Procedure For License

A. Process for Sole Proprietorship/Single Ownership Business.

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  1. Verify the name you selected is available and exclusive to your business at MOTIT Trade Department who has the database of all the registered and licensed businesses in nationwide since 1991;
  2. Application Letter for the type of license to MOTIT;
  3. Two passport size recent photos of the applicant;
  4. Copy of Somaliland National Identity Card of the applicant;
  5. Permit letter from Line Ministry in case your business is Indirect Trade and under certain categories that require permit from respective Line Ministries;
  6. Articles of Association of the Business (English and Somali versions) signed by the Applicant (And no approval from Public Notary is needed when it is single ownership);
  7. List of the Fixed Assets (If any and optional);
  8. Complete Application Form (Available at    the Trade Department, and sign it;
  9. Payment of SL Shillings 400,000 to MOTIT;
  10. Registration Certificate from the State Attorney General Office;
  11. Original copy of Chamber of Commerce Membership Certificate (Optional);
  12. Original Receipt of the respective license fee and Tax Clearance from the Inland

Revenue Department of the Ministry of Finance Development, and it is paid upon a referral letter which MOTIT writes to the applicant;

  1. Then a business license valid for one year will be issued for the applicant;
  2. The whole process may take one or two days and it may sometimes depend on

      how the Applicant gets the Permit issued particularly in case of indirect trade.

B.     Process for Partnership/Shareholders (Company). 

  1. The process for registering partnership or shared business is the same process as with the Sole Proprietorship stated above except that the Articles of Association of the Company (Stating the partnership, business name, shareholders, shares allotted, location etc) is needed to be approved by Authorized Public Notary in Somaliland;
  2. In case the partnership is joint venture (National and foreign investor), approval certificate from the Ministry of Investment Promotion, and specially Passport Copy of the foreigner are required as well;
  3. The rest of the process is the same as with the Sole Proprietorship stated

Registration with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture:

Only registered business by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Tourism can apply membership of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture and the process is follows:-

  1. Complete Application Form (Available at the Chamber Office), and sign it;
  2. One passport size recent photo of the company chairman;
  3. Copy of Somaliland National Identity Card of the chairman;
  4. Articles of Association of the business (English and Somali versions) approved by authorized Public Notary in case it is shared business or company;
  5. Registration fee of SL Shillings 400,000;
  6. The Chamber of Commerce Membership Certificate will be issued for your business;
  7. Annual renewal fee of this certificate is SL Shillings 400,000;
  8. This process may take only one day or two

The One-Stop-Shop Service (Adeegga Daaqada Kaliya ama Habka Adeegga Sahlan):

 The absence of one-stop-shop service has long been difficult for the citizens establishing new businesses, and actually it still exists in different parts in the public service delivery whereas it is the most complicated at municipalities. However, it has been very good news for all those who have the dreams to create businesses in Somaliland, when the Minister of Trade, Industry & Tourism (MOTIT), and the Minister of Finance Development (MOFD) jointly launched One-Stop-Shop Service Office officially established within the compound of MOTIT in Hargeisa in May 2019.

The One-Stop-Stop Service has simply introduced to bring together those offices of the new business registration, taxation, and licensing that are MOTIT, MOFD, and the National Attorney General at one place. It easing time, and addressing the more red-tapism and which different offices serving same purpose at different institutions.

Main Objectives of the One-Stop-Shop Service: 

  • Improve and ease formal registration and licensing of businesses;
  • Protect business names and brands for the right owners;
  • Reduce disputes between businesses over names and brands;
  • Improve data collection for related research and planning purposes;
  • Promote accountability and transparency;
  • Improve government’s revenue and fee collections;
  • Help enforce the Government’s Administrative Acts;
  • Help Diaspora and foreign investors to register their 

COMING SOON: the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Tourism (MoTIT) of the Republic of Somaliland is planning to establish online One- Stop-Shop Registration Process to further advance and facilitate the service delivery.

Direct Trade & Indirect Trade.

Combining Commercial Licenses in Somaliland:

According to the Presidential Decree No. No JSL/XM/WM/249-11/012018 of the     Procedural

Law     for Establishing Delineation of Somaliland Government Statutory Independent Institutions gazetted shortly after the election of the current President H.E. Muse Behi Abdi, only the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Tourism is mandated to issue business licenses (Shati Ganacsi) whilst all the other Ministries or Institutions can only issue Permits (Ruqsad Ganacsi) to the businesses of relevance with their authorities, but cannot issue any License at all to any kind of profit oriented business. This has been a significant decree of merging the business licenses despite there is still some reluctance of certain MDAs to transferring  this responsibility of relevant businesses licenses nidaamiyaha_Dhismaha_Wasaaradaha_iyo_Hay_adaha_Xukuumadd a_Lr.01-2018.pdf

Only the Ministry of Trade, Industry, & Tourism is responsible for registering and licensing all types and categories of businesses in Somaliland in accordance with the laid trade regulatory framework and commercial laws of the country, and after considering business permits (Sectoral license) issued by other pertinent Ministries and Public Institutions for certain industries. 

What is Direct Trade?

An indirect trade is referred to the types of businesses that are not in nature related to other statutory governmental authority’s mandate other than MOTIT both for registration/permitting and licensing which may include varied categories in the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), i.e. common wholesale and import of common goods and so many businesses coming under the the categories Museum & Trade Fair, Apartments, Miscellaneous services, Real Estate & Maintenance services, Professional and other common services. All such businesses are directly licensed by MoTIT and without requirement of Permit from other Ministries. 

What is Indirect Trade?

 The types of businesses that for Licensing necessarily require Permit from other Ministries are referred to as indirect trade and these include various businesses coming under the sectors or categories of Education, Health, Fishery, Agriculture, Livestock,  Minerals, Energy, Environment, Shipping, Travel, Security, Media & Telecommunication, E-business or ICT, and other categories in the Real Estate, Manufacturing or in other industries. Any applicant willing to register and license any kind of the above specified will be asked to apply for Permit/Approval from the respective Line Ministry after verification of his/her documents by MoTIT.


  • You cannot go and get the Permit from the Line Ministry before contacting MOTIT because the Trade Department will first verify your application documents, and your selected name for exclusivity, and then will write you Referral Note to the Respective Ministry or the other Government Institution your business relates to;
  • There are certain Ministries who despite providing PERMITS also issue LICENSES to certain businesses as well as professional knowledge certifications that are in line to their mandate including the Ministry of Transports & Roads Development, Ministry of Public Works, Land & Housing, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Livestock & Fishery Development, and Ministry of Energy & Minerals;
  • For further clarification, please refer to the Table under this link Different Permits & Licenses and Respective Issuing Authorities.

Check & Reserve Exclusive Name.

It is the first step in the registration process for both applying commercial licenses and for the nonprofit organizations to make exclusive name for your business or organization. Don’t print the name in the documents you are submitting before making sure it is available name for you. This is because thousands of licenses are already issued to businesses at MoTIT and similarly thousands of certificates are issued nonprofit organizations at MP&ND. Therefore, particularly for the commercial license, you have to go to or contact the MoTIT Trade Department who has the database of all the issued licenses since 1991. The Trade Department will also offer free information and guidance in regards to the registration process and requirements for commercial license and about the investment opportunities as well. 

Need Help, Get Connected.

The Somaliland Diaspora Office (SLDO) under the Ministry of Office Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation (MoFA&IC) of the Republic of Somaliland is established to serve Somaliland Diaspora when they are at home and when they are abroad as well. The Office has launched Diaspora Business Support Section whilst the tasks of information management, communication and coordination are major components of SLDO functions and core programs.  

Therefore, for your information, queries and in case of encountering difficulties in getting services or getting to know services, guidance and or in need of technical assistance, please visit us at Office inside the compound of MoFA&IC in Hargeisa or contact us via dialing Phone Numbers 063 4403392 / 063 4081527 or emailing to,,