business Licenses

There are no general business licenses in Nebraska that cover all businesses. However, every business will need a license depending on their location and exact business model and industry. 

Failing to obtain the correct permits and licenses can set your company up for hefty fines,  legal fees, and even more dire consequences. Research and understand the licensing specific to your line of work, as outlined in the steps below, to avoid such issues and protect your small business.

Step 2: Apply for Federal Licenses for Nebraska Businesses

Federal regulations also affect different industries in their own way. If your business is across state lines or in a federally regulated industry, you will need a federal license.

One example of an industry subject to specific federal licensing is broadcasting. If you want to set up a radio or television state, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) needs to approve it. Since broadcasting can potentially surpass state borders, regulating it falls under the federal government's responsibility.

Likewise, if you transport animals or plants interstate, you'll need an agricultural license from the Department of Agriculture. This can apply more broadly to any larger-scale food production.

Step 3: Search for Nebraska Permits and Licenses

Depending on your business activities, several possible state licenses might apply. For example, if you sell alcoholic beverages or liquor in Nebraska, you will need a state liquor license to do so legally.

You can get a precise count on the type of state licenses you need for your business by going to the Nebraska OneStop Portal.

A welcome road sign for the state of Nebraska | Swyft Filings

Step 4: Search for Local County or City Nebraska Business Licenses

As shown, state and federal government bodies have their own demands in terms of business licensing. But it doesn't stop there. Depending on your service and location, you may also need additional licenses from your local county, town, or city.

For example, Omaha requires food services, alcohol sales establishments, and taxi services to obtain local licenses before they can operate.[3] Similarly, Lincoln has city-level licenses and permits for food establishments, childcare centers, and construction contractors within the city limits.

Other cities and counties may have similar requirements, but there are always some variations that you need to consider. It's best to contact your local county clerk for your unique business. 

Step 5: Search for Nebraska Professional Licenses

Many trade professionals, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, plumbers, and lawyers, need a professional license to practice their craft within Nebraska. 

These are highly sensitive professions with considerable ramifications for their clients. Therefore, the state owes its citizens only to allow qualified professionals with occupational licenses to practice them. 

For example, the Department of Health and Human Services in Nebraska oversees the licensing of doctors and nurses. The Nebraska Secretary of State's Licensing Division oversees licensing collection agencies, debt management agencies, credit services organizations, private detectives, truth and deception examiners, and athlete agents. 

If relevant, you'll need to determine which government body is responsible for your line of work and contact them for additional licenses.

Step 6: Apply for a Nebraska Home-Based Business License

If you plan to run a business from home, don't forget to research what local licenses and permits you may need. While they aren't uniform across the state, counties, cities, and towns can have different demands for home-based businesses.

Depending on the type of business and services you specialize in, like child care or family learning, it's more likely necessary for you to get a home-based business license. This is because such services also fall into the aforementioned professional licensing realm.

The best thing to do is contact the city clerk's office for your business location and take their advice on what steps to take so your home occupation complies with local regulations.

Step 7: Maintain Your Nebraska Business License

Dealing with licenses doesn't stop here. You'll need to stay on top of renewing the licenses and renewal fees. 

Not keeping up with renewal fees or not renewing puts your business at risk of non-compliance with the state. Fortunately, we can make complying with this business license requirement simpler and smoother so that you can focus on your work instead of bureaucracy.

Apply for a Nebraska Business License Online

After taking in all the information about licensing and permits within Nebraska, it may seem like following all the rules can be exhausting. That's why our business license service is designed to make the application process much less stressful for a new Nebraska company. 

All you need to do is fill out a short questionnaire and let us submit your application to the Nebraska Secretary of State and other government bodies for you. In the meantime, you can focus on being an entrepreneur and running your business.

Stay Compliant in Nebraska Without the Hassle
  • Focus on Your Business: Dive into your passion while we handle the intricacies of acquiring the necessary local, state, and federal business licenses and permits.

  • Simplify Your Paperwork: Complete our straightforward questionnaire, and we’ll handle all the required filings for you, accurately and promptly.

  • Stay Compliant: Avoid the risks and severe repercussions of non-compliance. We’re here to ensure your business remains in good standing.

Begin My License Application Today


How do I get a business license in Nebraska?

Before you can get a business license in Nebraska, consider your business type, industry, and location, as this will define which business license(s) apply to you. You can apply for each license through the relevant state agency or government office.

Does Nebraska require a general business license?

Nebraska doesn't require a general business license for every business entity. However, depending on your business location, industry, and activities, you might need specific state, federal, or local licenses.

Can you sell things in Nebraska without a license?

Some goods, such as alcohol or firearms, call for a license to sell. You may also need other permits, such as a sales tax permit.

Do I need a special license for an online business in Nebraska?

You don’t need a special license for an online business. However, depending on your business location, industry, and activities, you might need specific state, federal, or local licenses.

Can I collect sales tax in Nebraska without a license?

No, you cannot. You must have a sales tax permit to collect sales tax in Nebraska.

How much does a Nebraska business license cost?

Different licenses have different fees, which may be higher or lower. You will need to research the specific licenses that apply to your business.

What's the penalty for not having a business license in Nebraska?

If you try running a business without proper permits, you could incur penalties or fines, and the state may close your business.


  1. "Business Licensing." Accessed July 25, 2023.

  2. Nebraska Department of Revenue. "Starting a Business in Nebraska." Accessed July 25, 2023.

  3. City of Omaha City Clerk. "Licenses and Permits." Accessed July 25, 2023.

Originally published on October 11, 2023, and last edited on October 17, 2023.
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