Differences between Permits and Licenses

Permits and Licenses are standard terms that we use in our daily lives, but we still often get confused between the both. Even though licenses and permits look like they have the same meaning, they differ a lot.

Let’s take a situation. In many states, workers need permits to work in other countries, whereas licenses, on the other hand, are required to maintain legal rules and regulations such as to start something like a business, hospitals, etc. The government uses licenses and permits to regulate the importation, exportation, release of goods, etc. Government can monitor invasion activities easily by using permits and licenses.

What are Permits?

A "permit" is an official document that permits a person to carry out an activity. It is also a legal document that one must possess before starting any business or venture. For example, a person may have a driving permit, but only after attaining a certain age will they be given the license. Another instance is that a person might have a driver's license for driving but need a permit to start their transportation business. Various types are issued for multiple purposes − local business permits, work permits, zoning permits, and many more. For instance, a permit is required to carry a gun or a chemical store.

What are Licenses?

A "license" is a contract that legally binds and allows someone to own something, perform an action or provide service concerning terms and conditions. Some examples are business licenses etc. All the license rights have certain specifications and requirements that must be followed to preserve them.

With apparent cut differences between the terms, licenses and permits still have similarities. It's essential to understand similarities to bifurcate the differences. Some of the similarities are as follows −

  • Government authorities’ issue bothers

  • They can be withdrawn or terminated if the rules are violated

  • Both come with terms and conditions

Many people think permits and licenses are almost the same, whereas it is not the same. This article will help them understand the difference between these two.

Differences between Permits and Licenses

The following table highlights the major differences between Permits and Licenses −

Time validity
Most licenses are permanent.
Most permits are temporary or limited to a specific period frame.
Comparatively, licenses have lesser restrictions
Comparatively, permits have a lot of restriction
License have inspections only when required
Permits have widespread inspections
Mainly in the form of card
Mainly in the state of stickers or document
Driving license, business license, software license, medical license, cosmetology license, etc.
Chemicals or hazardous liquids, to carry a gun, work permits, medicine, etc.


Both permits and licenses are essential documents issued by the government authority. Permits require regular inspections, limited time, and more restrictions, whereas licenses are more or less permanent, with fewer restrictions and fewer inspections.

The purpose of both licenses and permits is to ensure rules and regulations are followed. They both come with specific terms and conditions for certain goods and services. If a person violates the laws, the permits and licenses are terminated. We can conclude that both times play a significant role in regulating various activities and businesses.

Updated on: 13-Jul-2022

3K+ Views

Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started