Business registration requirements in Kenya

Business registration procedures in Kenya


 Business registration in Kenya is an entity under the Registrar of Companies. The body is in charge of all registrations of a business or a company in Kenya. Their primary role is to ensure that businesses and companies in Kenya are issued all necessary certificates. However, the actual process of name searches and registration is via an online system, eCitizen. All registered companies in Kenya go through a similar registration process, although the costs and requirements vary. Companies that have already been incorporated outside Kenya can register as a branch or subsidiary of a foreign corporation. They will receive a certificate of compliance as proof that all the conditions have been met.

The eCitizen platform - Creating an account eCitizen is an online platform created to ease access to various government services in Kenya, including the registration of businesses and companies. To register with eCitizen, follow the following steps:

  1. Ensure that you have a valid email address Search for

  2. Fill in your full names as they appear on your national ID or passport

  3. Enter your ID number

  4. Enter your email address and phone number

  5. Activate your eCitizen account by verifying the link sent to your email address

  6. Create a password for your eCitizen account services

 A confirmation SMS will be sent to your phone confirming the activation of your account. The eCitizen portal dashboard has five agencies namely: Ministry of Land, Housing & Urban Development Department of Immigration

Conducting an online name search in Kenya requires access to Kenya’s eCitizen website. It is, therefore, mandatory to create an eCitizen account to continue with business name searches in Kenya. For company registry services, one has to apply through the Office of Attorney General on the eCitizen portal. Here's how to search for a business name:

  1. Log into the eCitizen portal Click on the "Office of The Attorney General and Department of Justice"

  2. Click on "Make Application"

  3. Click on the "Name Search- Company/ Business"

  4. Read and understand the instructions provided before applying

  5. Click on the "Apply Now" button

  6. Choose the business entity

  7.  Enter your proposed identity(the name you want to search)

  8. Provide a short description of your entity

  9. Review the application before submitting the details

  10. Submit your application

  11. Choose your preferred payment method from the list provided to complete your request-search fee is Ksh.150

To register a business name in Kenya, you need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Conduct a name search through the Registrar of Companies and wait for approval of the proposed identity

  2.  Describe the nature and activities of the proposed entity

  3. Provide the full identities of all the proprietors

  4.  Indicate the postal address for the proposed name

  5. Indicate the physical address of the proposed entity- include the plot number, the town and the county Presentation of copies of the national IDs or Passports of all partners or proprietors

  6. Present passport photos of the partners as well as copies of their PIN Certificate Payment of Ksh. 850 for company registration (Ksh. 800 for registration and Ksh. 50 as convenience fee)

However, business registration can also be done online without having to make queues at the registration office. The steps to register a business online are as such:

Step 1 - Log into your eCitizen portal Go to the eCitizen portal and key in your username/email and password.

Step 2 - Submit your business name Submit your name through the Office of The Attorney General and Department of Justice. Click on business registration or name search. Since you will have completed the search, you will only click Continue, then review and submit your entry. A search letter and Ksh. 850 invoice will be created.

Step 3 - Payment procedure The step involves making payments for the application. The portal gives a procedure of payment via Mpesa.

Step 4 - Get confirmation of name registration After receiving a notification of payment confirmation, you can click on the complete button. Your application will be queued, and you will get the feedback on whether yours is among the registered companies in Kenya within 1-2 working days.