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 Suspension of a business license

Suspension of a business license

A relevant authority may suspend a business license on the following grounds (Article 29):

  1. Where the businessperson fails to meet occupational, health and sanitation, environmental protection, accident prevention standards and qualities of goods and services;
  2. Where the businessperson fails to discharge obligations of a businessperson clearly specified in this proclamation;
  3. Where the businessperson fails to provide information accurately and timely upon the request of the relevant authority;
  4. Where it is verified that the license was issued or renewed based on falsified document;
  5. Where the license is used by the holder for an unauthorized purpose;
  6. Where the business person is unavailable at the registered address; and
  7. Where the business person is found to have violated the Commercial Code, the Proclamation, the regulations and directives, as well as other laws.

In the case of suspension of business license on the grounds of violation of the provisions of the Proclamation, regulations or directives; or when a relevant sector office verifies violation of provisions of the Commercial Code or a court of law passes an order of suspension, the business facility is immediately sealed. Further, the relevant authority must notify the holder of the business license in writing the cause of the suspension and measures that need to take within reasonable period of time to rectify the shortcomings that led to the suspension.

Where the defects that caused the suspension of the business license are rectified within the prescribed time, the suspension will be lifted and the business license becomes valid.

The suspension of certificates of competence by relevant competence assuring institutions also entails suspension of the corresponding business license without any precondition.