Quick info guide

Requirements to obtain a business license

✓ Filled and signed application form
✓ Certificate of Commercial registration
✓ Photocopies of  identification card or valid passport
✓ The passport size photographs of the manager taken in the last six months
✓ Original copies of memorandum and articles of association
✓ Certificate of Competence
✓ The exact address of the head office and branch offices of the business if any
✓ A bank statement showing the capital of the business organization

Estimated time to complete

o For commercial registration: 30 minutes - 1 hour
o For company name registration: 25 minutes
o For business licence: 30 minutes - 1 hour
o (All in one [1] working day) 
*Name clearance may take up to 30 days


o For commercial registration: 102 ETB
o For company name: 27 ETB
o For business licence: 102 ETB

TIN registration

Apply for TIN

Where? Ministry of Revenues

1. Download the Application Form
2. Print the form on a clean white A4 or letter size paper.
3. Complete fields and submit

Obtaining a business license in Ethiopia

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is the main institution responsible for registering a business in Ethiopia. It is prohibited to engage in any commercial activity unless registered in a commercial register; and according to Proclamation No. 980/2016, no person shall engage in business activity without acquiring a business license.

To simplify the procedure of registration, the Ministry of Trade and Industry provides its services through a system called Online Trade Registration and Licensing System (OTRLS).
angle-left Procedures to obtain a business license

Procedures to obtain a business license

Application for Business Licence

According to article 23 of the proclamation, any person desiring to engage in a commercial activity can submit to the appropriate authority an application for business licence by completing application form prepared for this purpose accompanied with important documents prescribed in the regulations issued by the Council of Ministers.

Issuance of business license

A person/business organization is required to fulfill the following conditions to obtain a business license (Article 24)

  1. Commercial registration and trade name registration;
  2. The business activity shouldn’t be prohibited by any law;
  3. Apply to the relevant authority in accordance to the law applicable;
  4. Payment of appropriate service fee; and
  5. Other requirements provided by the applicable law

If the above requirements are fulfilled and the relevant authority ascertains thereof, then the relevant authority will issue a business license. Where the relevant authority ascertains that the application for business license is not submitted by fulfilling the requirements provided in the law, it will reject the application and notify the applicant in writing the reasons for rejecting the application.

Period of validity of a business license

According to the provisions in article 28 of the proclamation, a business license remains valid provided that it is renewed and is not cancelled pursuant to the provisions of the Proclamation. The business license becomes be invalid, if not renewed within six months after the expiry of the budget year in which it has been issued or renewed upon payment of the appropriate fee.