Coronavirus COVID-19: Latest updates

Many council services are reduced or disrupted. Check our coronavirus page for the most up-to-date information. Read the latest and sign up for updates.

Apply for an animal licence

If you wish to apply, change or renew an animal activity licence you must meet the licensing standards and conditions.

Duration of a licence

The licence runs for one, two, or three years from the date of issue.

You will receive a one to five-star rating on your licence, with a five-star rating the highest possible award. The rating we give you is an accurate reflection of the level of risk of your business, and the animal welfare standards you adopt.

What is the star rating system?

The star rating depends on a risk assessment process by the Council and the Corporation of London veterinary services, our approved supplier, to carry out an inspection that includes:

  • Assessment of the operator’s understanding of applicable animal welfare standards
  • Assessment of the hazards and risks for the licensable activity
  • Assessment of animal welfare management procedures 
  • Compliance history check of existing operators.

We will separately do a “fit and proper person” check on the licence applicant undertaken in conjunction with the police licensing team.

Applying for a licence

We aim to write to you at least three months before your licence expires, to remind you to renew it. You must apply for a renewal licence at least 10 weeks before the current licence expires, if you wish to continue to operate without a break.

To apply for a “Dangerous, wild or exotic animal” licence, please contact the Licensing Team at or call 020 8921 8018 and ask to speak to a licensing officer. For all other animal licences you can apply online. Please note that you will need to register an account first.

Apply Online

Paying for a licence

We split the licence fee into administration costs and enforcement costs. Payment is by credit or debit card.

The initial payment, received at the time of your application, covers the administration costs. After we process your application, we will contact you to arrange for the outstanding amount giving you 28 days to make payment. After we receive payment, we will issue the licence.

Should the second payment not be made following reminders the licence application will be rejected, and enforcement action may be considered. In such circumstances the first part fee already paid is not refundable. 

Fines and penalties

It is your responsibility to ensure you have a current licence. If you operate without a licence, or fail to follow licensing conditions, you may face a fine and/or up to six months in prison.

Appeals and other procedures

If we refuse your application, we will notify you in writing stating the grounds for refusal. You will have 28 days following the notice of refusal to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Gov.UK website).

Once we grant a licence, there are separate procedures for varying, suspending or revoking it as well as requesting a review of your star rating. An additional fee to cover the total costs of this work is payable to the Council to carry out a re-inspection of the premises as shown below. We will provide this information on request.


Total Fee

Initial Payment

Final Payment

Fee for appealing award of star rating or re-evaluation of star rating during term of license




Further information

If you would like to discuss any aspect of animal licensing further, please contact us using the details below.