Sex establishment licence
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)
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