Difference Between Permits and Licenses (With Table)

Permits and Licenses are the common terms use worldwide and eventually related with seeking permission. In many countries, it is essential to issue permits and licenses to maintain the legal rules and regulations. The invasion activity can easily be monitored by using these two terms.

Permits vs Licenses

The difference between permits and licenses is that permits are the official or legal document that is issued to administer the safety issues. On the other hand, licenses represent the permission of doing or using something, and it is issued more general as compared to permits.

Permits are the legal and official document released or issued by the authority as approval to proceed with some activity or business entity. It simply represents the permission. For instance, those have a pest control business should need a permit to store chemical and other hazardous liquid.

Licenses represent the legality of doing or using something. It acts as a legal contract with terms and conditions that allow someone to carry out some action or use a service. License is usually issued to those people or things that are engaged in some professional services and may harm other individuals. They are mainly issued to regulate several activities.

Comparison Table Between Permits and Licenses

Parameters of ComparisonPermitsLicenses
ValidationPermits are temporary and restrictive in nature.Licenses are permanent.
RestrictionsIt has comparatively more restrictions than the license.It has few or limited restrictions.
InspectionsIt is issued for safety measures, and regular inspection is required.The license does not require regular inspections.
AppearanceIt is similar to a sticker, and the appearance is less permanent.The appearance of a license is more permanent, mostly in a card format.
ExamplePermit to store chemicals or hazardous liquid, to a carry gun, etc. Business license, software license, driver license, etc.

What are Permits?

A Permit is referred to as the legal document or the official permission required to proceed with some activity. It is mostly issued to administer the safety issues and sometimes inspection is also required before issuing or granting the permit. For instance, a permit is required to carry a gun, store chemicals (if you have a business-related chemical or other hazardous liquid).

There are various types of permits that are issued for various purposes. Every business type has its respective permit with different terms and conditions. The procedure of issuing the permit may vary from one country to another. Local business permit, work permit, Zoning permit, these are the examples of permits which are approved or issued to regulate various activities.

The work permit is a wide term that is used to approve the jobs which are associated with some serious risks to the workers. This type of permit is a drafted document that mentions the work which has to be done, the risk involved, and the necessary precautions that must be taken for the safety and welfare of the workers.

What are Licenses?

A License is a legally binding document or contract that allows someone to carry out some action or use a service. In other words, a license is permitting someone to do or utilize something. For example, a license is required to sell alcoholic beverages. It is also issued to those individuals who are engaged in some professions that may affect or harm other individuals. Such professions include nursing, pharmacy, psychology, medicine, law, etc.

Licenses are categorized into various types like business license, driving license, professional service license, software license, etc. It is generally issued to the general public by various authorized departments. The terms and conditions are mentioned or attached with the issue of license and must be followed by the license holder. The license is issued in a card form and considered to have a more permanent appearance.

Main Differences Between Permits and Licenses

  1. The permits and licenses are issued by various relevant authorities to grant permission for various activities to perform some action or use something. Permits are used as a legal and official document that a person received to proceed with an activity or business. It is also required by transport industries to deal or transport various goods. On the other hand, a License is a legally binding document that mentions specific terms and conditions. An individual who has a license can do an action or use a service until they agree on the mentioned terms.
  2. The Permit is provided to administer the welfare of the public by various authorities and as a result, regular verification and inspection is being done by relevant departments. On the contrary, the license does not require regular inspections, it may be done while issuing the license.
  3. The permits and licenses both are terminated when the rules are violated. In the validation aspect, permits are temporary and expired after a fixed period. On the contrary, the license is permanent. The license can also set aside or canceled if it is misused.
  4. The permits have more restrictions as compared to the license. For instance, work permits have the description of several aspects, from starting a particular activity to the availability of supervisions, everything is mentioned in the terms and conditions. On the contrary, licenses do not have many restrictions.
  5. If the appearance is concerned, permits can be similar to a sticker which act as an authorized stamp but on the other hand, the license is a well made card that is issued to the individual and have a more permanent appearance than permits.


Permits and licenses, both are issued by the authorities with some mentioned terms and conditions that an individual is a bind to follow. If a person violates the regulations then their permits or license is terminated. Permits are issued for safety concern and hence regular inspection is required to make sure that all the rules and regulations should be followed.

On the other hand, the license is usually given to the person who is into some profession that may cause harm to others. It is also issued to the business and to proceed with something. Software license, driver’s license are few examples. In a nutshell, we can conclude that both of these terms play a significant role in regulating various activities and businesses.


  1. https://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-ZKRK200406011.htm
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=bKgPqhDhQkcC&oi=fnd&pg=PP9&dq=difference+between+permit+and+license&ots=R3fxgQ9ITS&sig=WfCDQQbSlTW_jzuC7RvTKzx8h8E

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