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How to Register a Business in Kenya

To operate a business in Kenya, it is a legal requirement to register it. You can register a business online through the eCitizen portal. You also need to get the necessary business permits to operate a business in Kenya. In this article, I will take you through the process of registering a business in Kenya.

You can register the following types of business in Kenya.

  • A sole proprietorship
  • A private or public registered company
  • A partnership
  • A limited liability partnership
  • A branch office of a foreign company
  • A business society 

ecitizen Business Name Registration

The following is the eCitizen business registration process.

  • Log in to your eCitizen account Click “Business Registration Service”
  • Then click on “Make Application” You will be redirected to a new page
  • Click Business “Name Registration”
  • Select the type of business you want to register and your preferred business name. It takes a day to process a business name. Keep checking your eCitizen account since that’s where you will be notified if the business name was approved.
  • Once your proposed business name has been approved, you can go ahead to register your business

Read more: Types of business permits you need in Kenya. 

1. How to Register a Sole Proprietorship in Kenya

A sole proprietorship is a business formed by one person. You need the following document when registering a sole proprietorship in Kenya.

  • Full names of the sole proprietor
  • 2 passport photos of the sole proprietor
  • Copy of PIN certificate of the sole proprietor
  • Copy of ID of the sole proprietor
  • Physical address of the sole proprietorship

Follow these steps to register a sole proprietorship in Kenya.

1. Name search. You need to do a search of the proposed business names to know if they are available for registration. If the business name is available, you need to make an application for a business name reservation. It costs Ksh 150 to carry out a name search.

2. Application for registration. Now you need to register your business name. To do so, you need to fill BN2 form. The sole proprietor signs it and then lodges it with the registrar of companies upon payment of application fees.  The application for registration of a sole proprietorship costs Ksh 850.

3. Issuance of certificate. The certificate of registration will be processed and issued to the sole proprietor.

Read also: How to start an online business in Kenya. 

2. How to Register a Company in Kenya

You can register your business online through the eCitizen portal. Through the eCitizen portal, you can do a name search with the Registrar of companies. If the business name is available, you can register it conveniently. You will need to create an eCitizen account if you don't have one yet.

To register on the eCitizen portal, you need to have a valid email address and ID. Once you have registered, then log in and you will see different government agencies. Click Business Registration Service.

Read also: How to apply for copyright in Kenya. 

Business Name Registration

The first step when registering a business is to register a business name. You will need to do a name search before registering it. For a single business name search in Kenya, you need to pay a fee of Ksh 150.  You can make the payment using M-Pesa or debit card.

You will be redirected to a page where you can register your business name. Enter your preferred business name and other details. Once you are done, check after two days and the business name search results will be available in the portal. If the business name has been approved, you can go ahead and register it.

To register a business in Kenya, you need to describe the nature and activities of your business. Indicate the business name and the address of the company. You must also provide full details of the proprietors and their addresses. National IDs or passports and passport-sized photos of the proprietors, directors and shareholders must also be submitted. You need to pay Ksh 800 for registration and Ksh 50 as a convenience fee.

Read more: How to file tax returns in Kenya. 

Business Registration Fees in Kenya

To register a company in Kenya, you need to pay a fee of Ksh 10,650. You can do the registration online and download the business certificate from the eCitizen portal when it is available.

To register a sole proprietorship or a partnership business, you need to pay a fee of Ksh 1,000. The registration process takes one week. The certificate is available on the eCitizen portal for download a week after registration.   

Documents to Present when Registering a Company

Documents to present when registering a business vary depending on the type of business you are registering. The following are the most common documents you need to submit when registering a company in Kenya.

1. Memorandum of association. It highlights the objectives of the company in terms of its structure, regulations, and share capital. It regulates how the company relates to external stakeholders. 

2. Articles of association. This document contains the rules and regulations of the company. It is crucial in managing the internal affairs of the company.

3. Form CR1. This form provides details about the company's share capital, number and class of shares. It contains the details of the directors, secretary and company's signatories.

4. Form CR2. This form has details of the subscribers' names and the value, number, and rights of the nominal shares owned by each subscriber.

5. Form CR8. This form provides details about the physical address of all directors of the company. It also contains the company's name and type, the liability of members and the company's share capital.

6. Form CR14. This form is essential during the whole registration process and it reserves a company's business name.

7. Tax Pin certificates. You need to get a copy of the tax PINs of the shareholders and directors of the company.

8. ID or passports of the directors. You must scan both sides of an ID or passport. Make sure that if it is an ID, all details are visible. 

9. Passport size photos. You need to present a passport-sized photo of the directors and shareholders taken less than 6 months ago. 

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