How to Register a Business Online in Nigeria

I registered my business through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) online registration. It is not difficult, no it’s not and this post will do justice to that. I am here to give you all you need regarding registering with CAC online. This is not just an article that was drawn, it is a recount of my experience registering with the corporate affairs commission.

People will tell you it was very difficult, lawyers will say go and bring a large chunk of money, but trust me, for you to do business registration online, it is as easy as drinking ‘pure water’. Yes, it is!

Now you are interested in reading this post, right? That is what you will do immediately you have gone through this in-depth analysis of corporate affairs commission online registration.

If you are looking at registering a Limited Liability Company then this post is definitely not for you. We will get to the registration of Limited Liability Companies but first, let us look at registration of business name with the corporate affairs commission online registration.

Are you ready?

A lot of entrepreneurs are usually in a fix with respect to registering their businesses and they tend to pay more than necessary when they can actually make the registrations on their own. For business continuity and in order to put some business face to your art/ craft, there re two major avenues of registering your business in Nigeria: Registration of a company and business name registration.

In choosing your mode of registration, there are certain parameters that you need to consider before going ahead with the corporate affairs commission online registration. One key thing you need to consider when setting out your business registration is that whether or not you started out registration in terms of business name, you can still restructure when you expand as a company.

Whatever your decision is eventually, it is important that the option you are going for will be the one where your business potentials will be maximized eventually and the ‘money’ you are ready to ‘invest’ in the business.

RegistrationA little bit complicatedVery straightforward
RestrictionsAn LLC usually is restricted by the memorandum of association.You do not need any memorandum of association and could deal with more objects provided certain statements are made in the filled forms
Cost of registrationCost of registration is usually between N35,000 - N50,000Cost of registration is around N15,000
Business continuityThe business can outlive the shareholdersThe death of the owner may lead to the death of the business. Liability is unlimited
LiabilityThe company is a seperate legal entity from the owners, therefore the owners cannot be sued because the company will bear all the liability for the business.Business starts and ends with the sole proprietor.
In the case that the mode of registration is through partnership, then the business may end on the death of any of the partners unless it was stated in the agreement.
NumbersThere is a minimum of 2 members required statutorily to form an LLCJust one person is needed to register the business
Mode of governanceYou will require board of directors, company secretary that will advise the company from time to timeYou are entitled to do all that is required to get your business started and you do not need any formality to commence your business activities.
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Now that you know the basics about registration of your business name, let’s now get on with corporate affairs commission online registration.

You can log into the Corporate Affairs Commission platform here or here. As soon as this happens, you get to create an account on the forms displayed on the portal.

After you have done that, and your username and password have been accepted, then you go to the homepage to type in your username and password, and then log in.

You may be prompted to agree to certain terms and conditions, just agree and move on to the name search.

The first thing you need to do when registering your business name is the name search. A unique name that you intend to give to your business. You need to be ready with two names before you can delve into the name search part in the corporate affairs commission online registration.

How to apply for name search in the corporate affairs commission online registration

You go to the homepage and click on the name search column. Two fields will come up written as “Nameoption1”

“Name option2” and click on “proceed”. You will fill in the corresponding form and click on “Next”. You will thereafter review the company’s information details from the lookup, fill the additional information and click on “next”.

A page will come on prompt for you where you will be asked to make a payment of N500 for reservation of name that you have chosen; select a payment option and click on “Next”. Also, note the Transaction Reference ID. Select the form of payment preferred (MasterCard, Visa or pay with bank account) and click on “proceed”.

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N500 is paid for the reservation of the name you provided. Pray that you are lucky and that the name you have chosen has not been picked by another business, then your name will be reserved for another 45 days so that you can conclude the business registration.

Why do I need to choose two names in the corporate affairs commission online registration?

CAC advises that two names are chosen because there are higher chances of the first name picked by you to have been chosen by someone else. The second name will allow the CAC to give you another opportunity for a name search with the amount paid. Failure to approve the name searched will lead to you having to pay another N500 for the name search.

After you have concluded making payment online. You should click on the reservation history on the top left of the site and check for the status of your application. Here you can confirm whether your application has been approved or not. If it has, then hold on and wait for confirmation of name reservation, if your application status reads “Not submitted”, then go check for the Action button, click on it to view payment history. This will allow you to know the status of the payment just made.

After approval of your business name, then you can go ahead to register the business. On the confirmation of the name search and reservation of the business name, you will get an availability code.

You will now go to the CAC website, click on step 3 which is other pre-incorporation services and then click on register business name.

You will be prompted to enter your availability code gotten from the e-form that stated your reservation of name. Click on Proceed!

After clicking on proceed, you then click on Action, which brings out a drop-down, where you can check and click on REGISTER!

Complete the form that comes out in the most accurate way as possible and then click on CONTINUE in the bottom right corner of the page.

The next form has details of your approved business name, your date of commencement of business, and others. You will be required to fill this very accurately and click on continue.

One very interesting thing that the CAC has been able to achieve is the opportunity for the user to save at the last stop and continue later. That way, people who get caught up with other things while registering and want to come back to complete the registration will just have to save and exit to continue later.

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All you need is to remember your username and password, and touche! You can come back to continue later.

The resulting page will provide options for you to select from, if “proprietors (other than corporations)” is selected a drop-down will be displayed. Click on either of the resulting tiny circles to select if the proprietor is a minor, fill in the resulting form and click on “Add”

After you are done completing the details of the proprietors, you can click on continue, click on add to add the nature of your business.

Dropdown boxes will appear and you will need to tick any of the businesses that suit your type of business. When you are done with this page, click on the add button on the bottom right corner to continue the process.

You are now 80% away from completing the Corporate Affairs Commission online registration of the business name.

After you have clicked on Add to continue, a new page of Additional Certified True Copies will appear (CTC). here you can select the extra CTCs that you may want for the registration. You may want extra CTCs or extra certificate of registration which costs N2,000 and N5,000 exclusively. So if you are going to choose the extras, be prepared to let out extra cash as payment.

When you are done with all of this, a preview page will appear, so you can go through all the inputs you have made while registering. The preview page also avails you the opportunity to go and modify in case there are mistakes when you were registering.

If you are fine with the data inputted and do not need to go back to modify, then you just click ‘continue’ at the bottom right corner of the page to proceed.

The last step of the CAC online registration is where you will be required to make a payment of N10,000 which is the amount for Business name registration in Nigeria. A new page will prompt you to make the payment through the payment option indicated on the platform. (Note that all your payments are made through e-payment channels and not by the customary payment by hand anymore).

After making your payment, you will be given a transaction reference ID.

After payment has been concluded, you can go ahead to check your application by going back to ‘my reservation history’ on your page.

Remember that this process is as easy as drinking water! However, if you are stuck at any point during the Corporate Affairs Commission Online Registration, then you can contact us here