How To Register a Business In Nigeria

business registration

Register Your Business

Registering a business in Nigeria is the first step for an individual or group of persons to carry out legally recognized transactions. The process of registering a business in Nigeria is not as cumbersome as we are made to believe.  Hence, in this article, we are going to learn how in easy to do steps.

You can decide to hire a lawyer to do the registration or complete the process personally. But, first, you have to determine if you want to incorporate a limited liability company or just a business name.

An individual who manages a small sized sole proprietorship venture can register a business name in Nigeria. But, it is essential to note that a business name cannot acquire the status of a separate legal entity different from its owner.  Hence, this means that the risks and losses from business operations are borne solely by the owner.

business regis

Certainly, business name registration in Nigeria is one of the three company structures which an individual can do in Nigeria.  Similarly, the others been incorporated companies and trustees.

Depending on the size and the scope of operations of your business,  likewise, you can register a business all by yourself without the need of a Lawyer.

Business registration types available presently in Nigeria

a) Business Name Registration
(b) Private Limited Company (LTD)
(c) Public Limited Company (PLC)
(d) Company Limited by Guarantee (LTD)

But for this article, we will concentrate on the first two types. Viz-, the Business name, and the Private Limited Liability Company, which are the most common amongst start-up entrepreneurs.

The processes involved in registering a business in Nigeria are direct and easy. But our peculiar bureaucracy system of doing things in Nigeria have made it difficult.

To register a business in Nigeria, with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the agency solely responsible for registering businesses, the steps of registration are hereby broken down as follows:

Step 1

Choose a Unique Name

First of all, your business needs a name, so you have to decide on what name the business will be registered with. Consequently, the beautiful thing is that you can do this online by logging in to the website of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).


business registration in nigeria


The applicant will submit wo alternate names for the business on which the CAC will conduct a search in its database.  Consequently, this is to ascertain its availability and that the name is not already in use by another company.

If CAC approves any of the name options, they will reserve it for a 60-day period. During this period, the applicant is expected to complete the registration process for the business name. Otherwise, the CAC might give to another person who has chosen the same name for his business registration.

Fill The Form

Alternatively, if the applicant is not comfortable with online registration, you can also walk into the CAC office closest to you. Obtain form the CAC 1.  Fill the form in capital letters, and the information required. This includes your name, address, and the company names you want to register.
Make sure to make photocopies of the completed filled form before submission. This is because they will need the copy to check for your documents later on.

Submit The completed Form

After submitting the original documents. The applicant is to return between three to seven days to check if any of the names chosen are available for registration. Otherwise, you will have to go over the entire process all over again until you find an available business name approved by the CAC.

Restrictions put in place by the CAC as regards to choosing a business name

Names that include “Federal”, “Regional”, “Chamber of Commerce”, “Co-operative”. “Municipal”, “Chartered”, “Building Society”, “Group” or “Holding” are prohibited from use.

If the commission feels a name can be misleading, or the objective of the business activities is unwanted.  Illegal, offensive or not acceptable by society, they reserve the right not to register the business name.

Unless a trademark or business name owner has consented to its use, the commission shall not register an existing trademark or business name.

Step 2

After a maximum period of seven days, the applicant is to check online if any of the names chosen are available for registration. Once any of the names are available, registration processes can commence.

After the approval of a business name,  the applicant can obtain the business registration forms. He will fill in the information required either online or at the CAC office. An individual applicant or two partners can fill the form as the case may be. They will attach two passport photographs of each applicant.

If the business name is not approved, the applicant has to obtain a new reservation form and start the process all over again.

business registration

Now, to register a Limited Company, an applicant is required to get the set of Company Incorporation forms.  But should a problem come up in filling it, the applicant can ask for help from any of the staff of CAC.

The applicant will fill in the approved business name, the type, and nature of the business he is to register. And also the address and other information like the nature of the business he wants to register. The physical address, the name, address, occupation and other details of any other directors or shareholders.

Step 3

The State High Court will attest the completed form.

Step 4

Then, the applicant will pay filing fees online or at the bank as the case may be.

Step 5

Afterward, the applicant will submit the completed and attested forms online or at the CAC office. The CAC will review them, and if all is in order, the registrant is notified of the success of the application. And the Business Name Certificate will be ready for use.
For a business name registration, the applicant will need to go back for the certificate after eight working days or thereabout. As for a Limited Liability Company registration, the applicant will receive the certificate once it is ready.


To make your business relevant in the Nigerian business terrain and in other to be taken seriously. You have to register either a business name or incorporate a company depending on the scope and size of your operations.
The process takes between two to three weeks.  But it takes a long time because of bureaucracy, the workload of CAC workers, system breakdown, and network problems.

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