Difference Between Permits and Licenses

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: August 17, 2022


Difference Between Permits and Licenses Difference Between Permits and Licenses

Why read @ Diffzy

Our articles are well-researched

We make unbiased comparisons

Our content is free to access

We are a one-stop platform for finding differences and comparisons

We compare similar terms in both tabular forms as well as in points


In most nations and jurisdictions, licenses and permits are often used. Employees and other workers typically obtain permits to work in a specific industry. On the other hand, licenses are used to approve the beginning of commercial operations. An important tool for assisting states in regulating intrusive goods and services is granting permissions and licenses. These two can be used to actually see who has access to such invasive activities and how. The importation, procession, transportation, and release of products and services are all governed by licenses and permits in each state.

Each state in the US makes its driving regulations and legislation. However, you need a driver's license in every state to operate a car on public roads. In contrast to a license, a permit limits a person's ability to drive on public roadways.

In the United States, there are different types of driver's licenses available. Examples include a Class C driver's license, which is a permit to operate a regular car, a motorcycle license, and a CDL. In addition, there are many CDL versions for operating various trucks, and endorsements are available that let drivers operate school buses, commercial buses, or trucks transporting particular types of freight. Although motorcycle and automotive licensing requirements vary from state to state, CDL license requirements are the same in all 50 states.

Each state also has unique permissions requirements, and several offer various levels of permits with varied limitations (i.e., presence of a licensed passenger in the front passenger seat, hours the Permit allows driving, etc.). The Driver's Manual contains all pertinent information on a driver's license and Permit, which can be downloaded from your state's official DMV website. This is the best way to discover your state's unique rules surrounding licenses and permits.

Permits vs. Licenses

The words "permit" and "license" are frequently used in everyday speech. Workers receive permits or permission to work in a sector or abroad, while many firms need licenses from licensing authorities to begin operations. In the past, India's bureaucracy was notorious for its "License and Permit Raj," which imposed red tape and fictitious barriers on those who needed licenses and permits. However, contrary to popular belief, the two terms are not interchangeable, and as a result, they cannot and should not be used in the same sentence. This essay aims to emphasize the distinctions between a license and a permit.

Permits are the official or legal documents issued to administer the safety issues, which is the primary distinction between permits and licenses. Contrarily, licenses are given more generally than permits and represent authority to do or use something.

Permits are the legally binding documents that an authority releases or issues as authorization to carry out a specific activity or conduct business. It merely symbolizes authorization. For instance, a permit is required to keep chemicals and other dangerous liquids for those who operate a pest management firm.

Licenses serve as legal proof that something can be done or used. It is a legally binding agreement containing terms and requirements that permit someone to perform an action or utilize a service. A license is typically granted to individuals or entities performing certain professional services that have the potential to cause harm to others. They are mostly used to control a variety of activities.

Difference Between Permits and Licenses in Tabular Form

Table: Permits vs. Licenses
Parameters of Comparison
Permits are temporary and have limitations.
Licenses are permanent.
Compared to the license, it contains greater restrictions.
It has few or limited restrictions.
It is given out as a safety measure and needs to be inspected frequently.
Regular inspections are not necessary for the license.
It has a less lasting appearance than a sticker and is comparable.
A license typically appears in card format, which is more durable.
Permission to carry a firearm, store dangerous materials, or store chemicals.
Business license, software license, driver's license, etc.

What are Permits?

The legal document or official authorization needed to carry out some action is a permit. It is typically issued to handle safety-related matters, and occasionally an inspection is also necessary before issuing or granting the Permit. For instance, a permit is necessary to keep chemicals and carry a gun (if you have a business-related chemical or other hazardous liquid).

Different kinds of permissions are issued for different objectives. Every sort of business has unique permission with specific terms and limitations. From one country to the next, the permit-issuing process could be different. Some examples of permissions approved or provided to control various activities are local business permits, work permits, and zoning permits.

The phrase "work permit" is used broadly to describe the authorization of jobs that pose significant dangers to the workers. This kind of Permit is a document that details the job that must be done, the risk involved, and the essential safety and welfare procedures to be taken.

A permit is a license in a dictionary and is the permission or official authorization to carry out a specific activity. Additionally, it is a term that designates the legal document a person must obtain before beginning a specific company or activity. For example, a motorbike permit is a restricted license and calls for the rider always to have an older person seat behind him. The same person with a permit becomes qualified to get a license after 18. Even if a person has a license to operate a pest treatment service, he may still need to obtain licenses to store and use specific chemicals on his property.

Trucks' operators must get permission to load and transport specific items and go beyond certain restrictions.

What is a License?

A license is a contract or legal document that binds a person to perform an action or utilize a service. In other words, a license enables someone to perform an action or use a resource. For instance, selling alcoholic beverages calls for a license. It is also given to people working in occupations that could injure or negatively impact others. Examples include nursing, pharmacy, psychology, medicine, law, and other professions.

Different sorts of licenses, such as company licenses, driver's licenses, professional service licenses, and software licenses, are grouped. Generally, it is distributed to the general public via several approved departments. The license holder must abide by the terms and restrictions stated or connected to the license when it is issued. The license is presented on a card and is seen as having a more substantial appearance.

A driver's license makes it simple to comprehend what a license means. To be permitted to operate a motor vehicle on public roads, we must obtain a driver's license. The traffic officials gave us this license. License, then, is a noun that refers to the paper document bearing an official seal that grants authorization to operate a vehicle on the road. To start a certain type of business in a state within the nation, an aspiring business person must acquire the appropriate business licenses.

A business license is essential because it gives authorization and enables the government or authorities to monitor the enterprise and the businessman through periodic regulation and taxes. There are numerous varieties of licenses. The goal of a license, however, is always to control an activity while allowing an individual to do something.

Main Differences Between Permits and Licenses in Points

Despite the frequent confusion between the phrases "permit" and "license," there are some significant differences between the two. A permit is typically necessary when undertaking work that could jeopardize the public's safety, including electrical or plumbing work. A license is often required when operating a business or exercising a profession governed by the state, such as cosmetology or real estate. In all situations, obtaining a permit or license typically entails filling out an application, passing a test, and making a payment. However, the specifications can differ greatly between states. For instance, while a degree from an approved cosmetology school is necessary for certain areas, others only require completing a training program and passing a test to receive a cosmetology license. As a result, before acquiring a permit or license, it's crucial to investigate the particular regulations for your state. Some of the major differences between permits and licenses are listed below.

  • Various competent authorities issue licenses and permits to give authority to various activities to conduct or utilize something. Permits serve as a formal, legal document granting permission to carry out an activity or do business. Dealing with or transporting various items is also necessary for the transport sectors. A License is a contractual contract with particular terms and restrictions. A person with a license may engage in an activity or use a service until they consent to the terms indicated.
  • The Permit is given by various authorities to manage the public's welfare, and as a result, pertinent departments conduct routine verification and inspection. Instead, the license may be inspected as part of the licensing process rather than regularly.
  • When the rules are broken, both permits and licenses are revoked. Permits are temporary and they will expire after a set amount of time in the validation component. The license, on the other hand, is perpetual. If the license is utilized improperly, it may be revoked or set aside.
  • The license is a well-made card granted to the individual and has a more permanent appearance than permits. In terms of appearance, permits can be similar to stickers that serve as authorized stamps.
  • Compared to a license, a permit has greater restrictions. For instance, the terms and conditions of work permits include descriptions of various features, ranging from the beginning of a certain activity to the availability of supervision. Licenses, on the other hand, don't have a lot of limitations.
  • Permits are typically transitory, whereas licenses are typically permanent. For instance, in most places, driving permits are only good for two years, while licenses are perpetual, but they are also subject to revocation in the event of misuse.
  • Licenses contain few, if any, restrictions. Contrarily, there are numerous restrictions on permissions. The amount of time, who may perform an activity, where it may be performed, and whether supervision is available are all restricted by permits. However, there are usually no limits on the majority of activities that are done under license. For instance, as long as a driver stays inside the permitted area, there are no constraints on where, with whom, or when they can drive.
  • Regular safety regulatory inspections by the appropriate authorities are required for permits. On the other hand, licenses might need an inspection, although not as frequently.


Government-issued permits and licenses serve quite different functions and are two very different types of paperwork. A license is a formal document that grants someone the right to do something, whereas a permit is a permission to do something.

  • Licenses are more difficult to obtain than permits, and permits frequently don't call for any examination or certification. For instance, you won't need a license from the state board of medicine to begin practicing medicine; nevertheless, you could need a building permit from your local municipality in order to build a new structure.
  • Permits are simpler to get than licenses, which typically need some testing or qualification. To continue with our prior example, you would require a state-issued medical license.

Both licenses and permits are issued by the government with certain terms and restrictions that the recipient is required to abide by. A person's permits or license are revoked if they violate the rules. Since permits are given with safety in mind, it is necessary to regularly examine to make sure that all rules are being properly followed.

On the other side, a license is typically granted to someone who practices a profession that could be harmful to others. It is also given to the company in order to move forward with something. Examples include a driver's license and a software license. In summary, we can say that both of these concepts have a big impact on how different activities and businesses are regulated.



Cite this article

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:



MLA Style Citation

"Difference Between Permits and Licenses." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 20 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-permits-and-licenses-915>.

Edited by

Share this article