Securing Philippine Business Permits Made Simple

The main hassle in securing Philippine business permits is when you keep going back to city hall for prerequisite documents you missed securing. So here are simple but all-inclusive steps that will help you bring everything you need to enjoy, if possible, a one-stop business permit processing at city hall.


DTI Registration for Solo Proprietorship

Before proceeding anywhere, you need to register your business first at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). This is for solo proprietors.


Online Registration

  1. Go online and visit the DTI site. Click here to go there now.
  2. On the menu, click on “New Application” and read the BNRS Terms and Conditions. Then click on “I agree.”
  3. On clicking I agree, you will be directed to another page where an application form is waiting. Fill it out and follow the instructions.
  4. Online payment is found on the menu on the homepage.


Over-The-Counter Registration

  1. It is suggested to call up the DTI office and ask about specific requirements for your business. Some businesses may be required more documents. Here’s the DTI hotline: 751.3330.
  2. At the DTI office, ask for application forms (fill out in duplicate). You may also download the form from the DTI website here. The business owner should be at least 18 years old and a Filipino citizen. The owner should personally apply or the owner’s authorized representative.
  3. Submit the application form at the processor’s cubicle. DTI will check the availability of your business name.
  4. If your business name is cleared, pay whatever fees are needed at the cashier. Remember to keep the receipts.
  5. DTI will evaluate your application. You will be advised what the next step will be until you secure your DTI certificate. Securing Philippine business permits in the National Capital Region (NCR) takes one day, but those outside NCR may take 5 days.


SEC Registration

You need to register your business at the Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC when securing Philippine business permits for partnerships or corporations. Corporations can be stock or non-stock, for profit or non-profit respectively.

  1. Verify business name. You may do this online by clicking here. You will find easy to follow instructions on the menu on the homepage. One instruction is to sign up for an account on the site. Once that is done, you can easily verify your business name and have it reserved.
  2. However, if doing it online seems difficult, visit the temporary SEC office at the PICC building along Roxas Boulevard. Go to the Verification Unit. Their main building along EDSA, Greenhills in Mandaluyong City is under renovation as of this writing.
  3. If you are in Cebu City, look for the SEC office on V. Rama Avenue in Guadalupe, Cebu City.
  4. Prepare Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws. Ask for forms on these for a fee at the SEC and fill up the blank spaces. Then have them notarized. If you are new to this, you may ask the assistance of a lawyer.
  5. Make sure to inquire about all the requirements for your business while at the SEC. Different business types may require different documents. They usually provide a list. This will keep you from having to go back repeatedly to the SEC.
  6. You will be told when to go back for the SEC certificate. You will need this (or the DTI certificate) when securing Philippine business permits at city hall.


Barangay Clearance

Visit the Barangay in charge of the area where your business is located. You need to secure a permit from it verifying that your business location is indeed under their jurisdiction. The barangay office may also certify that you have a clean record with them.

Things you need:

  1. DTI or SEC registration certificate.
  2. If you are renting space, a copy of the contract of lease. If you own the site of your business, you may need your land title, deed of sale and tax declaration.
  3. In most cases, the barangay may require clearance from the Homeowners Association if your business is found within a residential area.
  4. Sketch of a location map showing where your business is found.


  1. Go to the information desk and ask for barangay clearance for your business.
  2. Fill out the application form given you and submit.
  3. Wait for clearance certificate. In some cases, you may have to go back for it.
  4. Pay necessary fees.


Mayor’s Permit

With your DTI or SEC certificate and your barangay clearance secure, you are ready to face the mayor’s office for securing Philippine business permits. They say, here’s where the real challenge begins.

Go at once to the business permit department at the city hall and ask for a complete list of requirements. Most likely, aside from your DTI/SEC certificate and Barangay clearance, the following will make the list:

  1. Contract of lease
  2. Land title and tax declaration if you own the business location.
  3. Insurance for public liability.
  4. Fire clearance or permit.
  5. Sanitary permit.
  6. Mechanical permit.
  7. Electrical clearance.
  8. Zone clearance.
  9. Other permits as may be required depending on the nature of your business. Laboratories, for instance, may need clearances from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as well as from the Department of Health. So may restaurants. Schools will need permits from the Department of Education. Pharmacies will need clearance from the Food and Drug Administration of FDA.

The information desk at the mayor’s office can help you with where and how these permits and clearances are secured. When you have worked out these permits and clearances, submit everything to the business permit department and pay the necessary fees.

If you submit every document correctly, the Mayor’s Business Permit and business plate will be ready for pick up in three working days. So make sure you do your permit and clearance hunting well. Complete the list.


BIR Registration

Part of securing Philippine business permits is registering your business with the Bureau of Internal Revenue or BIR. Basically, you will need to show the following:

  • BIR Form 1901
  • Mayor’s Business Permit (or application for it if it’s not yet with you).
  • Your birth certificate certified true by the National Statistics Office or NSO.
  • DTI or SEC registration certificate.

Armed with this, you may proceed to the information desk of the BIR office or RDO nearest your business and ask for assistance. You will be required to pay the necessary fees at BIR accredited banks. You will also pay for documentary stamps.

After a successful processing of your application, BIR will hand you Form 2303 or the BIR certificate of business registration and Book of Accounts, among others, depending on the nature of your business.

When all these documents are in your hands, congratulations! You’ve just finished the hurdles of securing Philippine business permits.




Expats in the Philipppines

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