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).

Step by step guide to registering a business

angle-left Registering your business: Steps to follow


The first step is to identify the form of business one intends to engage in. The following are the common business forms in Ethiopia;

  1. A sole business person: the business is owned by one person. One of its advantages is that it is easier to start and close.
  2. Partnership: the business is owned by at least two persons through a partnership agreement. There are various forms of partnerships such as ordinary partnership, general partnership, and limited partnership.
  3. Private Limited Company: Can be formed by a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 50 persons. It is advantageous for high profit-making businesses and it can be managed in a structured way, but it is difficult to close the business.
  4. Share Company: Can be formed by a minimum of 5 persons. A minimum capital of Br. 50,000 is needed to set up a Share Company. The minimum price a single share can have is Br. 10. However, for banks and insurance companies, the minimum capital requirement is 500,000,000 ETB.