Registering a company in Kenya has become easy, unlike in the past, where the process was very complicated. The government has introduced the e-registration process that has streamlined the process. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a resident of a foreigner, but you can now register a company quickly. Here are the steps to take before you can start your business operation in Kenya.
1. Put Together your Documents and Create an eCitizen Account
eCitizen is an online portal that the government uses to offer citizens service. It is free to sign-up. All you need is to provide your Kenyan ID number, your name and your email address. Foreigners should provide their Foreigner Certificate number since they do not have Kenyan ID.
Go to the eCitizen website and then click on
Create Account. A company can have foreign directors, but at least one of the directors should be a Kenyan citizen so that they can access the eCitizen and submit the necessary forms.
2. Upload a Passport Size Photo of Yourself
The eCitizen account requires one to upload a passport photo size during the registration. Make sure that when taking the photo, look directly at the camera. In case you wear glasses or a hat, make sure to remove them. The picture should have been taken not more than six months before the registration. Then upload a digital copy of the photo to your eCitizen account to complete the registration process.
3. Visit the Business Registration Service
When you open the eCitizen website, there are other government services, such as the National Transport and Safety Authority. Navigate to the Business Registration Service. Click on it and it will redirect you to its page. You can only access this page once you have created an eCitizen account.
Filing Paperwork and Submitting a Business Application
First, you need to determine your business type. While you are on Business Registration Service, click on
Make Application. The following are the business types you can register in Kenya.
- Sole proprietorship
- Public or private registered companies
- Limited liability partnership
- Business societies
- A branch of a foreign-registered company
1. Provide the Name You Wish Your Business to Have
Type the name that you wish your business to have in the indicated field. If the name is similar or close to that of another registered company, the name will be rejected. You should expect feedback from the Registration Service within two business days. Once the name is accepted, the registrar of companies will reserve the name for 30 days. Meanwhile, you should complete the registration process.
2. Fee Payment for Business Search
The government requires one to pay a fee of Ksh 150 to do a business search. You pay online using a credit card. Provide your name and the credit card number in the fields provided and then make the payment. The eCitizen does not send email notifications. So, you need to be frequently checking if the application has been accepted.
3. Fill Company Registration Form CR1
You need to fill in the name of the company and the location of its head office. Then provide all the names of the company directors and shareholders of the company. Then scan copies of the national identities and passport photo sizes of the directors and the shareholders. Print them and then attach them to the CR1 form.
4. Fill in Form CR8
A business must provide the official addresses of the director(s), including those living abroad. Print a copy of form CR8. Then write the type of your business company, the legal names and the addresses of the company directors. The sign and indicate the date you signed.
5. State the Nominal Capital Holding for your Business on Form BN6
It is a requirement by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for any business to disclose its capital holdings. Fill in your name and the name of your business on form BN6. State the amount that your company holds in Kenyan Shillings. Also, state how the company shares are decided in case the company is publicly traded.
6. Pay the Stamp Duty
The amount of stamp duty payable depends on the capital your company holds. Once the name of the company is registered, the KRA will instruct you on the amount of duty to pay. You will need to provide Kenya ID numbers of all the employees and shareholders. Normally, the stamp duty is 1% of the company’s nominal holding. However, the minimum amount payable is Ksh 2,140. Besides, each document, such as the shareholder’s information, attracts a fee of Ksh 100. The process takes between 5 to 10 days.
7. Draft a Memorandum and Articles of Association
It is a requirement to file a memorandum and articles of association of your company. The two documents contain the objectives, rules and regulations of the company. An advocate or the company directors can draft the documents. The memorandum of association has details of the business’ name, its location, its objectives and the value of its shares.
The articles of association usually contain the rules and regulations of the business, members’ liability and the process of appointing and removing directors from office.
8. Download Business Certificate From the eCitizen Portal
The government takes about a week to review the documents that you sent. This includes registration with the KRA. Once the process is complete, the business certificate is posted on the eCitizen portal. You may need to wait for about 21 days to get the certificate. Once you have downloaded and printed the certificate, you can start your operations in Kenya.
Vincent is an experienced journalist from Kenya as well as a statistician. He has a degree in Applied Statistics with computing from the University of Eldoret.