Procedures to obtain a business license - Ethiopia
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  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
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.
Step by step guide to registering a business
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)
- Commercial registration and trade name registration;
- The business activity shouldn’t be prohibited by any law;
- Apply to the relevant authority in accordance to the law applicable;
- Payment of appropriate service fee; and
- 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.