Ultimate Guide to Registering a Business Online in Nigeria (For Native and Foreigners)

Images showing how to register business in Nigeria

The process of registering a business in Nigeria is called business name registration. It is the process of documenting a business with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is the agency responsible for cataloging business names in Nigeria and administering the license of operations.

For the smooth running of businesses in the country, business registration is required. Foreigners that want to own a business in the country, are also required to register their business for smooth operations in Nigeria.

Also See: 15 Steps to Start a Restaurant Business in 2023

Why Register a Business Name?

1. Brand Identity

Registering your business name gives your business a unique identity and creates a monopoly for your business name. Simply put, it gives your business the exclusive right to your business chosen name. This means no other business can operate under your name without your permission.

2. Credibility with Customers and Suppliers

With the high rate of fraud, registering your business could be the best way to create a good reputation. Your registered business name is a show of how long you have been doing business legitimately.

Being a registered business also means that you are on the Government's record and as such builds your credibility and makes customers comfortable doing business with you.

Customers and suppliers prefer doing business with companies that they can link with something; location, email, name, phone number and so on. Remember the KLT factor, Know, Like and Trust. People do businesses with companies that they know, then they like and then trust.

3. Attract Investors

Every business wants to grow but to grow, and investors almost always equal growth. To attract investors, your business needs to be legal.

Investors will prefer to invest in a registered business with legal structure rather than in just any random business somewhere.

4. Expansion

When your business is growing, you may need to hire employees and to do so legally, your business must be registered

5. Access to Loans

Having a registered business name gives your business the credibility it needs to get loans from banks.

Part of the documentation needed when you are applying for a business loan is your business registration certificate along with other documents.

Types of Business Name Registration in Nigeria

The type of businesses you can register with the Corporate Affairs Commission include; 

Private Limited Liability Company (LTD) 
This is a company that requires a minimum of one (1) and a maximum of fifty (50) shareholders and directors. 

The Private Limited Liability Company is restricted from transferring its shares freely and is also prohibited from inviting the public to subscribe to its share, debentures and/or deposit money for fixed periods or payable at call, whether or not bearing interest. 

Simply put, This type of company doesn't sell shares to the public.

Public Limited Liability Company (PLC) 
With this type of company, there is no limit on the number of shareholders or the right to transfer shares. The public is allowed to subscribe to the shares and the shares and the shares could also be traded on the securities exchange.

Company Limited by Guarantee (GTE) 
This type of company is incorporated as a non-profit. It limits its members' liability to the amount of the company's guarantees.

Unlimited Company/ Unlimited liability company 
According to SmartCapitalMind, an unlimited company is an incorporated company where profits and losses pass through to shareholders, and shareholders or members are responsible for outstanding liabilities in the event of a liquidation.

What you Need to Register your Business Name

  • The Email address and phone number of the proposed company
  • The registered address of the company
  • Identification documents of the directors and shareholders such as International Passports, National Identity Cards, Driver’s licenses, etc.
  • Name reservation approval note from the CAC
  • Objects of the company
  • Directors and shareholder’s full names, occupations, residential addresses, and dates of birth
  • Stamp duty and statutory fees
  • Incorporation certificate and company resolution in a case where another registered company (local or foreign) will be a subscriber or shareholder to the proposed company

Can I do it myself?

Yes. Every Nigerian citizen and any foreigner above 18 years can register a company in Nigeria.

How much does it Cost to Register a Business Name in Nigeria?

The CAC official filing fee for the registration of a business name in Nigeria is N10,000 (Ten Thousand Naira Only). However, where an accredited agent is engaged by the applicant for such registration, the agent will also charge a professional fee for the services to be rendered.

Below are the various prices for the various types of business in Nigeria

Type of Business/Company


Private Business Name Registration


Incorporation of Company Limited


Incorporation of Private/Public Company Limited (Issued share capital of ₦ 1 million or less)


Incorporation of Private/Public Company Limited (Issued share capital above ₦ 1 million and up to ₦500million)

₦5,000 for every ₦ 1 million share capital

Incorporation of Private/Public Company Limited (Issued share above ₦500million)

₦7,500 for every ₦ 1 million share capital


How to Register a Business Name in Nigeria

image showing name search on cac

Step 1: Name Search

A business name is a brand identity and as such, it must be unique. To have a unique business name, you’d have to do internet search to ensure no one is currently using the name.

If your desired business name is already chosen, you can brainstorm to come up with something similar or maybe even better.

So for your business name in Nigeria, you conduct a public search on CAC by visiting search.cac.gov.ng/home.

If you have any plans of owning a website for your business in the future, before registering your business name, you can use services like whois.com to look up the availability of your business domain name.

You can also use a platform like Namelix, a digital tool to help with finding a name that fits your business.

Step 2: Availability Check and Reservation of Name

After conducting your public search, you have to apply for confirmation and approval by CAC that the chosen name is not being used. This process is called availability check and reservation of name.

You are expected to submit two proposed names to the CAC, and make the required payment. After which, CAC will conduct a search to ensure that the hasn’t already been registered by someone else.

Certain words are reserved and as such, not allowed to be included in your business name. Words such as "Chamber of Commerce", "Federal", "National", "Regional", "State", "Government", "Municipal", "Chartered", "Co-operative" or other words words such as "Building Society", "Group" or "Holding".

Once the name is approved, the name will be reserved for a 60-day period. It is expected you complete the registration of your business during this period.

Once approved, you proceed with the registration.

Step 3: Create an Account or Login

Using the online registration portal, you will have to complete a pre-registration form (CAC-BNo1).

After searching for desired business name and its available, 

Image showing business details for CAC

Step 4: Pay the Business Reservation Fee of N500
Register your company with your business name availability code
Image showing steps to register business in NIgeria

Click on the Pre-incorporation button

Step 5: Sign into your CAC account

Image showing login option in CAC

Step 6: Fill out the CAC business registration form

Step 7: Pay the Filing Fee
You can make payment for your business name directly from the website or you can transfer to the bank account provided.

After making payment you will receive a receipt of payment.

Step 8: Upload the Requested Documents to CAC
A scanned copy of the pre-registration documents will need to be uploaded to the CAC website

The following are the documents to be uploaded

  • Application form
  • Filing fee receipt
  • Means of Identification for the proprietors of the business.

Step 9: Submit original copies of your personal and business documents.

The next step is to submit original copies of the documents scanned in step 8

Step 10: Download Certificate of Registration

After successful registration of your business name, the following documents would be available for download from the CAC website.

1. Original Certificate of registration of business name

2. CTC of the Application for the registration of the business name.

After download it is advised that the they are stored in an online cloud storage where they could be assessed when needed because CAC charges for subsequent downloads after the initial period.

Congrats, your Nigeria business is now registered!

How to Register a Business in Nigeria for Foreigners

Nigeria operates a free economy and as such, there are no restrictions to foreigners starting a business in Nigeria in compliance to the rules.

1. Availability and Reservation of Name
You also do name search and availability which is the same as step 1 above.

2. Incorporation/Registration of a business
The minimum share capital which a company must have is N10,000. However, for Foreign companies, the minimum share capital is N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira).

The minimum number of shareholder required to register a company in Nigeria is 1 (one).

3. Taxation Identification Number (TIN) & Tax Registration
After incorporation of the business, the next thing is for the business to obtain the Taxation Identification Number. This unique number enables payment of taxes.

Apart from having TIN, every registered company within 6 months of incorporation must endeavor to register with the nearby FIRS office to the address of business operation or registered address.

Other common taxes payable in Nigeria are the Company Income Tax (CIT), Personal Income Tax (also kown as PAYE Tax) and Value Added services.

4. Registration with Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)
The NIPC has the primary responsibility of encouraging, promoting and coordinating investment in the Nigerian economy. The NIPC also grants incentives like pioneer status to any company which qualifies for such status.

Registering with the NIPC is compulsory for all foreigners intending to start a company in Nigeria.

5. Approval for Business Permits
A business permit is issued by the Federal Ministry of Interior through the Department of citizenship and Business.

It is a required business permit where the company is entirely owned by the foreigners or when a joint venture between a Nigerian and foreign Corporation.

This permit is what ensures that foreign companies are not edging out Nigerian Organizations with business already owned by native Nigerian.

This document also finds its relevance in the fact that it is a precondition for the company to obtain an Expatriate Quota and begin operating especially if it intends to hire foreign workers.

6. Residence Permit (CERPAC)/ Application for Expatriate Quota
The Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) which is also called the Residence and Work Permit. It is the card issued to a foreigner which allows them to live and work in Nigeria for a specified period of time.

It is issued under the Ministry of interior.

The expatriate quota is the precursor to the application for and issuance of work permit to the foreigner being employed by the company in Nigeria.

Once approved, the expatriate is issued a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) which allows the employee to reside and work in Nigeria.

7. Bank Account Opening
For a foreign company to operate with ease in Nigeria, there is need to open a bank account in the country because this is where the company will pay the minimum paid up share capital.

To open a bank account, the listed directors of the company will have to enroll for Bank verification Number (BVN). Registration for BVN could be done overseas as there designated centers outside of Nigeria.

8. Procurement of Certificate of Capital Importation
The Certificate of Capital Importation also known as CCI is a document which confers on foreign investors the right to repatriate capital, profits and dividends at the official exchange market rates.

It certifies that funds or equipment or a combination of both from foreign investors have been remitted into the bank account by an entity incorporated in Nigeria.The CCI can be gotten from the Central Bank of Nigeria through commercial banks (authorized dealer).


How long does it take to register my business name?
If your documents are readily available, it takes 24hrs - 48hrs to register a business in Nigeria.

Who is eligible to register a business?
Every Nigerian citizen and any foreigner above 18 years can register a company in Nigeria.

How much is CAC Registration in Nigeria?
It depends on the type of business you want to register.


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