How to Get An Alaska Business License

A man and woman carry wood slats out of a truck.

Are you running a small business in Alaska? The state slogan is “North to the Future,” but if you’re a small business owner there, you most likely need an Alaska business license now.

Getting a business license in Alaska is a necessary process for small business owners, but figuring out what’s needed to get it, isn’t necessarily the easiest. How to go about getting your Alaska business license typically depends on factors like where you’re doing business, what type of entity you are, and more. It’s complicated and there’s a lot of information to sift through.

That’s why we’re here! We did some research of the processes for you, so you can save time (and maybe even money!). If you have any questions about how to get a state of Alaska business license, you should be able to find most of your answers here.

Do I Need an Alaska Business License?

Yes. The state requires you to have a business license. Regardless of whether you’re a sole proprietor, LLC, corporation, or even if you work from home, you’ll still need a license.

Depending on where you live, your local municipality also may require you to register for a local business license in your city or town. If you live and operate your business in Anchorage, for example, you may need a different license than if you live in Fairbanks.

The good news is that you usually don’t need to live where you operate the business to get a license there. It’s all about where you’re doing the business. So for example, if you live in Anchorage but work and perform your work in Southeast Fairbanks, then you’d register for a business license in Southeast Fairbanks.

Your Complete Guide to Getting an Alaska Business License

Getting an Alaskan business license isn’t a complicated process, but depending on your specific small business and application, it may take some time. We’ve listed the steps you need to take to make things flow smoothly for you.

1. Get your small business details and paperwork organized

Having all your details ready will help your application process go faster. Here’s what we recommend having on hand when applying:

  • Your business name and address (you can find info for registering for a name on this page)
  • Owner(s’) name(s) and address(es)
  • What type of business it is (e.g., LLC)
  • Start date of the business (when it was officially registered)
  • Your NAICS number (This is a numerical code that identifies the type of business your company is. You can find out more on this page.)
  • Your business license verification
  • A certificate of insurance (COI)
  • Your Alaska professional license (read further in this article to see if this applies to you)
  • A current business plan, any expenses, and expected cash flow if you can project it

2. Decide if you’ll apply online or by mail

You have the option of applying online or by mail. Applying online means that processing your application can start immediately. If applying by mail, the processing time will likely take longer.

If you apply for a state of Alaska business license between March through September, the processing time will usually take between 10 to 45 business days. However, October through February are considered heavy licensing months.

It’s not always possible to plan that far ahead (we know, small business owners are busy), but if you can keep this in mind, it may be helpful to you!

As a result of COVID-19, there may be changes to where you should mail your application. So be sure to confirm where to send the application with the Alaska government website before mailing your application to make sure it goes to the right place.

3. Check if you need an Alaska professional license

So you know the ins-and-outs of getting an Alaska business license, but we can’t leave out the requirement of getting an Alaska professional license.

You may be wondering: what’s the difference?

While all businesses are required to have an Alaska business license, not all are required to have an Alaska professional license. The need for a professional license depends on what type of business you’re planning to run. You can check if your trade is required to have a professional license here.

An important note: If you fall under the above category, you must apply for your Alaska professional license before your Alaska business license.

State of Alaska Business License Costs

There are a few different fees that come into play when registering for your business license in Alaska. Keep in mind that these fees could change so it’s important to double check the Alaska government website depending on when you apply for a business license.

You must pay a $20 filing fee for the verification of your license. An endorsement on your business will cost $100; however, this typically applies only if you’re selling specific products at your small business, like tobacco or nicotine.

The business license itself costs $50/year or $100/2 years. We recommend paying online for faster processing; all major credit cards are accepted.

Because of COVD-19, there currently is a fee suspension through September 30, 2020, which is subject to change. Check here for COVID-19 updates that could impact your Alaska business license.

If you are a disabled veteran of the U.S. armed services or a senior citizen (65 or older), you may qualify for a discount when applying for your Alaska business license.

Regardless of how you pay or what you’re required to pay, your business license is not a lifetime license — you’ll have to reapply each year. If you get your business license before October 1, your business license will expire December 31 of that year.

However, if you get your license after October 1, it won’t expire until December 31 of the following year.

Alaska Business License and Insurance Information

Depending on where your business is and what type of trade you practice, you may be required to have Alaska business insurance in order to operate your business. Alaska requires those applying for a Alaska contractor’s license to have insurance in order to get the license, and the same is true with an Alaska business license, depending on what it is you do.

Besides it being required by law to have your business insurance and license in Alaska, having a solid small business insurance policy can:

  • Help protect you and your finances in civil lawsuits
  • Set a foundation of authority and trust with your customers
  • Improve your business marketing
  • And more

If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to Alaska business insurance, we have a great free quote comparison tool you can use to determine coverage options and your policy premium amount.

Getting Your Alaska Business License Is a Big Milestone

With all the paperwork and steps included in getting a business license in Alaska, it may be easy to overlook the accomplishment, but this is a huge milestone for you as a business owner!

Having a license means securing an official status in Alaska and your local community as a small business that’s open and ready for customers.

And speaking of customers — having a business license can go a long way when building your customer base. A business license can help you build authority by showing your customers that you took your time to go through the process — and you’ll take that same care with their project.

It definitely will take time and money to apply and get your Alaska business license, but in the end, it’s worth it!

Applying for an Alaska Business License?

You may need to show proof of business insurance to get your license.

That’s where we come in. Compare free insurance quotes for policies as low as $19.58/month.*

Allison Grinberg-Funes

I’ve told stories since I learned to talk and written since I could hold a pen. As a small business owner myself – I’m a freelance writer and yoga teacher – I love contributing to the entrepreneurship community in different ways (including writing for Simply Business!). When I’m not drafting articles for SB, I can be found on my yoga mat, perusing an indie bookstore, and writing (with my cat nearby of course).

Allison writes on a number of topics such as small business leadership, business structures, and employee training.