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How to Register a Company in Kenya


Some years back, when people thought about how to register a company in Kenya, they imagined a very challenging process with many delays; furthermore, many people do not even understand how to go about the entire registration process. However, the Kenyan authorities have recently implemented straightforward procedures to register a company in Kenya.

Although the registration process has been made easy, if you do not have the necessary information you need to register a company in Kenya, the process will become confusing and hectic, so this guide aims to discuss how to register a company in Kenya in three steps. 

After going through this guide on how to register a company in Kenya, you should be able to successfully and independently register your own company.

How to Register a Company in Kenya – Step 1

This first step on how to register a company in Kenya discusses creating a profile in Kenya’s E-citizen portal.

Create a Kenya E-Citizen Profile

The first and most easy step to register a company in Kenya is to create an E-citizen profile. This is because the Kenyan authority carries out most of its official operations and business on the E-citizen online platform. So you need to go to the E-citizen portal and create a profile for yourself. This online portal is free to access and has a simple user interface, so the signing up process is quite straightforward. 

When creating a profile on the E-citizen portal, you will be required to input some information like your name, a valid email address, and the ID number from your valid Kenya ID card. However, if you are not a Kenyan citizen but you reside in Kenya, you can use your national certificate number instead of the Kenyan ID number.

It is also understandable that some of the company’s directors may reside abroad; however, at least one of the directors needs to be a citizen of the country so they can access the Kenyan citizen portal and fill out the necessary forms when the need arises.

Upload a Passport Photograph

After successfully filling your profile form on the Kenya E-Citizen portal, you will be required to upload a passport photograph of 5.5cm × 5.5cm before you can proceed to submit the form.

When taking the passport photograph, ensure to keep a natural look, do not wear hats or glasses and look directly into the camera. You need to upload the digital copy of the passport to the E-citizen portal. Also, remember that the passport you upload must not be more than six months old before the company registration. 

Business Registration 

Since you have created your profile, you now have full access to the E-citizen portal so go to the homepage; here, you can log in to three agencies. The three agencies you will see on the homepage are the “Business Registration Service”, the ”Department of Immigration Service”, and the “National Safety & Transport Authority.”

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Select the “Business Registration Service” option. It will automatically redirect you to the “Business Registration Service” home page, which is only accessible when you have previously created a profile.

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How to Register a Company in Kenya – Step 2

Still, on the procedures to register a company in Kenya, this second step talks about the paperwork you need to provide and the application forms you need to fill out during the registration process.

Choose a Business Type

On the “Business Registration Service” page, navigate to “Make Application” and click “Business Name Application.” Then select the category that your business falls into. There are six main business categories in Kenya: which are:

  • Sole proprietorships. 
  • Limited liability partnership.
  • Public or private Registered companies. 
  • Business societies.
  • Partnership. 
  • Branch offices of foreign-registered companies. 

Enter Your Company Name

After selecting your business type, input the name of your intended company in the indicated field. Ensure the name is not an already existing business name in Kenya, or it will be rejected. After submitting the name, you have to wait for a reply to know if the business name was accepted or rejected; it might take up to two working days to get this reply.

If the company’s name is accepted, you will be given 30days to complete the registration process. After this period of 30days, the name will no longer be reserved for you, meaning any other person can use the name for their business. 

Pay to File Your Business Name Search

The Kenyan authority will ask potential business owners to pay a certain amount of money to run their business name search. You can pay this money online with your credit card and begin the name search. Note that you will not receive any notification that the payment has been approved, so you should log in to your account frequently to confirm the approval. 

Fill Out Form CR1 

On the CR1 registration form, write down the name of the company and its business office address. You will also be required to fill in the names and personal data of the other shareholders and directors of your company, both those living in Kenya and those abroad.  

Also, scan a copy of the passport photographs and ID cards of all your company’s directors and shareholders, then print and attach them to the registration form. In addition, for directors that reside outside the country, you need to include a copy of their valid means of identification from the country they live in. 

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Fill Out Form CR8

Print out the registration form CR8 and fill out the company’s name and type of business. Also, on the registration form CR8, you need to fill out the addresses and legal names of the directors of your company as requested by the Kenyan government. Then finally, date the form and sign. 

Fill Out Form BN6

On this form, write down your own name and your business name. This form is a declaration of your business capital holdings as requested by the Kenyan government. 

After filling out your name and business name, write down in Kenyan shillings the amount of capital your business has. In addition, if your company is a public trade business, write down how many shareholders are affiliated with the company. 

Pay for Stamp Duty Charge

You must pay for stamp duty according to your business capital. As soon as your business name is registered, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) will contact you and give you instructions on paying for stamp duty. However, you should first note the following information regarding payment of stamp duty charges. 

  • You will be asked to submit the Kenyan ID number company’s shareholders and employees. 
  • You will be asked to pay a certain amount of money as the stamp duty charge, usually 1% of your company’s share capital, but based on the minimum share capital of Kes. 2,000, the minimum amount you are allowed to pay is Kes. 2,140.
  • As part of the stamp duty charges, you’ll also be asked to pay Kes. 100 for each document you have provided for them to be approved by KRA.
  • You will be given 5 to 10 days to send all the required information and pay the duty charges. 

How to Register a Company in Kenya – Step 3

The third step on how to register a company in Kenya discusses the final stages of your registration and how to get your company registration certificate.

Outline Your Business Goals and Objectives

Still, on how to register a company in Kenya, the Kenyan government would request an Article of Association and a Memorandum of Association from you as a new business owner to define the rules, goals, objectives and authorized nominal capital of your business.

These two documents should be drafted before you complete your final registration paperwork. The documents can be drawn up by the company’s director, an administrative assistant or an advocate. 

The Memorandum of Association entails your business name and location. You should also write down the business objectives, value of shares and how many shareholders are affiliated with your company.

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On the hand, the Article of Association should contain the rules and regulations that govern your business/company. Also, it should clearly state the rights of all members of the company, the extent of the authority vested in the directors and the liability of each member of the company. In addition, the article of association should also include the necessary procedures of appointment and the removal of the company’s director from their position. 

File the Completed Forms

After completing all the paperwork to register a company in Kenya, you have to file the forms you have filled and pay a certain amount of money at the Kenyan Registrar’s office.

Arrange the CR1, CR8, BN6, Memorandum of Association and the Article of Association in a large envelope. Also include all the scanned documents and the copies you have made throughout the registration process or mail the documents to the Registrar’s office. In the final stages of registering a company in Kenya, you will be asked to pay a compulsory fee of Kes. 10,650 with your credit card at the Registrar’s office or online at the E-citizen portal.

Download Your Company Certificate From the E-citizen Platform

It would take the Kenyan government about a week to review all the forms you have submitted, make copies and scans, and then register your company with the KRA. Once all these processes have been completed, and your company is officially registered, the company certificate will be posted online on the E-citizen portal.

For the final step of this guide on how to register a company in Kenya, you have to print out the company’s certificate. Once you have a hard copy of your company’s certificate, you can start running your business freely in Kenya. 

When thinking of how to register a company in Kenya by yourself, you might get discouraged because the process seems long and stressful, but once you start the process, it is straightforward. Also, if you want to register a company in Kenya without stress, there are agencies that can help you do it successfully in a short time. Although these agencies are not free, they are affordable and efficient.

After going through this guide on how to register a company in Kenya, you will agree that Kenya is undoubtedly one of the best countries to run a business in because of the ease and flexibility the Kenyan authorities offer business owners. 

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