Previously, the process of formally registering a company in Kenya was the most difficult as it was lengthy, costly and tedious. For this reason, most young people that were just starting up in life would give up midway. This prompted the government to clarify the whole procedure of registration of companies. For once, the whole process now costs less, can be done in just three simple steps and the comfort of one’s house. This is because as from the 15th of October 2017, a person can perform a name search and register their company name completely online on the eCitizen platform and the registrar of companies will handle no manual registration of businesses. Additionally, it is now possible for any person to register a business on their own as opposed to the past.
How to Register a Company in Kenya
The Kenya Registrar of Companies is the only mandated body in charge of business registrations in the country currently. He/she controls the issuance of business certificates of compliance for all international companies, certificates of incorporation for all local firms and licenses of registering for any sole proprietorship or partnerships.
To open any business in Kenya, one must first register with the three primary government bodies including Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), National Social Security Fund (NSSF), and National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
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1. Business Name Reservation
Business Name Reservation is done on the eCitizen online platform. Once logged in, simply click on the Business Registration Service followed by Make Application. This will direct you to a new page where you will be required to tap the Business Name Registration. The next step here will be to choose the type of business you would like to open as well as its selected name. For example, if it’s a sole proprietorship you want to apply, pick Business Name registration and if it is a private Limited company, choose that option and so on.
Name searches are usually processed in 24 hours, and only one name can be submitted at a time. This is done on a daily basis from Monday to Friday between 8 am to 5 pm excluding public holidays and weekends.
During this process, you are required to have the following accompanying information as it will be expected to fill the business name registration.
- business name suggestions
- full names as in National ID
- postal address
- nature of the business to be registered
- plot no or land ref number
- your gender
- age in years
- street name
- name and residence location
Also, you will need two recent colored passport photographs and a copy of your valid KRA PIN Certificate in order to register a company online in Kenya.
Once your form submission is approved, the selected business name will be reserved for 30 days. Through this time you can pay and register the business name. In case you get a reject after submitting, then it means that the name you picked has already been used or is unfavorable to public policy; therefore, you will need to resubmit using a different business name. The whole process of name search is Ksh 150. This is the very first step to register a business.
Documents required to register a public or private company in Kenya
- A filled company registration form (the Cr1) downloaded from the ecitizen portal.
- A filled form of CR8 form – director’s residential address.
- Details of all the directors and shareholders and scanned copies of Passport(for foreigners)/ID’s and KRA pin certificate.
- Shareholding details.
- A statement of company nominal value – revenue stamped.
2. Business Name Registration
When your preferred business name reservation application is gone successfully, an email is sent to you approving booking and availability of the business name. Using the following simple steps, you can register a company name.
- The subsequent step you need is to sign back into eCitizen and picked business registration from the platform.
- Now Click on add business button and enter your confirmed business name to search for it.
- After you get it, click the name and click on the next button.
- You will then be required to select your role and fully pay for the registration.
- Now Download the invoice and the statement of particulars, sign it and return it to eCitizen. You will get a submission notification.
- The next step in this process to apply for a business name is to download and print your certificate of registration.
- Finally, submit the document to the Registrar of Companies department or office of a nearby Huduma Center for confirmation.
Various Registration Types
1. Fill company registration form CR1
2. Fill details of shareholders and directors then upload scanned copies of KRA PIN certificate, I.D. card/passport, and recent coloured passport photograph. Directors/shareholders have to be formally registered on the iTax platform.
3. Fill in the shareholding details.
4. Fill information of directors’ residential address – Form CR8.
5. Fill in the statement of nominal capital.
Also, note that you can now register a company with one person as both the director and shareholder.
Registration takes approximately a week, and the certificate will be ready on the eCitizen platform for download.
Partnership and Sole proprietorship
1. Fill BN2 form
2. Upload KRA PIN certificate, I.D. card/passport and recent coloured passport photographs of sole proprietor or partners as the case might be.
Registration takes a week, and certificate will be accessible on the eCitizen platform for download.
Register a business online by fully paying the following fees. Name search costs Ks. 150, business registration costs Ks 10,650 and Partnership, and Sole proprietorship cost Ks. 1,000.