Back in the day, business registration in Nigeria could only be done by specific people- accredited lawyers, chartered secretaries, and chartered accountants. As it could only be done by certain professionals who had to be paid, the process was really stressful and expensive. Thankfully, those days are gone, and business registration is now much easier.
Since the CAC officially launched its online portal, people all around the world can now register businesses in Nigeria, without needing to hire certain professionals.
This post will guide you through the steps to go about registering your business in Nigeria.
STEPS TO REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS
You’ll need to use the CAC website.
What Is The CAC?
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is an autonomous body responsible for regulating the formation and management of companies in Nigeria. You’ll need to get the following in place:
THINGS YOU’LL NEED TO GET
Choose a unique business name that you haven’t heard anywhere before, to increase the chances of its approval. You can know whether the name you want to choose has already been used by conducting a public search first, before submitting the name.
Here’s how to conduct a public search:
i). Visit cac.gov.ng.
ii). Click on public search.
iii). Enter the name you choose to register.
iv). Enter the captcha as displayed, and search.
v). The names of existing companies that are similar to the one you typed will be shown.
With this, you would be able to know whether the name you intend to register already exists. If it’s already in use, choose another name and repeat the steps till you get a name that hasn’t been used.
This process is free; you don’t need to pay any money to a professional to conduct a name availability search.
- Business address or location.
- Nature of the business
As an addendum to the nature of your business, always make sure you include general contracts. This would include every other type of business in case you decide to introduce other new businesses in future.
- Name of proprietors (if it’s a partnership).
- Residential addresses of proprietors.
- Passport photographs of the proprietors
STEP ONE: CREATE A CAC PORTAL ACCOUNT
In order to complete your business registration, the first step would be to create a CAC portal account by following these steps:
1). Visit services.cac.gov.ng.
2). Click on “create account” on the home page of the portal.
3). Complete the displayed form correctly.
4). If you are an accredited user, choose the “Are you an accredited customer” option and enter your accreditation number in full.
5). If you are not an accredited user, enter an approved valid means of identification like your permanent voters’ card, international passport, birth certificate, driver’s license or National Identity card.
6). Enter the captcha displayed.
7). Click on submit.
You will get a mail that provides your username and password details from the CAC.
8) Login with the username and password as received.
9) Accept the terms and conditions.
10) Change the password to your desired one.
You have now successfully created a CAC online portal account.
STEP TWO: REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS NAME ON THE CAC PORTAL
i). Log into the portal.
ii). On the home page, provide two names for your business name registration.
iii). In the first box, type in your most preferred name. In the second box, type in an alternative name. One of the two should be approved if it’s available.
iv). Click on proceed and fill in the details correctly.
v). For classification, select business name.
vi). For company type, also select business name.
vii). Select a reason from the options.
- If it’s a new business name you want to register, select “new incorporation”.
- If it’s an already registered business name and you want to change it, select “change of name”.
- If you want to convert a business name to a company, select “conversion”.
- If you are registering as a subsidiary of an already existing company, select “subsidiary/affiliate”.
When you’re done filling in all the information required, click on “next” to proceed.
- The summary of all the information you have supplied would be displayed.
- Click on next, and you will be brought to the payment section.
- Choose the most suitable type of online payment for you and pay the sum for the search.
To view your payment history, return to the portal, click on “reservation history”, then click on the “action button” on the right end of the reserved name. It will take you to the payment history page. Click on “check status” to confirm your payment.
To check whether the name has been approved once this is completed, click on the “check my reservation history”. All things being equal, the approval or denial of a business name shouldn’t take more than two working days.
Once a name has been approved, the status on the name changes from “pending approval” to “approved”, and a code is given as an identity for the reserved name. This code is what you will use to complete your registration. To view this code, click on the “action button” and download the approval note and code.
STEP THREE: FILL THE NECESSARY FORMS
1). Log into the portal.
2). Select ‘registration’ on the top left of the web page, select business name, enter the availability code you have already copied from the approval note, and proceed.
3). The approved name will appear. Select “continue registration” to continue.
4). Fill all forms carefully and accurately provide all the requirements stated earlier. Make sure you fill in names and addresses of proprietors, nature of the business, and the principal place of business addresses correctly. While filling the nature of the business, don’t forget to add general contracts as advised, because correcting any mistakes after registration would cost you extra money and time.
5). When asked if you need additional copies of a certified true copy, click on “zero”, because this is only relevant to those registering a Limited Liability Company.
6). The next step is the payment of a sum to complete the registration.
7). Click “Action” to download and print the completed form for the proprietors to sign and have their passports attached.
STEP FOUR: UPLOAD NECESSARY DOCUMENTS
1). After the proprietors are done appending their signatures and attaching their passports, scan the document and save it as a PDF file.
3). Type in the availability code you used in registering the business and select the nearest CAC office you wish to pick up your certificate from.
4). Type in the captcha.
5). Click on begin.
6). Click on “Choose Scanned Document Below” and select the documents you wish to upload.
- You will have to upload the form you filled, availability of name, approval note, payment receipt, copies of ID cards of the proprietors, and proficiency certificates where applicable.
7). Click “Attach” to attach the document.
8). Attach all documents one after the other.
9). All attached documents are displayed in the “List of Documents window”.
You will receive an email, as soon as the certificate is ready. The business registration status will change, and the BN number would be generated.
I hope you find this post very helpful. However, do consult an accredited practitioner for professional advice before carrying on with this process. You will find their advice helpful, too.
All the best in your business!