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Why liquor license applications? It goes without saying that when starting a new liquor outlet, you will need an approved liquor license.

Regarding liquor license applications, one sees often that some first-time licensees tackle the liquor license applications process on their own. So, don’t let the outcome of your application disappoint you. Most of the time, the reason being that liquor license application, does not consist of a simple application form. Each application provides highly detailed information with regard to unique circumstances. These conditions always vary from outlet to outlet.

To let a liquor license consultant handle your liquor license application comes highly recommended.

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Frequently asked questions about liquor license applications.

The liquor act applies differently to businesses in the various provinces. This means that certain prerequisites and conditions for approval drastically varies from province to province. We at cater for new applications in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Western Cape.

As an online guide, we identified the most asked questions, that we received from new license applicants and trust that you will gain some insight into getting your license, in the following paragraphs. The topics we address include:

  • Application times
  • Basic requirements
  • Costing
  • Legal requirements
  • and more.

Liquor license applications — objections.

One more important point, before we get to the questions. Many applicants get taken by surprise by the fact that objections can complicate and extend the liquor license application process. Newly lodged license applications pass through many hands, maybe the most important one is the advertisement in the Government Gazette. This allows for the public to announce any objections to the proposed license application.

With no objections, the application process goes faster. If public objections are received, the process may first result in mitigation, extending the time it will take to approve or decline the application.

With all of that said, let’s take a look at those questions.

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1) How long does the application process take to be completed?

The application process consists of two parts, the first we call the compiling stage and the second, the lodging. During the compiling stage, we typically start by arranging a meeting and collecting as much as possible information, with regards to the proposed license.

Part one: During this time we get all the required documentation in place, this includes photos of the premises, consent from the landlord, business license etc. Preparing the application often varies in time, due to the bylaws and processes in place by the respective municipality.

On average the compilation stage is often completed within 4 weeks / one month. The first section of the application process will be the part where we at Liquoract does most of the work, in preparation for a successful application.

Part Two: The lodging stage starts on the day we Lodge or hand in the application. Various conditions apply to the lodging time. In other words, we may in some cases have to wait an additional week or two before we can lodge the application.

Once we lodge the application the process starts and can take up to 9 months, but not quicker than 6 months. This all depends on the correctness of the application efforts and the liquor board.

Another delay can arise from objections submitted by the public. On average with no objections, you can work on 7 months to 10 months.

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2) What documents do I need to provide with, in order to lodge a liquor license application?

The basic conditions for attaining a liquor license involves a person and premises, both of these come with their own unique requirements.

Property Requirements

The first property-related point that needs to be taken into consideration, will be the location. Once again, the location comes with its own requirements, the first being the proximity to any churches or other religious institutions and schools. Any of the previously named places may not be closer than 500 meters from the property in question.

The next important point to consider will be the “Zoning”. The local municipality defines which type of use I will be allocated to all properties in the municipal district. Therefore a new liquor license must be attached to a property that is zoned for commercial purposes. The zoning certificate makes out part of your application.

Once established that the property occupies a legal space for this kind of operation, then we move on to ownership and/or permission to trade in the premises. One may trade with a liquor license regardless of ownership. Often the proposed property is not built. That too will qualify by completing the application appropriately. The first challenge will be to clear proof the right to operate on the premises.

The last part we will look at in this section is the distance to another liquor outlet. Please take note that in a residential area, the new applicant may not be closer than 500 meters to another existing liquor license/outlet.

Personal Requirements for liquor license applications

Which personal documents do you need to complete your application?
Various personal documents will be attached to the application, some are:

  • SAPS Clearance
  • Tax clearance
  • Business license
  • Floor plan
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3) How much does liquor license applications cost?

The costs involved with liquor license applications are separated into three sections.

→ Sars and tax costs

SAPS clearance: the nominal amount of less than R50

Tax clearance: A tax clearance certificate will only be issued to you if you do not owe SARS anything. This means that if you have outstanding balances with SARS you will have to first pay that up to date.

→ License types cost (different prices)

Tavern total cost: R 23 500,00

Total restaurant license cost: R 24 900,00

Total pub or nightclub or bottle store cost: R 27 300,00

** Application cost: R 2 500,00

→ Lodging and renewal costs

Tavern renewal: R 1 000,00

Restaurant renewal: R 2 400,00

Bottle store renewal: R 4 800,00

Depending on the license type that you will be applying for, final costs may be between R 23 500,00 up to R 27 300,00. That includes labour charges and liquor board fees.


4) Do I have to own the building and must all construction be completed before application?

There is no need to own the building that you want to trade-in, the law specifies that the license holder must have permission and consent to operate a liquor-related business on the premises.

A liquor license is connected to a natural person and premises. If any one of those changes, the license must be removed and re-submitted for approval. This comes into play when the business is sold or relocated.

A license may be moved in an 8 km radius from the current location.

To proceed with the application for a liquor license, you must have a lease agreement or approved building plans to prove the ownership and layout of the proposed business.

This means that as long as you have the lawful right to occupy the premises, you can go ahead with the application.

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5) May I start trading once the application have been lodged for approval?

The rules are very clear, you may only trade with a signed copy of the liquor license displayed in the business.

Illegal trading of alcohol exposes you to the possibility of being caught. That charge will be fatal to your application. You will not be approved to trade alcohol, once you have a charge against your name.

It is not worth taking the chance, you have to wait until you have the approved, signed license in hand.

Closing – liquor license applications

We hope this article answered some of your questions about liquor license applications. Feel free to sign-up for more informative articles.

162 thoughts on “Liquor License Applications – Valuable Info Page.”

  1. Good day.
    I see you don’t work in Northwest Province (Klerksdorp)

    Anyone you can refer us to, to assist with a new liqueur licence on our own premises?

    Contact: 072 192 2929

Feel free to ask us questions.