How to Apply for a Business License in Oklahoma

Oklahoma City | Swyft Filings

Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Carlos Serrano
Written by Carlos Serrano
Written byCarlos Serrano
Updated October 17, 2023
Edited by Alexis Konovodoff
Share this guide

You’re setting up your limited liability company (LLC) in Oklahoma and have completed most of your formation documents. Your new business is almost ready to go, but you’re missing one thing — a business license.

Truthfully, it may be more than one thing. You may have to fulfill multiple state, federal, and local licensing requirements. With the help of this article, any business owner can learn what licenses they need for their business activities in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Business License: Key Takeaways

  • Business licenses are necessary permissions required to operate a business in Oklahoma legally. 

  • Depending on the nature of their operations, businesses may need several licenses, including federal, state, local, and professional licenses.

  • Business owners in Oklahoma are responsible for maintaining and renewing their licenses regularly, or they risk penalties and potentially the closure of the business.

Navigate Oklahoma 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?

Business licenses are a lot like permission slips — you need to have them before you can operate a company in Oklahoma. Without relevant business licenses, you put yourself in line for financial and legal penalties, reducing your customers' confidence in your business.

The typical business license contains fairly simple details. It’ll usually have your company’s name, information about the permissions the license grants, and signatures or similar marks from the organization that provides the license.

It’s also worth noting that no single “type” of business license exists. Your small business may need several, including the following:

  • General business license from the state

  • Federal government license for certain activities

  • State licenses for specific industries

  • City, county, or other local licenses 

  • Professional licenses

Get Your Oklahoma Business License in 7 Steps

The most important thing to understand about business licenses is that your business entity doesn’t matter. You could have a general partnership, a sole proprietorship, or an LLC, and the business license requirements you have to meet are usually the same.

You’ll discover these requirements as you work through the seven steps that ensure entrepreneurs get the business licenses they need for their companies.

Step 1: Apply for Oklahoma General Business Licenses

Some states require business owners to get a general business license before selling anything in the state.

Oklahoma isn’t one of those states, with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce pointing out that you don’t have to worry about a general state license to start a business in Oklahoma.[1]

However, depending on your business type, you may still need several licenses and permits at the state level. A few examples of those statewide licenses are covered in Step 3.

Step 2: Apply for Federal Licenses for Oklahoma Businesses

Several business sectors fall under federal jurisdiction, meaning you must get licenses from the appropriate federal organization to operate within those sectors. A lack of a federal business license, when required, can lead to the closure of your new business before it gets off the ground.

Examples of the federal organizations that oversee these additional licenses include:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): If you intend to transport any biological matter across state lines, from plants to animals, you need a license from the USDA.

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): Are you taking to the skies to transport people or cargo? If so, the FAA has to give you the go-ahead before you can operate any flight-based business.

  • Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: If you’re a business owner who makes, sells, or imports alcohol at retail, this organization needs to approve.

This list is just a sample of the federal licenses you may need, with more examples and links to appropriate licensing agencies on the U.S. Small Business Administration website.[2]

Step 3: Search for Oklahoma Permits and Licenses

A lack of a general business license doesn’t mean you don’t need any state licenses. For instance, contractors often need building permits before they can begin construction. Companies that sell alcoholic beverages usually need a state alcohol license, which stacks on top of the federal license they already have.

Just as with federal licenses, several organizations within Oklahoma oversee state licenses, with the following being a handful of examples:

  • Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSHD): Any construction plans, such as those for public bathing facilities, must go through the OSHD before you can start working.

  • Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC): Out-of-state contractors working in Oklahoma temporarily get “non-resident contractor” licenses from the OTC. Interestingly, contractors based in Oklahoma don’t require any form of state licensing.

  • Alcohol Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission (ABLE): ABLE handles everything to do with granting alcohol licenses in the state of Oklahoma.

You can find more information about the types of businesses that require state licenses on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s website.[3]

The Tulsa, Oklahoma skyline at dusk | Swyft Filings

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

You’re still not set once you have your state licenses. Every city, county, and municipality in Oklahoma has its own business licenses, with some holding stricter standards than others.

The more cities where you have locations, the more local ordinances you have to understand. The following are just a handful of examples from Oklahoma’s biggest cities.

  • Oklahoma City: Oklahoma City has an array of business licenses, occupational licenses, professional licenses, and even specific licenses for contractors.[4]

  • Tulsa City: You may have to consider several permits and business licenses in Tulsa, with all applications going to the city’s “License and Collections” department. Examples include licenses for hotels, coin-operated games, and pawnbrokers.[5]

  • Norman: The Norman city clerk’s office oversees licenses and permits in the city, which cover issues such as selling alcohol, food services, and special event licensing.[6]

The city clerk or local tax office can help you get sales tax permits and building permits to secure more permanent local licensing.

Step 5: Search for Oklahoma Professional Licenses

Several industries and professions require the people working within them to have professional licenses beyond standard business licenses.

For instance, a lawyer working for a law firm needs to pass the State Bar, which applies to everybody from the business owner to anybody who practices law in the firm. The same goes for doctor practices — the head doctor and every medical professional working there need professional licensing.

The Oklahoma Department of Labor oversees an occupational licensing program that covers 51 professions.[7] Depending on your profession, you may also need specific professional licenses from federal or local organizations.

Step 6: Apply for an Oklahoma Home-Based Business License

Oklahoma has no specific business license covering any new business based on a home occupation. In other words, you don’t have to apply for a catch-all license if you run your small business from your home.

But that doesn’t guarantee that you don’t need any licenses because your location and the type of business you run can both play a part.

In terms of location, some cities and towns may require you to have local licenses to run a business out of a residential property. As for the type of business you run, that goes back to the state and local licensing requirements covered in previous steps.

Step 7: Maintain Your Oklahoma Business License

Applying for the relevant business licenses you need in Oklahoma doesn’t mean you’re in a permanent position of good standing with the Secretary of State. You need to maintain and keep those licenses updated to ensure you can continue operating in the state.

The responsibility for these renewals falls on the shoulders of the business owner. And it can be tough to keep up, even with specific cities offering online renewal services, as with Oklahoma City’s Business Licensing Service. Often, business owners use third-party filing services, like Swyft Filings, to stay on top of their licensing needs.

Apply for an Oklahoma Business License Online

Your small business needs business licenses. The problem is that there are so many business license application forms for you to wade through that you don’t know which your new business needs and which would be a waste of your time.

We can help you cut through the murk.

With our Business License service, you can obtain and maintain your business licenses to guarantee you stay in good standing with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. We’ve helped over 300,000 new and existing companies with their filing requirements, and we’re ready to help you, too.

Stay Compliant in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma?

You’ll get business licenses by applying, either online or via mail, to the relevant federal, state, or local government authority.

Does Oklahoma require a general business license?

No, Oklahoma doesn’t have a general or generic business license.

Can you sell things in Oklahoma without a license?

No, you must have the appropriate business licenses or you risk harsh penalties, including the dissolution of your business. You also have to account for sales and use tax for any transfer of items in the state, be they personal or business-related sales.[8]

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

There aren’t any special licenses for online companies in Oklahoma. However, you still may need specific state, federal, city, or professional licenses.

Can I collect sales tax in Oklahoma without a license?

No, you must register with the Oklahoma Tax Commission to collect sales tax on the goods or services you sell.

How much does an Oklahoma business license cost?

Prices vary depending on the nature of the license. 

What’s the penalty for not having a business license in Oklahoma?

Penalties for not having a relevant business license range from fines and fees to losing your ability to work in your industry or profession.


  1. Oklahoma Department of Commerce. “How to Start a Business.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

  2. U.S. Small Business Administration. “Apply for Licenses and Permits.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

  3. Oklahoma Department of Commerce. “Business Licensing + Operating Requirements.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

  4. The City of Oklahoma City. “Business Licensing.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

  5. City of Tulsa. “Business Licensing.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

  6. City of Norman, OK. “Business License.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

  7. Oklahoma Department of Labor. “Licensing Program.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

  8. Oklahoma Tax Commission. “Sales and Use Tax.” Accessed July 24, 2023.

Originally published on September 28, 2023, and last edited on October 17, 2023.
business types

Learn more about each type of business

No matter the business type, Swyft Filings can help you form your new company.