License & Permit Applications

Finance Department

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 & Permit Applications
Business License Applications
Gaming Permits (raffle, bingo, etc.) & Game Site Authorization License Application
Event Permit Application 

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:

  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Arborist
  • Auctioneer
  • Bulk Storage of Hazardous Materials & Liquids
  • Cabaret
  • Food Truck Vendor & Mobile Food Units
  • Fortunetellers
  • Frozen Dessert Vendor
  • House Mover
  • Pawn Shop
  • Pesticide Applicator
  • Pet Shop, Kennel, Groomer or Pet Boarder
  • Tobacco Product Sales
  • Vehicles for Hire – Taxi, Limousine, etc. Businesses & Drivers
  • Waste Hauler

Information regarding a General Contractor / Construction License

The city of Williston does not require a license for general contractors, so there is no application available on our website; however, the state requires that businesses that perform construction must have a state issued general contractor license. You can find information regarding state licensing requirements at

If you are performing general contracting/construction services within the city limits, the city Building Department will require you to file a Certificate of Liability Insurance with their office. Any type of construction, remodeling, structural alterations, etc. in the city will require the appropriate building permits. Building permit applications are available through the Building Department, in addition to applications for the licensing of certain construction related professions for individuals, such as HVAC installers, plumbers, etc.  You can call the Building Department at 701 577-8115 for more information or stop by to visit their offices at 113 4th Street E on the 2nd floor.

Transient Merchant Licenses

Applications for these licenses can be found on our Business Licenses page.

  • Farmer & Flea Markets, Fairs, Carnivals, Circuses, etc.
  • Door-to-door Solicitors
  • Temporary Use Permits:  For temporary business on private property, for sales of merchandise from a vehicle, trailer, tent, or vacant store front. The Auditor's office does not issue this type of permit. Please contact the Planning & Zoning Department for applications and assistance.


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 or our Permits page:

Use our Event Permit application for private or public events if alcohol will be sold or served or if the event will have 100 or more participants.

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

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.

Community Development Services, located at 113 4th Street East:

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.

Health Agencies, located at 110 W Broadway, Suite 101:

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:\foodlodging\ .