New License Application

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

One sees often that some first time licensees, tackle the liquor license application process on their own. And in many cases, end up being disappointed with the outcome. Most of the times the reason being that liquor license applications, does not consist of a simple application form. Each application provide highly detailed information with regards to the unique circumstances. These conditions always vary from outlet to outlet.

It comes highly recommended that your license application process are handled by a liquor license consultant like

liquor license

Frequently asked questions.

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. Us at cater for new applications in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

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

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

Liquor license application – objections.

One more important point, before we get to the questions. Many applicants gets taken by surprise by the fact that objections can complicate and extend the liquor license application process. Newly lodged license applications passes 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.

time banner

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 secondly 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 are 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 moths, 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.



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 a 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 it’s own requirements, 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 my 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 are not built. That too will qualify by completing the application appropriately. The first challenge will be to clearly proof the right to operate in 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

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



3) How much does applying for a license cost?

The costs involved are separated into three sections.

→ Sars and tax costs

SAPS clearance:  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 labor charges and liquor board fees.



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

There are 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 a premises. If any one of those change, 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 a 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 proof ownership and layout of the proposed business.

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



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.

Trading without a license exposes you to the possibility of being caught for illegal trading of alcohol, that charge will be fatal to your application. You can be assured that once you have such a charge against your name, you will not be approved to trade alcohol.

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



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



138 Responses

  1. Running a restaurant has always been a dream of mine, and I was wondering what it would take to get a liquor license application. Thanks for explaining that the application process takes about a month during the compilation stage. Finding a legal space for a restaurant that operates with liquor is also something I have never taken into account before, so thanks for pointing that out.

  2. Since i young, i was saying i want to to have a Tarven, or bottle store, by 1997 i did put my application and they responded by sending me the application forms which end up unfinished, and i still willing to carry on to follow my dream or my instinct.

  3. Hi Renier, we are hosting a pop and country music festival in witbank on the 08/06/2019. Can you please assist with process and documents for a temp licence for a beer garden.

  4. This process seems to take forever. No wonder there are so many businesses trading with the license. Literally you must wait an entire year to get licensed, mean while what are you doing?

  5. Simphiwe say:can i a quetion if i want a takeaway liquor license…if is no takeaway liquor license it’s ok but me 2 i nid a licence can you pls assist. i want to apply soon pls contact me:0789255236 or e-mail

  6. Compliment of the season
    I need to apply for liquor license for the first time can you please contact me so we can talk father regarding application my contacts are 061 039 3273 and 061 440 1662 Menzi skhakhane at Jozini kzn

  7. Good day. I am in the process of opening a restaurant in Howick kzn but the issue is that I can not get hold of the people who owns the property. The property was being used by another person without any lease agreement from the owners. The owners of the property is ithala group but no one in their offices seems to have interest on the building. There isva bottle store operating in the same centre but the licence was issued about 20 years ago and the owner of the bottlecstore has no contact with the property owners and he told me that the building was abondended by the ithala group. Please can you advise

  8. Wonder if you can assist me. We have applied for a liquor licence. But because of the fire department we have not complied completely with their requirements. How long is the application valid in this case or will we have to start again.

    • It is not clear at what stage your license application is
      The fire department comes in when applying for a business license.
      If your premise is complete you have to supply business license with liquor license application if this is the case and you did not supply you will get a notice giving you 21 days to supply after which the application is removed from the system
      Normally where the premise is not complete at time of application it the runs the full course of advertising extra and if approved will be with condition that bus license is supplied and premise completed within 18 months.
      Contact me on 0761387988 for clarity

  9. Hello im Khulekani @ Kzn Pietermaritzburg,i am the one of those who can i get the right direction on how to Apply for a lique lisence please may you healp me on that one.

  10. Hi I’m interested in opening a bottle store and I don’t have a property to operate in the moment but I need to apply for a licence incase I got a place I don’t have to wait for long so what can I do

Client Responses

 by Sibusiso Mngomezulu on
reliable service

Through the help and reliability of liquoract today I am the owner of a tarven, their service is more than exceptional thus I highly recommend and rank their service

 by Siyabonga Mpembe on
Best, reliable service

I had no idea about applying for a liquor license but I wanted to open a tarven, Liquoract did everything for me and now I'm a proud owner of my own tarven.

 by Renier Sky on
Awesome is on-top of my liquor license renewals since 2003 - Keep up the good work!

For more information on COVID-19 and government regulation: Click here