How to register your business name with CAC in Nigeria

How to Register Your Business Name in Nigeria (2021), The Best Way

Registering your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria could be expensive if you involve a third party.

So, I want to show you how to register your company in Nigeria without the service of an agent or visiting the commission.

This article will walk you through the process and make your business become a legal entity in 7 simple steps.

With the use of the Corporate Affairs Commission online registration portal, you can register your business at a minimum cost.

It was stated on the official website of the commission:

Individual/Proprietors can register business names without the services of the legal practitioner, Chartered Accountant or Chartered Secretary.Corporate Affairs Commission

Assuming you want to register your company and you give the job to a lawyer, you’ll be charged higher than the official rate.

As a result of this, most small business owners are discouraged from registering their businesses.

When you fail to register your business, the implication is that the business doesn’t exist.

And in a situation like this, your business will lack credibility.

That makes it very important to first discuss why a business should be registered before discussing how to register your business name with CAC in Nigeria.

Benefits of registering your business name with CAC

Registering your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria has a lot of benefits and that makes it very important for you to know how to register your company yourself.

CAC was launched in line with the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), promulgated in 1990 and amended in 2020.

The commission is saddled with the responsibility of regulating how companies are formulated and managed in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, there are countless numbers of benefits you get when you register your business name with CAC.

And this includes:

  • Opening a corporate bank account
  • Online payment integration
  • Social media account verification
  • Protecting your brand name
  • Protecting your legal liability
  • Preventing police harassment
  • Access to government loans
  • Customer trust
  • Government contracts
  • Continuity of business

Let’s briefly discuss each of the benefits one after the other.

Opening a corporate bank account

Some customers might not feel comfortable paying into your personal bank account.

If doing business requires your bank account, using your corporate bank account will boost your credibility.

For that reason, you need to walk up to any bank in Nigeria and open an account in your business name.

Recommended: How to choose the right bank for your business in Nigeria.

But without your business name being registered with CAC, opening a corporate bank account isn’t possible.

Online payment integration

One of the things to consider before moving your business online is how to receive payments from your customers online.

Selling a product or service and receiving payments from international customers could be difficult without a payment gateway.

There are various ways to receive payments from foreign customers and credit your local bank account.

The only issue is that without registering your business with CAC, you might not be able to achieve this task in Nigeria.

Most online payment gateways, PayStack for example, require a copy of your business certificate of incorporation.

For that reason, it might not be possible to use their services without duly registering your business with the commission.

Social media account verification

As part of the benefits of registering your business with CAC in Nigeria, verifying your social media account isn’t possible without your company certificate of incorporation.

In the bid to curb internet scam on social media, businesses are required to verify their accounts and pages.

Facebook for example, requires a copy of your certificate of incorporation to get verified.

– Facebook account verification

The reason is that the audience is more comfortable when they stumble upon your page and realise that your account is verified.

So, to take advantage of this behaviour, you need to register your business with CAC and verify your social media account.

Protecting your brand name

If you leave your business name unregistered and someone else knowingly or unknowingly hijacks the name from you, you have no legal rights to claim the ownership of the business.

Meanwhile, it’s only when you register a business in your name that you can claim its rightful ownership.

Whatever credit goes to the business goes to you.

Protecting your legal liability

Another reason why you need to register your business name with CAC is to protect your legal liability.

This can prevent you from being responsible for any civil wrong committed by the business.

For example, when an industrial accident claimed 7 lives at Phoenix Steel Mills Limited, Ogijo, Ogun State, a series of petitions was written against the company.

But because the company is a legal entity, none of the petitions were personally directed to the owner of the business.

Assuming the company wasn’t registered, you can see that the owner would be in soup.

So, when your business is registered, you’re not answerable to any legal issue caused by the business.

As a legal entity, the business would have to deal with its problem itself.

Preventing police harassment

The only thing that can differentiate you from a fraudster when police ask you to identify yourself and you claim to be a businessman is your CAC business registration.

At a point in time, most entrepreneurs have experienced police brutality in Nigeria.

Assuming you’re into an online business, you might be regarded as an internet fraudster if the business isn’t registered.

You can’t claim to have a legitimate business that fetches you substantial fortune and the business isn’t registered with CAC.

That is the belief of unscrupulous security officers and you need to protect yourself against that.

So, to some large extent, registering your business name with CAC is regarded as one of the ways to avoid police brutality in Nigeria.

Access to government loans

The Federal Government of Nigeria had recently initiated some empowerment programs to create jobs for youth and foster a risk-free economy for MSMEs in the country.

And one of the criteria to fully benefit from these programs is your proof of business ownership, which is made easy with your business certificate of incorporation.

Without registering your business with CAC, your business can’t qualify for government grants or financial support in Nigeria.

Customer trust

Customer trust is very important and you must do everything to earn it, most especially when dealing with new customers.

This is possible by registering your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria.

So, any fear entertained by the customers can be erased, knowing that you can be traced with your RC number.

Registering your business, however, can help you gain customer trust, thereby boost your credibility and reputation.

Government contracts

Before you can bid for and win a government contract, you need a duly registered business name in Nigeria.

This is a number one requirement for eligibility.

The opportunity can come up at anytime and it might be too late to begin the registration process.

Taking advantage of this guide and learning how to register your business name with CAC, would prepare you for the best opportunity that lies ahead of you.

Continuity of business

The last but not the least of the benefits of registering your business name with CAC in Nigeria is to make the business outlive the owner.

Regardless of what becomes of you, ill or dead, your business can sustain if it’s registered with CAC before the incident.

Whether you’re a foreign or local investor, these are some of the benefits you get from registering your company or business in Nigeria.

How much to register a business name in Nigeria

The cost of registering a business name in Nigeria varies as the agents differ.

This can make you spend more than the official fees required by the commission.

If you know how to register your business name yourself, it would be easy to determine how much it will cost you to register your business name in Nigeria and you won’t have to pay extra fees.

So, as found on the official website of the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria, the following are the official charges for registering a business name in Nigeria.

Fees for application forms

Before registering, you need to obtain an application form which is ₦500.00.

More on this will be discussed later.

– Business Name Application Fees (As seen on the official website of the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria on 17/9/2020)

There are three types of forms obtainable from CAC to register your business or company and these include:

  1. Application form for company registration
  2. Application form for business name registration
  3. Application form for incorporated trustee registration

As for someone who wants to register his business name, you can apply for the first and second form.

The other goes for big businesses as the case may be.

Fees for registration and other services

The following image contains fees for business name registration in Nigeria and other various services obtainable from CAC.

– Fees for business name registration and other services (As seen on the official website of the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria on 17/9/2020)

As a new business, all you have to pay for is the registration of your business name which is ₦10,000.00.

Other fees can be paid for as the need arises.

Requirements to register a business name in Nigeria

Since the 2020 amendment of the Company Allied and Matters Act (CAMA), the principal law guiding a business and company formation, there have been a lot of new developments in the requirements to register a business name in Nigeria.

So, with the following requirements, registering a business could be as easy as possible for startups and young entrepreneurs in the country.

  1. You must be as old as 18 years except where there are two or more adults having shares in the business.
  2. You must propose two names for the registration.
  3. You can’t register a name that is already in use by another company or a name related to a government agency.
  4. Your business must have objectives which must be well stated.
  5. You must indicate the type of business you want to register – be it a private limited company, private unlimited company or company limited by guarantee.
  6. The business must have a verifiable physical address.
  7. If you have partners, the share capital of each shareholder must be stated.
  8. You must have a means of identification such as voter’s card, national ID, driver’s licence or international passport.

Previously, a minimum of two persons was required to register a company.

But now, with the provision of single-member or shareholder companies in the 2020 CAMA, you can register a company without entering unnecessary partnership with anyone.

This is to encourage small business owners and make them have an enabling environment where their businesses can thrive in Nigeria.

How to register your business name with CAC in Nigeria

– Steps on how to register you business name online with CAC in Nigeria

As of today, registering your business name online in Nigeria is possible with CAC.

And that gives you the option to avoid the stress of travelling miles to a CAC office and reduce the cost of registration.

The commission now has an online business name registration portal to enable individuals have their businesses registered with ease and this guide will show you how.

So, instead of visiting a CAC office for an offline registration, you would have to visit the official website of the commission and register your business name online.

Either way, the following contains steps to register a business name in Nigeria.

#1. Give your business a name

Before you can register a business name, you have to first verify if the name is available for use or not.

For this reason, it’s advisable to propose two names, so you can secure one if the other isn’t available.

Giving your business a name is very important as it contributes to your brand identity.

With this strategy, your business will have a great affinity with the customers.

In most times,  your business name must be relevant to your niche or what you sell. 

For example, if you consider the concept behind these brands, Shoprite, Shopify, Taxify, Opay and Oride, you’ll realize that each brand reflects what its business is all about in its name.

So, you may name your business as “Trends Villa” or “Bourgeoisie Wears” if you’re into clothing.

That will make your brand search engine friendly in case you decide to launch an eCommerce website for your business in the near future.

#2. Verify your business name

After knowing what two names to give your business, you need to verify their availability.

And to do this, you’ll have to visit the CAC public search portal and search on any of the proposed names.

– CAC Public Search Portal for checking Business Name Availability

Type in the name in the search form and click Search.

A result will be sent on the web interface, which will state if the name is already in use or not.

If your proposed name is in use by another company, the result will display information about the company.

That means you can’t use the name, because two different companies can’t use the same name under the law.

This is just like opening an account on Instagram. If a username has been taken, you can’t use the username again.

For this reason, you’ll have to search on the second proposed name.

If the result of the second name comes out to be available or empty, it means no one has used the name before.

Hence, you’re good to use the name.

#3. Sign up to create an account

Creating your user account on the registration portal will enable you to register your business name with CAC online.

So, click here or visit https://services.cac.gov.ng/signup to sign up.

You’ll see a form on the next page, which must be filled with your personal information to complete your account opening exercise.

– Pre-Registration Form (CAC-BNo1) Creating account on CAC Online Registration Portal

Fill the form as applied to you.

Pro tip:
Note that the email address you provide will be used to send your account confirmation link to you.

So, ensure you use a valid and active email address to avoid any glitch.

Once you’re done filling the form, click Register.

Then, go to your inbox and look for the confirmation email sent to you.

Open the email and click on the confirmation link to activate your account.

– CAC Account Opening (Pre-Registration) Verification

After confirming your account, you’ll be redirected to the CAC registration portal where you will see a congratulatory message as seen in the image below.

From that page (your account dashboard), you’ll move to the next step (Name Reservation).

#4. Reserve a name

To apply for your business name reservation, look through the menu bar on the dashboard and click on Name Reservation.

Once the menu opens, click on New Name Reservation.

You’ll see a short note, “Reserve your preferred company name here”. Click “here” as seen in the image below.

You’ll be directed to another page where you’ll have to carry out the following tasks in order to apply for your business name reservation:

  1. Choose the name and type of your business
  2. State your business objectives
  3. State presenter details
  4. Preview your application
  5. Make payment

Choose name and type

For “Name and Type” of business, see the image below and fill the form as applicable.

– CAC Business Name Reservation Form

There is an instruction right above the form, make sure you read it before filling the form.

When you’re done filling the form, click “Save and Continue” button to state your business objectives.

State your business objectives

You’ll have to state your business objectives here.

For “Reason for availability search”, select New Incorporation.

And for “Nature of Business”, click the list icon and look through the list and select option that mostly describes your business.

Then in the Additional Remarks box, write a short note about your business and click Save and Continue button to move to the next task.

State presenter details

By default, some of the information required here will be taken from your profile.

The presenter details are the information of the person registering the business name.

If you’re registering for someone, the presenter details have to be yours, while the business particulars must belong to the business owner.

For self registration, the presenter details have to remain yours by default.

So, to avoid inconsistency in the Presenter Details, take your time to crosscheck what is already taken and ensure all the information is complete and correct.

In case you need to edit the information, you’re free to do so.

When you’re done with the form, click Save and Continue to preview your application.

Preview your application

This will display all the information you have submitted so far in respect of your application, including your:

  • Company Details
  • Business Objectives
  • Presenter Details

In case there is an error, click the tab pointing to the page of the particular task that is having an error, then correct and save.

But if all the information as previewed is okay, you can proceed to make payment for your business name reservation.

Proceed to payment

The cost of business name reservation is ₦500.

To make that payment, you need to pay via Remita, by clicking the Remita button.

You’ll be automatically redirected to the Remita payment platform to complete the payment.

You don’t have to do anything other than clicking SUBMIT and do as prompted.

After the payment has been successfully made, your application for company or business name reservation would be submitted for approval.

Pro tip:
Note that you have only 60 days after application to reserve the proposed business name. If you fail to proceed to register the name within the stipulated time, your application will be canceled.

Generate payment receipt

So, right after paying for your business name reservation, proceed to print out your receipt.

You can find the feature on your dashboard.

Click the “Payment Receipt” button.

On the next page, the receipt would be generated.

Look towards the bottom-right of the page and click on the “Print” button.

You should be able to print out the receipt right away if your computer is already connected to a printer.

Otherwise, make a perfect snapshot of the page and take it to any business centre nearby to print.

Pro Tip:

Note that your application for reservation of name might take some time, which is within a week, before approval.

While waiting for the approval, you can’t take any further steps to register your company or business name with CAC online until you receive your business name availability approval notice.

#5. Generate name availability code

Your business name availability code is what you’re going to use to register your business name online.

The code will be automatically generated by CAC and sent to your email along side your name availability approval notice.

All you have to do is to check your email and be on the lookout until you get the approval notice sent to you.

Once you receive the notice, take note of the approved name and the code to proceed.

#6. Register your company

Login to your CAC account dashboard and click on Company Registration on the menu bar.

Meanwhile, the following steps will do:

  1. Click here or go to https://services.cac.gov.ng/login to login to your CAC account.
  2. When you land on your account, click Company Registration.
  3. On the next page, find the section that says “You have no company registration. Register a company with your availability code here” and click the green link “here” (see the image above).
  4. Enter your availability code in the form under New Company Registration and press Enter on your keyboard or wait for a few seconds for the result to load.
  5. The result will contain your approved business name and other personal information. Go through it and update your contact information.

Your company or business name registration begins here.

On the result page, click Reserve Name and you’ll be prompted to register your company by taking the following steps to complete the task:

  • Presenter details
  • Business details
  • Particulars of proprietors
  • Nature of business
  • Documents
  • Preview
  • Payment

On completion of one step, you’ll get to the other until you make payment.

Just as you did previously, pay via Remita, generate and download your receipt and any other document and print.

A sum of ₦10,000 will be charged for registering your company or business name.

So, make sure you have enough fund on your bank account.

#7. Receive your certificate

After registering your company, you’ll have to wait for a couple of days for the commission to process your business name registration.

In that case, login to your CAC account dashboard once in a while to check your registration status.

The status ranges from Not Submitted, Submitted, Pending Approval to Approved.

At this stage, what you need is the approval.

Once your application is approved,

And when your certificate is ready, you’ll receive an email from the commission to visit your document collection point.

This is the CAC branch office that you selected during the registration.

Conclusion

If it was your wish to know how to register your business name with CAC in Nigeria, I hope this guide would be of great help to you.

Most people didn’t want to register their businesses having consulted a lawyer and the bill was too much.

Meanwhile, the official fee of registering a company or business name isn’t costly.

As part of the effort of the government to create a sustainable economy for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria, the CAMA was recently amended.

Consequently, some of the requirements to register a business or company in Nigeria have been simplified.

It’s now possible for you to register your company online using the CAC online registration portal.

With such a new development, you should be able to register your business in Nigeria by yourself at a very low cost.

67 thoughts on “How to Register Your Business Name in Nigeria (2021), The Best Way”

  1. kayode olasunkanmi sunday

    Goodday sir,please how do i go about filling shareholders form,i fill it but is not going,is showing all alloted shares must be ordinary.

  2. Good day Mr. Lawal,

    Thank you for the helpful insight.
    I have read reviews that people have issues getting their payment of N10,000 for company registration confirmed and their CAC certificates.
    So, can you give instances of people who were successful with the whole process from start to finish?

    N/B: I have reserved a name but skeptical about completing the company registration online.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi, Simeon. If you have problem with CAC registration, you can hire to o the job for you. Thank you.

  3. Thanks so much for these insightful explanation,
    I’ve always taken CAC registration for a herculean task but you made it such a cake walk, Thanks.
    & ohh can you kindly assist me on a think or two? Like If I can perhaps reach you directly, been having some hitches, don’t know if its my network or something.

  4. Thank you! thank you! thank you! I have been looking for ways to register my business name and you just take me through the process thank you, God bless you. I have done the name reservation I am waiting for it to be approved thank you once again God bless you.

    1. Then you can count on us for a successful business registration. Contact us on 09075758093. Thank you!

  5. Thanks Mr. Rahman…you have done a wonderful job on your explanation. I have applied for business name registration by following your steps. I submitted my final application since May 19 but I have not received the approval after the payment of #10,000. It’s more than 2weeks now. How long does it take please

    1. It was good to hear the article helped you. Could you try and visit any nearby CAC office with your evidence of payment?
      Thanks

  6. Thank you for this well detailed info. My question is this, is it possible to Register a business name with just Name? I mean without indication the business in the name. Like, Dangote, Paul packer, Luis Voiton etc

  7. Thanks Mr. Lawal. It’s highly appreciated. Please I am registering for someone using my profile. I found out my name was added as the proprietor, what can I do to remove it ? As I am using a mobile phone.

    1. I would advise you access the site on a computer in order to see all features. You should be able to correct that error if you can navigate back to the beginning of the registration. Thank you too.

  8. Good Morning Mr Lawal. Thank you for taking out time to share this information. I registered with my phone hence I couldn’t see the location for certificate collection. please i have paid for registration with N10,000 after reserving the name, and up till now my dashboard is showing NOT SUBMITTED. Please what can I do?.????

    1. First of all, I would advise you not to access the CAC site using a phone because that will make some of the features of the site hidden on mobile view. Secondly, if you have actually paid and you have your evidence of payment (REMITA RECEIPT), go to the nearest CAC office to lodge your complaint. The registration will be taken from there. Thank you.

  9. please how long does it take for your registration to be approved and your business deemed registered? that is after you must have finished with everything

  10. Thanks a lot for this update, you really sacrificed time to do this. My question is: is it possible for my business name not to be verified even after i have confirmed to see its availability before reserving the name?

    1. It’s not. But can you tell us exactly what the problem is so we can give you a more accurate answer?

  11. Adenipekun Stephen

    Thank you for sharing this post.

    I have a question.

    I want to Register for a business for someone and I am not a proprietor or director of the business.
    I like to know how to do it without appearing in the proprietors list during registration.

  12. I recently concluded my business name registration . I got my certificate on my page however I could not find anywhere to download the other documents that comes with my picture and signature. How do I get the BN1 documents?. My Business name certificate came out two days ago.

    1. Make sure you are accessing your account via a computer so all features can be displayed. If that’s not working, visit CAC office that is close to you. Thank you.

  13. veeery thoughtful and valuable reasoning !!!
    thanks.
    pls if I may ask, what if I don’t av an office address ? how do I go about it in the form.
    secondly can u just pls brief me on making the business only me or that of a shareholder which is better?
    lastly, how many days at most will my certificate be ready.

    1. If you work from home, you can use your home address in place of an office address. Since the new amended Company ACT 2020, you can own a business in Nigeria without having to involve in anyone in having shares in your business. And think that is better since your business is not bigger than what you can fund by yourself. Lastly, you should get your certificate under 2 week under normal circumstances.
      Thank you.

  14. Thank you so much for taking out time to share this valuable information. It has helped a great deal. However, I have a problem please. My business name has been reserved and I proceeded to company registration. I’m am not sure what to select in the category of “nature of business”. I sell baking tools and equipment and I found nothing of such category on the list. Please help. What category do I select. Let me also add that it is a retail business. Thank you once again for the beneficial article.

    1. You don’t have to use the exact business category when registering your business name with CAC. In a situation where you don’t see exact category representing your business in the list, the system allows you to use a category that is close to your business.

      1. Karimat Bakare

        Thank you for your response Mr. Lawal. I have made payment for the registration but the status has been “pending approval” since 3rd of march. I have sent an email but I got no response. I also called the numbers on the website but no one picked. What would you suggest I do please?

        1. Hey, sorry about that. If you can locate any of their offices close to you, go there and show them your evidence of payment. They will solve the problem right away.

  15. I did my first registration and it’s way different from the second. The process looks different I had to upload signature, passport photo and valid identity card. Now it’s showing registered but am yet to see the certificate on my dashboard or get a message from a courier company like the first registration

    1. If you have paid for the certificate and still cant find it, kindly send a mail to CAC office reporting the error. Thank you.

    1. Those two name are no way the same. I think you can register two two. Just make sure their objectives are well spelt out.

  16. Raji Ibrahim Abolaji

    thanks so much,
    i have submitted the registration since last month and up-till now is till pending approval.

    1. That is strange. Please check very well if the payment was successful. If it was, you may send them an email querying the application. They will reply you and tell you the status. Thank you.

  17. Tnk u Mr Lawal, during my registration process, my application was queried and after I resolved the query by paying for the branch office address, it was queried again that I should pay some thousand naira for the branch address and yet I was still queried to pay naira for branch address. I got confused and frustrated. I decided to abandon it and now pls help me what should I do under such circumstances? The first one I exceeded the stipulated time of 60days, I know that money have gone. Tnk u.

    1. I’m sorry about that. If your last name registration is still valid, why don’t you visit their office and resolve the issue once and for all? Or if you have another name in mind, you can create a new account, start all over and make sure you don’t repeat your previous mistakes. Thank you!

  18. While registering my business name with CAC, where to pick up my certificate was not shown in this case what will I do?

    1. Could it be you were accessing the application with your phone. If that was the case, you need to use a computer.

  19. I found this post very useful. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with the public. Your service is highly appreciated.
    I have some questions. Can two different business names be registered? If yes, how do I go about that? Can I use the same account I have with CAC for the second business name reservation or would I have to create another account for it? Your timely response would be appreciated.

    1. Thanks for finding this post useful. And more so, your question and comment mean a lot to us. You don’t need to open different accounts for different business names. An existing account can be used to register as many business names as you want with CAC in Nigeria. Just go to your account and repeat the process for further business names.

  20. Hey Lawal Rahman ,

    Fantastic post with helpful tips to register the business name with corporate affairs commission of Nigeria. You have explained very nicely along with good points that are true enough to understand and are also making the concept very clear.

    Yes i completely agree with your words that Register the business name with Corporate Affairs Commission provides lot of benefits, As it helps people in opening a corporate bank account, securing the brand name & legal liability, verification of social media account and allows for accessing government loans. Register the business name with Corporate Affairs commission also build customer trust and also prevent people from police harassment. Your included requirements to register a business are so important and must be considered during the registration process. Your mentioned tips to register the business name with CAC are truly important and must be followed.

    After going through this complete guide i really got too many ideas and have also boosted my knowledge upto some limit.

    Eventually thanks for sharing your ideas, knowledge and such an informative post.

      1. Udeme Rivers, Esq.

        Good morning lawal, thanks for this insightful updates. Please, how can I edit the proprietor’s details on business name registration online before proceeding for payment?

        While filling the proprietor’s detail form, I chosed the option of hiding my residential address from the public not knowing it attracts a fee of 25,000 in addition to the 10,000 registration fee for business names. I now want to go back to the the proprietor’s details page to edit it and undo the option of hiding my address from the public but there is no option for doing so. What can I do in the circumstance, because I don’t want to pay such as outrageous amount for just registration of business name. Thanks.

        1. Oh, sorry about that. The best you could is to suspend the use of that account or profile and create a new one and make sure you don’t make the same mistake. Let me know if that fails.
          All the best.

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