How To Register A Company In Kenya 2024? :Complete Guide With Requirements

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Conquering Kenyan Bureaucracy: A Comprehensive Guide to Company Registration

Welcome, aspiring Kenyan entrepreneur! This guide will equip you with the knowledge and resources to navigate the process of registering your company in Kenya. From brainstorming a name to acquiring your official permits, we’ll break down each step into manageable pieces, ensuring a smooth and successful registration journey.

Why Register Your Company in Kenya?

Formalizing your business offers numerous benefits:

  • Enhanced Credibility: A registered company exudes professionalism and inspires trust with potential clients and partners.
  • Limited Liability: Company registration protects your personal assets from business debts and liabilities.
  • Access to Funding: Financial institutions are more likely to provide loans and credit facilities to registered companies.
  • Tax Advantages: Registered companies may benefit from specific tax incentives and deductions unavailable to informal businesses.
  • Compliance and Expansion: Registration allows you to comply with legal regulations and opens doors for future growth and expansion.

Step 1: Choosing Your Business Structure

The first step involves selecting the most suitable business structure for your venture. Here are three common options in Kenya:

  1. Sole Proprietorship: The simplest and most cost-effective option, suitable for small, owner-operated businesses. However, the owner bears unlimited personal liability for business debts.
  2. Partnership: Established by two or more individuals who share ownership, profits, and liabilities. Partnerships offer flexibility but require a solid partnership agreement outlining roles, responsibilities, and profit-sharing.
  3. Limited Liability Company (Ltd.): The most common choice for aspiring businesses offering greater legal protection. Limited liability shields owners from personal liability beyond their investment in the company.

Choosing the Right Structure:

Consider factors like the size of your business, number of owners, desired level of liability protection, and future growth plans. Consulting a legal or business advisor can help you make an informed decision.

Step 2: Naming Your Company

Kenya’s Business Registration Service (BRS) offers a convenient online name search tool ( Here are some tips for choosing a company name:

  • Availability: Ensure the name is not already registered by another company.
  • Clarity and Relevance: Choose a name that clearly represents your business and its products or services.
  • Memorability: Aim for a name that is easy to remember and pronounce.
  • Branding Potential: Select a name with potential for future brand development.
  • Length Restrictions: Company names in Kenya should generally not exceed 60 characters.

Pro Tip: Consider registering multiple potential names to increase your chances of securing a suitable one.

Step 3: Gearing Up for Online Registration

Before jumping into the online registration process, ensure you have the necessary documentation ready:

  • National ID Copies: For all directors, shareholders, and beneficial owners (individuals with significant control over the company).
  • Passport-Sized Photos: For all directors, shareholders, and beneficial owners.
  • Physical Address Proof: Documents like utility bills or a signed lease agreement for your registered business address.
  • KRA PIN Certificates: Kenya Revenue Authority Personal Identification Numbers for all directors and shareholders. You can register for a KRA PIN online if you haven’t already (
  • Proposed Company Name(s): At least three potential names for your company.
  • Business Objectives: A concise description of the core activities your company will undertake.

Essential Tools:

  • eCitizen Portal: The Kenyan government’s online portal for various government services, including company registration ( You will need to register for an eCitizen account if you haven’t already.
  • Business Registration Service (BRS) Website: Provides helpful information and resources related to company registration in Kenya (

Step 4: Navigating Online Registration

  1. Register Company Address: Provide the physical address of your registered business office.
  2. Share Information: Indicate the number of shares and their distribution among shareholders.
  3. Director and Shareholder Details: Enter details of all directors and shareholders, including names, ID numbers, and residential addresses.
  4. Review and Submit: Carefully review all entered information before submitting the online application.
  5. Payment: Pay the registration fee of KES 10,650 through the eCitizen portal using M-Pesa, credit card, or debit card.

Upon successful submission, you will receive a notification and a reference number for your application.

Step 5: Post-Registration Procedures

While online registration marks a significant step, additional procedures are required to finalize the process:

  1. Download and Print Registration Documents: Download and print essential documents like the Certificate of Incorporation (CR1) and the List of Directors and Shareholders (CR12).
  2. Sign the Printed Documents: All directors and shareholders must sign the printed documents.
  3. Physical Submission: Submit the signed documents, along with a certified copy of your Articles of Association, to the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary at the Supreme Court Building in Nairobi.

Processing Time: Allow approximately 1-2 business days for the BRS to finalize company registration after receiving your physical documents.

Step 6: Obtaining Additional Permits and Licenses

While company registration grants you legal status, additional permits and licenses might be necessary depending on your business operations and location. Here’s a brief overview:

  1. Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Registration: Register your company with the KRA for tax purposes. You will receive a Company PIN, which is crucial for tax filing and compliance.
  2. County Business Permit: Most counties in Kenya require businesses to obtain a business permit to operate within their jurisdiction. Contact your local county government office for specific requirements and application procedures.
  3. National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Registration: If you plan to employ staff, register your company with NHIF and NSSF to ensure your employees are covered by health insurance and social security benefits.


Pro Tip: Consider consulting a business advisor or lawyer to ensure you obtain all necessary permits and licenses specific to your industry and location.

Beyond Registration: Additional Considerations

  • Opening a Business Bank Account: A dedicated business bank account helps maintain clear separation between personal and business finances, facilitating professional financial management.
  • Company Website and Branding: Developing a professional website and establishing a strong brand identity bolsters your online presence and strengthens customer perception.
  • Accounting and Bookkeeping: Implementing a proper accounting system ensures accurate financial records and simplifies tax filing processes. Consider outsourcing bookkeeping services if needed.

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