Getting Your NEA Food Shop Licence, Simplified
Want to open an F&B outlet in Singapore but all the reading up on protocol putting you off? iCHEF did the homework for you and here’s the application process in practical, easy-to-follow steps, from beginning to end.
Register a company for your establishment under ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). Apply for the Food Shop Licence under a company.
An NEA Food Shop Licence issued to an individual (e.g. Director) will not allow you to hire foreign workers. So you have to request that your FSL (Food Shop Licence) is issued to the body corporate.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know that Singapore has been experiencing a labour crunch for some time now – even SPRING Singapore and the WDA are launching a manpower plan just for the F&B sector to help us cope.
Important: An Information Business Profile from ACRA must be submitted to NEA within 3 months from application date.
If you're leasing a space that previously wasnot an F&B establishment:
Get planning permissions from URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority). Do this BEFORE you sign any tenancy agreement. If permission isn’t granted, you will not be able to use the space as an F&B establishment.
If you are taking over another F&B outlet:
Get the previous licensee to write in to NEA to cancel his licence. If not, expect to wait 2 weeks because NEA will have to contact him and get a response. NEA typically responds to applications within 5 working days, but all details must be furnished to proceed.
Make sure you and your contractor are familiar with COPEH(the Code of Practice on Environmental Health) and can adhere to it.
Get a layout plan of the premises that complies with COPEH. If your establishment is located in a building, you will need to get a location plan that indicates the location of your food shop. Both must be submitted to NEA.
Make sure all your food handlers have a basic food hygiene certificate or refresher food hygiene certificate.
If your restaurant is housed in 2 or more adjacent units in Private & HDB shophouses, or has a kitchen area exceeding 16m2, you need to have a senior member of the staff be trained as a Food Hygiene Officer. You will also need copies of the NRICs/Work Permits of all foodhandlers working in the premises.
If the submission of application is not being done by intended licensee/director of company holding the licence, get a letter of authorisation.
Apply at online at the LicenceOne website. You will need your basic details (Singpass, NRIC, address, contact details, particulars of food handlers) and the layout plan of the premises. If you were previously self-employed, your Medisave has to be paid up in full.
Once you are confident that you can meet with the COPEH requirements (by also verifying with the owner/landlord on the necessary renovations like installation of exhaust system, pipings for sinks etc.), sign your tenancy agreement.
Create a detailed cleaning schedule for your outlet.
Get a Pest Control contract covering cockroaches, rats and flies (one year). Make sure that the inspection frequency of your premises is at least once a month.
Inform the licensing officer once renovation is complete to arrange for a pre-licensing site inspection to verify compliance.
Cheryl Tay is the editor and marketer at iCHEF Singapore. She also manages iCHEF Club, a growing community of F&B owners in Singapore – organising events, an online newsletter and the F&B Entrepreneur Bootcamp, the only regular workshop on opening a new restaurant in the country. In her spare time, she attempts to read every book that’s ever won a literary prize and watches cat videos. Like any proper Singaporean, her love for food runs deep – especially spicy food. Chili is life.
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