Sex establishment licence

Apply for, renew, transfer or vary a licence to run a sex establishment

You may need a licence to run a sex establishment, including:

  • sex shops
  • sex cinemas that primarily show R18-certificate films to the public
  • sexual entertainment venues where live performances or live displays of nudity are provided

You can use the below application form to apply for a new licence or renew, transfer or vary an existing licence.

Apply for a sex establishment licence (PDF)

Send your completed application form to and call customer services on 01923 776611 to pay the relevant fee.

After submitting your application, you must display a notice (PDF) on the outside of or near the premises for 21 days and publish a notice in a local newspaper.

You will need to renew your licence every year.

It is an offence to run a sex shop or cinema without a licence or break the conditions of an existing licence, and you could be fined up to £20,000.


To hold a licence, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • ensure that no one under 18 works at or visits your premises
  • not be disqualified from holding a licence
  • have been resident in the UK for at least six months immediately before the application or, if applying as a business or other legal entity, be incorporated in the UK
  • have not been refused a licence or renewal for the premises in question in the last 12 months, unless the decision was later reversed
  • follow the conditions of your licence – for example, restrictions on opening hours, shop displays, advertisements and how visible the interior of your shop is from outside