Licensing & Permits
All alcoholic beverage and business licenses are subject to the Board of Commissioners approval. Additionally, many licenses types have Building and Fire Department inspection requirements and/or require Police Department approval, as well as, other types of requirements that departments outside of the Auditor's Office may provide. Licenses that are approved are always contingent on any other required department approvals being received.
Quick List Links
Alcoholic Beverage License Application & Permits
Business License Applications
Gaming Permits (raffle, bingo, etc.) & Game Site Authorization License Application
Public Event Permit For events such as: fireworks displays, block parties, music festivals & outdoor bands, 5K runs, parades, street closures, etc.
License Application Process
Applications are not considered complete, and will not be circulated for any department approvals, until all required documentation and application fees have been received.
All licenses are approved by the City Board of Commissioners. Once any applicable department approvals have been obtained, the application will be submitted to the next available City Commission agenda for the Board to grant final approval. The Board of Commissioners meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
Licenses are issued contingent on compliance with any applicable inspection requirements, or other specified requirements, such as providing proof of insurance or a surety bond, throughout the life of the license. After the City Commission approves the new license, it will be mailed to the local business address.
Annual Business License Renewals
Licenses expire on December 31st of each year. Annual business license renewal notices are sent to all license holders at the end of October with a deadline of November 30th to return the renewal along with the annual fee. Renewal notices for alcoholic beverage licenses are sent at the end of September and have an October 31st deadline to return. These deadlines allow our Building Department and Fire Department time to conduct inspections before the end of the year when the new licenses are issued.
Rules & Regulations
Information regarding specific legal requirements and regulations of all licensing can be found in the Williston Code of Ordinances.
Business Licenses Available
See our Alcoholic Beverage Licenses page or our Business Licenses page for applications.
The City Auditor's Office handles the following license and permit types:
Bulk storage of hazardous materials & liquids
Food Truck Vendor
Frozen Dessert Vendor
Pet Shop, Kennel, Groomer or Pet Boarder
Tobacco Product Sales
Vehicles for Hire - Taxi, Limousine, etc. Businesses & Drivers
Transient Merchant Licenses
Applications for these licenses can be found on our Business Licenses page.
Farmer & Flea Markets, Fairs, Carnivals, Circuses, etc.
For games of chance applications, see our Gaming page. Unlike city business licenses which expire at the end of each year, Game Site Authorization licenses run on a fiscal year from July 1st to June 30th in order to coincide with the requirements of the State Attorney General's office.
Game Site Authorization
Local Permit & Charity Local Permit for raffle, bingo, etc.
These permit applications can be found on our Alcoholic Beverage Licenses page:
Alcoholic Beverage - Special Event & Private Group
Alcoholic Beverage - Charitable or Civic Event
Other permit applications that are available can be found on our Permits page:
Public Events: These events include music festivals & outdoor bands, pub crawls, 5K runs & motorcycle runs, parades, assemblies, fireworks displays, request for street closure, etc. How do you determine if your event is a public event? Large public events have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Are temporary – not a normal use of a facility or property
- Have a large number of people watching and/or participating
- Involves or impacts the public realm. For example, requires City services beyond the normal capacity; generates traffic, parking, noise, etc.
Starting a Business in Williston
If you would like to start a business in the city of Williston, you must first register with the State of North Dakota to apply for a fictitious name, obtain a Sales & Use Tax permit if needed, etc. You can find the information you need at the ND Business Portal or by going to the State website at www.nd.gov.
The Small Business Administration has a helpful Launch Your Business Guide that can assist new business owners with getting set up and open for business. The Business Guide provides useful information, such as: how to choose a business structure and business name, getting your federal tax ID number, opening up a business bank account, and much more.
701 577-8115 Building Department Our Building Safety can assist with new construction and renovation permits that may be needed for your business.
701 577-8107 Planning & Zoning For questions regarding the proper zoning for your business, starting a business in your home, or obtaining a temporary use permit for transient merchant sales, our Planning & Zoning department can assist you.
701 577-8110 Economic Development For further information on business incentives that can help your business, see the Economic Development STAR Fund page.
701 713-3839 Small Business Development Center The Williston SBDC partners with Williston State College and our city Economic Development to help new and existing business owners.
701 774-6400 Upper Missouri District Health Unit This organization can help answer your questions about opening a restaurant, catering or tattoo businesses. The city does not issue licenses for these businesses at this time; however, you will still need to register your business with the State. See the UMDHU webpage for more information.
701 328-1291 North Dakota Department of Health - Food & Lodging Division This state agency licenses and inspects all food trucks, catering, grocery stores and other retail food & retail meat markets. Additionally, the NDDOH licenses all lodging establishments and assisted living facilities - including hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, campgrounds, mobile home parks, trailer/RV parks, and kitchens inside of city limits and throughout Williams County. Visit the NDDOH website for more information at: www.ndhealth.gov\foodlodging\ .