Sample Copy of a BR-1 form

A business permit is a government-issued authorization allowing you to operate a business. It is a legal requirement that any business owner must have. In Kenya, the county governments in each county are mandated to issue single business permits to different businesses operating within the counties. The business permit is issued once and then renewed annually by the County Government. You can apply through the County’s portal https://garissa.go.ke/ova_doc/business-license-application/

A business caught operating without a license could be forced to cease operations. In some cases, once the licenses are attained, the business is free to reopen. But in some instances, a business might have to wait out a mandatory probationary period, or worse, a city can refuse to grant a license to the business.

In this article, you will learn the reason why you need a business permit, how to get a business permit, what You Need to Get a Business Permit, and how to Renew Your Business Permit.

Why Do You Need a Business Permit?

  • It is a legal requirement.
  • Helps the County Government raise revenue.
  • Allows foreigners residing in Kenya to prove that they are in the country legally and registered the company as per Kenyan law.
  • The company can act as security when a business owner needs a loan to run the business. Also. when looking for sponsors or donors for your company, a permit will be a very welcome document to show them how serious you are about your venture.
  • Without the work permit document, you will not be able to apply for government tenders and hence cannot do transactions with the government.

 How Do You Get a Business Permit?

The registration of business permits at the county level is done by the county revenue authorities. In Dadaab, the Garissa County Government is responsible for registering businesses within the County. This is done by the Department of Revenue Management, through the County Revenue Office, which is responsible for registering business and giving business permits. The registration is done using the prescribed form and the billing is done per the Finance Act. https://kra.go.ke/images/publications/The-Finance-Act--2023.pdf

For one to have a business permit one must have a business registration certificate. A Business Registration Certificate is a document issued after the completion of the business registration process. Registration of businesses has applicable fees which vary depending on the size and nature of the business.

To obtain a business registration certificate, the following are the requirements:

  • A copy of a valid Refugee ID
  • A Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Personal Identification Number (Pin) Certificate
  • Present copies of 3 passport sized photos
  • A list of 3 suggested names for the business for a name search process
  • Provide contact details of the business as well as the location of the business and the names and details of the directors.

What Do You Need to Get a Business Permit?

Once one has reserved a business name and registered the name, the following are steps to obtain a business permit in Dadaab Refugee Camp. It is important to note that the procedure varies in each county.

1. Visit the nearest sub-county revenue office in either Dadaab or Fafi Sub County to make your application for a new business permit.

2. Acquire a BR-1 application form from the sub-county licensing officer to fill out and submit.

3. Fill in the required information and attach the following documents to the BR-1 form.

  • Registered Business Name
  • Physical address of the Business
  • Business Identification Number
  • Copy of the certificate of Incorporation
  • A copy of the applicant's National ID/Refugee ID

4. After submission, the licensing officer will visit your business premises to carry out inspections.

5. The information obtained by the inspection visit will determine the fees to charge for the permit depending on the size of the business, inventory, and the type of products one is selling.

Note: Individuals planning to set up health-related businesses, will be required to undergo an inspection of the business premises to ensure that the standards match the required health standards and hygiene facilities are in place and provide health clearance certificates for workers in the food service industry.

6. The BR-1 form is then stamped and you will be referred to the main county licensing office.

7. An invoice bill is generated after which payment is made at the cash office.

Charges for a single business permit per type of business

Type of Business Name of LicenseFees (KES)
Mega Store, HypermarketSingle Business Permit90,000
Large Trader, Shop, Retail Store, or Personal ServiceSingle Business Permit8,000
Medium Trader, Shop or Retail ServiceSingle Business Permit4,000
Small Trader, Shop or Retail ServiceSingle Business Permit2,000

(However, these charges might change, depending on various factors like size, Number of employees, etc)

8. Upon payment, the work license is signed, and you are required to collect it from a dispatch office. For someone who already has the needed documents, this can take a maximum of 2 hours.

9. Once you have acquired the permit, display it on your business premises as the law requires.

How Do You Renew Your Business Permit?

Business permit renewal is simple and is done annually. Follow the procedure below when renewing your single business permit:

  •  Provide a copy of the previous license to the licensing officer.
  • County officials at the cash office will inform you of the cost for renewal, depending on the type of business you will pay the amount.
  •  Take the stamped Br-1 form to the main office for approval.
  • The main office fills the information in the work authorization database.
  • You will be given an invoice and a signed authorization.
  • Display the renewed license at your premises.


When Using the E-Citizen platform, eCitizen you can easily renew your work license. Just click on renew and head to the check status link. You will be able to see the status of your company and the amount to be paid for business permit renewal. Follow the procedure to pay and renew after which you will print your license.


For more Legal assistance and information on the business, permits contact Norwegian Refugee Council Dadaab at 0110014910.

If you have any questions, please write to us via the  Julisha.Info Facebook page or chat with us on WhatsApp (+254110601820) Monday through Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.