How to Register a company in Kenya

ByTristram Ouma

Jun 29, 2023
How to Register a company in Kenya

Last updated on March 2nd, 2024 at 05:36 pm

So you have a brilliant business idea and are ready to make it official by registering a company in Kenya. Awesome, you’ve come to the right place. Registering a business may seem complicated, but we’re going to walk you through the process step-by-step. By the end, you’ll have a registered company and be ready to take the Kenyan business world by storm.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you meet the minimum requirements to register a business in Kenya. This includes being over 18 years old, having the necessary capital to start your business, and not being an undischarged bankrupt. Once you’ve checked those boxes, it’s time to choose a unique business name and structure. The typical options are sole proprietorship, partnership or limited company. Each has its pros and cons, so think carefully about what suits your needs.

Next up, prepare the necessary paperwork, including your business plan, proof of identity, and the registration forms. You’ll submit these with the registration fees to the relevant government agency. Within 30 days, your business should be officially registered. Congratulations, you did it! Now the real work begins – growing your new Kenyan company into the success you know it can be. If you follow the key steps, stay determined and never stop innovating, the sky’s the limit.

Benefits of Registering a Company in Kenya

Registering your company in Kenya comes with a lot of benefits. For starters, it gives your business a legal identity and status. This means you can open a business bank account, take out loans, and sign contracts.

Another big plus is that you’ll gain credibility with customers and partners. An officially registered company appears more professional and trustworthy. This can help you attract investors and win new clients.

Registering also provides certain legal protections. As a registered entity, your personal assets are shielded in the event of business debts or lawsuits. Your intellectual property, like business names and logos, is protected under law.

On a practical level, registering allows you to hire employees and provides access to business permits and licenses. You’ll need these to operate and comply with regulations. Registering even opens you up to certain tax incentives and exemptions offered to registered businesses.

The process of registering a company in Kenya may seem daunting, but the benefits are well worth the effort. Following the step-by-step process, you’ll have an officially registered company in no time. And you’ll have the exciting opportunity to build something that’s all your own!

How to Register a Company in Kenya

Registering a company in Kenya is actually pretty straightforward if you follow the necessary steps.

Step 1: Name search and reservation

First, you’ll need to search for an available business name that is unique and not already taken. Check the Companies Registry website to make sure your name of choice isn’t registered yet. Once you find an available name, reserve it right away to claim it.

Step 2: Obtain a Certificate of Incorporation

Next, obtain a Certificate of Incorporation by submitting the necessary documents like your business name reservation, a statement of the company’s nominal capital, and a declaration of compliance. You’ll have to pay a small registration fee for this.

Step 3: Obtain an Investment License

Then, you must obtain an Investment License from the Kenya Investment Authority to authorize foreign investment in your company, if applicable. For small local businesses, this may not be required.

Step 4: Obtain a Tax Identification Number

Don’t forget to get your Tax Payer Identification Number or PIN which is issued by the Kenya Revenue Authority. Your company will need this to operate bank accounts, file tax returns, and conduct other business.

Finally, officially register with the Registrar of Companies. Submit your Certificate of Incorporation, Investment License (if needed), PIN certificate, and pay the registration fees. Once the Registrar approves your application, your company will be legally registered to conduct business in Kenya.

Following these necessary steps carefully and thoroughly will ensure your new company is properly registered in Kenya. While the process can take some time, having everything in order from the start will set you up for success. With hard work and perseverance, you’ll be on your way to building a thriving business in no time!

Registering a Business Name in Kenya

Registering a business name is one of the first steps to formally starting a company in Kenya. To legally operate, you’ll need to register your business name with the Registrar of Companies.

Applying for Name Search and Reservation

The initial step is conducting a name search to ensure your chosen business name isn’t already taken. You can do this on the eCitizen website or in person at any Huduma Center countrywide. There is a small fee for the name search. If the name is available, you can reserve it for up to 30 days.

Submitting Registration Documents

To officially register your business name, you’ll need to submit:

  • A completed Form BN1 (Application for Reservation and Registration of Name)
  • Copies of the national ID or passport for all company directors
  • A copy of a bank deposit slip for the registration fees (currently around Ksh2,500)
  • A copy of the Name Reservation receipt (if reserving the name in advance)

You can submit the documents in person at the Registrar of Companies office in Nairobi or mail them. Processing can take 7-14 days.

Issuing the Registration Certificate

Once your application is approved, the Registrar will issue a Business Registration Certificate. This certificate acts as proof that your business name is now registered and legally recognized in Kenya. With this certificate, you can open a business bank account, apply for licenses or permits, register for taxes, and conduct other business activities using your registered company name.

Registering a business name is a crucial first step for any new company in Kenya. By following the proper procedures and submitting the required documentation, you’ll have your business legally set up and ready to operate in no time. Be sure to also register as a business entity like a sole proprietorship, partnership or limited company to establish your company structure.

Requirements to Register a Company in Kenya

To register your company in Kenya, there are a few requirements you’ll need to fulfill.

Business name

First, you’ll need to choose a unique name for your business that is not already registered. Conduct a business name search to ensure the name is available. You’ll want a name that is memorable, reflects your brand, and incorporates keywords related to your industry.

Business owners and directors

You must provide personal details of all business owners and directors, including a copy of your national ID or passport. Directors are responsible for overseeing company operations, so choose them wisely.

Physical address

Your company registration requires a physical address for your business premises. This cannot be a P.O. box. The address must be a real location where you conduct business activities.

Professional certificates

Some industries require professional certification or licensing to operate. Make sure you have the proper credentials for your business and include copies with your registration.

Company documents

You will need to prepare memorandum and articles of association, which outline your company’s rules and objectives. These must be signed by business owners and directors.

Registration fees

Fees for registering a company in Kenya typically range from Ksh 4,000 to Ksh 200,000 depending on the company type. The fees can be paid via bank transfer, credit/debit card, mobile money transfer, or cheque.

Following these key steps and requirements carefully will ensure the successful registration of your company in Kenya. Conducting thorough research, having the proper documentation in order, and paying the necessary registration fees on time will get your business up and running in no time. The rewards of proper registration are access to financing, ability to hire employees, and establishing credibility with customers.

Cost breakdown for registering a company in Kenya

Registering a company in Kenya will cost you around Ksh 50,000 to Ksh 60,000 depending on the type of company you want to register. The fees are paid to the Registrar of Companies and cover various legal and registration requirements.

Company registration fees

To register a private company limited by shares (LTD) you will pay:

  • Ksh 600 for name search and reservation
  • Ksh 17,500 for registration fees
  • Ksh 6,000 for stamp duty
  • Ksh 1,500 for notice of registered address
  • Ksh 3,000 for certificate of incorporation

For a partnership or sole proprietorship, the fees are slightly lower at around Ksh 8,000 to Ksh 10,000. These fees cover the basic legal and registration requirements to formalize your business.

Post-registration costs

Even after paying the registration fees, there are other mandatory annual costs you will incur to keep your company compliant:

  • Ksh 5,000 for an annual return filing
  • Ksh 10,000 as renewal fee for name reservation
  • Ksh 12,000 for audited financial statements (if applicable)
  • Possible taxes such as VAT, income tax, payroll tax depending on your business.

You may also choose to pay for optional costs like business licenses or permits, legal services, company seal, share certificates, etc. So make sure you budget at least Ksh 50,000 to Ksh 100,000 for the first year of operating your company.

While the fees may seem high, formally registering your company has significant benefits. It gives you a legal identity, access to funding and investment, and the ability to open business bank accounts. With some financial planning, you can cover the costs of registration and build a successful company in Kenya.

FAQs: How to Register a Company in Kenya

How much does it cost to register a company in Kenya?

Registering a company in Kenya is affordable and straightforward. The fees for registering a private company limited by shares (the most common type) are:

  • Company name search: Ksh 500
  • Filing for name reservation: Ksh 1,000
  • Preparation of incorporation documents: Ksh 5,000-10,000 by a legal firm
  • Stamp duty: Ksh 2,000
  • Filing fees: Ksh 10,000

The entire process should cost between Ksh 20,000 to Ksh 30,000 depending on whether you do it yourself or hire a legal firm to help you.

How long does the registration process take?

The registration process in Kenya typically takes 4 to 6 weeks from start to finish. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Conduct a company name search to ensure the desired name is available. This takes 1-2 days.
  2. Reserve the company name for 30 days. This takes 3-5 days.
  3. Prepare incorporation documents (Memorandum and Articles of Association). This takes 3-7 days.
  4. Submit documents to the Registrar of Companies and pay filing fees. The Registrar reviews the documents and registers the company. This takes around 4 weeks.

Once registered, the company must hold its first board meeting within 18 months to fully activate its registration. At this meeting, important resolutions are passed regarding company operations and directors.

The process can potentially be completed in 3-4 weeks if you submit documents in person and follow up diligently. The Registrar has also launched an online self-service portal to expedite registration. Using the portal, you can submit registration documents and monitor the progress of your application online.

Overall, registering a company in Kenya is quite straightforward if you are familiar with the requirements and steps. But for a hassle-free experience, you may want to hire a legal firm to guide you through the process. They can also help ensure all documentation is properly prepared to avoid unnecessary delays.


So there you have it, the process for registering your company in Kenya. While it may seem complicated with many steps, following the guidelines carefully will help ensure your business is set up properly. The key is making sure you have all the necessary documents in order and submitting complete information. If you take it step by step, you’ll be up and running in no time. Starting a business is challenging enough, so do yourself a favor and avoid future headaches by registering correctly from the beginning. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to open your doors and build something great. Now get out there, finalize those papers, and make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality! The opportunities await.