How to Get a Business Permit Kenya

Ida Musyoka

Registering a business legally and getting a business permit is a very necessary step in your entrepreneurship journey. All businesses are required by law to be registered legally. Getting a business permit is a sign that you are a law-abiding citizen.

The process is quite straightforward since you can do the process online. If your business is in Nairobi County, all you need is a single business license that takes care of everything.

In this article, we shall take you through all the processes involved in getting a business permit.

Business of Getting a Business Permit

Sign of Professionalism

When your business is properly registered and licensed, it is a sign of professionalism. It shows customers that you are serious and committed to the business.

It is a Legal Requirement

Getting a business permit is a requirement by law. It is an obligation that you need to meet as a law-abiding citizen.

Gives you the Confidence to Run your Business

When your business is dully registered and licensed, it gives you the confidence to work with other businesses and professionals.

How to Get a Business Permit in Kenya

Manual Application

The manual application process involves visiting different offices to register your business. It is the old way of doing it but it still works. Here are the processes involved :

Reserve the Business Name

  • Visit the register of companies office at the attorney general and apply for a name search and reservation
  • Present the business names – It is advisable to present three names to make sure the business gets a unique name.
  • After the name is searched and approved, you have 60 days to do the registration.

Start the Registration

  • When you visit the registrar of companies, you will be given a form BN/2 to fill
  • After completing the form, pay Ksh 850
  • The form will be verified and a registration certificate issued

Obtain the Business Permit

  • Visit the county ward services
  • Get the BR1 form from the licensing offers officers, fill it and submit it.
  • Once you fill out the submission form and submit it, the licensing officer will visit your premises in 2 business days.
  • The BR1 form is stamped and you are referred to the county licensing office where the form is approved
  • Depending on the size of your business, you will be issued with an invoice bill to pay.
  • Small traders can pay as little as Ksh 3500 or as high as Ksh 20,000 for large traders
  • After the payment has been received, your permit will be signed.
  • You can go ahead and display it on your business premises.

Online Application

Reserve a business name

  • Visit the e-citizen website for name search and reservation
  • Pay Ksh 150 for the service

Business Name Registration

  1. Your application is assessed through the e-citizen website
  2. Pay the business name registration
  3. Go to the e-citizen portal and select your county
  4. If your business is in Nairobi city county, you can find how to fill out the business registration here
  5. For the counties of Mombasa and Kisumu, here are the details to follow:
  • Go to county services
  • Click on Add business
  • Fill out the form with the required details
  • Click continue and an invoice will be generated
  • confirm the details and make the payment
  • Print the permit and invoice
  • Display the invoice on your business premises


What are the different business licenses in Kenya?

Some of the business licenses in Kenya include; trading licenses, advertising signage licenses, fire clearance certificates, food hygiene licenses,s, and health certificates. However, Nairobi County now has a unified license called the single business permit. With a single business permit, you do not have to pay for other licenses separately.

What documents do you need when applying for a business permit?

National ID, business identification form, business address, business name, and copy of certificate of incorporation.

How long does it take to get a business permit in Kenya?

As long as you have all the documents ready with you, it takes under 2 hours to get a permit when making the application online.

Do you need a lawyer to get a business permit in Kenya?

You do not need a lawyer to get a business permit. However, you might need the services of an attorney when applying for the certificate of incorporation since it is a legal document.


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Business writer, part-time teacher, self-taught chef and mom. I love business, finance, trying out new recipes, teaching and learning.
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