Business License Tanzania - How to Obtain It

Business License Tanzania – How to Obtain It

Tanzania’s main Act governing business licensing processes is the 1972 Business Licensing Act Number 25. The Act states that no entity may conduct business in Tanzania unless it holds a valid business license granted by the relevant Authority. Two authorities give Business Licenses in Tanzania: Class “A” receive their licenses from the Business Registration and Licensing Agency, while Class “B” receive their licenses from the Local Government Authorities (LGA).

Requirements for Getting a Tanzania Business License

To be issued a license, any entity must have:

  • Obtained a Commercial Premise by Owning or Renting a Premises
  • Apply to the Business Registration and Licensing Agency to register a business or company name (BRELA).
  • Obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from TRA (Tanzania Revenue Authority).
  • Obtain a permit to operate in the sector by registering with the Sector Ministry/Agency.
  • Apply for a Business License through the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment (MITI) of the LGAs
  • Pay the Business License Fee based on the kind of business through the bank.

Application Prerequisites for a license from MITI and LGAs (City Councils, District, Municipal/Town) Business Licenses:

Brela Tanzania
Brela Tanzania
  • Fill out the business license application form Tanzania (TFN 211).
  • Attach a photocopy of the Certificate of Incorporation (for a Company) or the Certificate of Registration and Extract (for Business Names).
  • Attach a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association demonstrating that the company’s purposes enable it to undertake the business being applied for, Shareholders and Directors of the Company, among other things;
  • Proof of citizenship by attaching a copy of a passport, affidavit, or birth certificate; in the case of foreigners, a copy of a Class A Residence Permit demonstrating the holder as an investor in the business/company.
  • If the company’s stockholders are non-residents, please attach the Powers of Attorney to Residence/Citizen.
  • Proof that the applicant has a suitable business establishment for the business asked for, such as a title deed copy, tenancy agreement, and so on.
  • Proof of Tax Payment Registration with TRA by providing a TIN Certificate copy and Clearing certificates for Business License Tax;

Evidence of Permit/Registration from the Authority regulating that sector, such as

  1. Tourist Agency License (TAL) provided by the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources for Tour operators, Tourist Lodges and Hotels, Tourist Agents, Photographic Safaris, Car Rental, Hunting Safaris, Car Hire, Tourist Campsites, Air Ticketing/Travel Agents, Tour Guides, Balloon Safaris, Mountain Climbing, Handling Agents, Air Charter Services (Verify from TCAA), Curio shops.
  2. Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA) Insurance Licenses for Assurance and Insurance Businesses, Loss and Underwriting Assessment, Insurance Agents, Insurance Brokers.
  3. Banking License provided by BoT for Banking, Microfinance Institutions and Bureau De Change.
  4. Stock and Capital Exchange Licenses from the Capital Market and Security Authority (CMSA) for Stock Exchange Broker Businesses
  5. Broadcasting and Telecommunication Licenses provided by Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority for businesses involving Telecommunication services and Equipment, Courier and Postal Services, Television and Radio Broadcasting (Licenses for Frequency), Internet Service Providers, Network Facilities, Internet cafe, Network services, Content Services, Application Services, Importation and Distribution of Numbering resources and Equipment, Maintenance and Installation of Telecoms
  6. Mining Licenses provided by the Ministry of Minerals and Energy for businesses involving Mineral Legislation, Mineral Prospecting, Mining Business and Mineral Inspection or Reconnaissance
  7. Explosive Dealers License provided by the Ministry of Minerals and Energy for businesses that provide explosive services to Companies and mining sites.
  8. TRA provided Customs Agency License (CAL) for the enterprises of Bonded Warehouses, Clearing and Forwarding, as well as Inland Container Depots (ICDs).
  9. Medical Devices and Medicine Permit provided by the Tanzania Medicine and Medical Devices for Foods, Medicines/Drugs, Beverages, Medical Devices, Cosmetics, Narcotic Products Business and Pharmaceuticals.
  10. Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) Industrial License for Manufacturing, Processing, in Light and Heavy Industries.
  11. Shipping License issued by the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC) for the following businesses: shipping, cargo handling, shipping agents, harbour and port operators, cargo evaluation and tallying, and water sport amenities.
  12. Land Transport Licenses provided by the Surface and Marine Transportation Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) to Railway Operators, Cargo De-Consolidation and Consolidation, Freight Forwarders, Road Transportation of Goods and Passengers, Railway Transportation
  13. Airworthiness Permits and Certificates provided by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) to Businesses involving Air Transport Services, Aerial Work, Air Charter, Air Balloons, as well as Ground Handling
  14. Merchant License issued by Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to Ship Chandlers, Lighterage and Stevedoring, Miscellaneous Port Services.
  15. Electricity License issued by Water and Energy Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) for Production and Supply of Electricity, Provision of Standby Generators, and Electrical Contractors.
  16. Petroleum Dealers License issued by EWURA to Businesses dealing in Refining Crude Oil, Importing and Selling Petroleum Products, Petrol Products Wholesale and Retail;
  17. Water Dealers License issued by EWURA for Water Supply and Production, Water Sewerage Services, Water Marketing and Sales, Sewerage Disposal Transmission.
  18. Water Drilling Permit issued by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation for enterprises of Water Supply and Drilling;
  19. Gaming license from the Tanzania Gaming Board for the operation of casinos, Lotteries, slot machines, and betting games, gaming equipment manufacture, and the distribution and sale of gaming devices and accessories.
  20. Ammunition Dealers License issued by Tanzania Policy and Defence Force (TPDF) for Businesses selling or Dealing Ammunition and Arms;
  21. The individual Crop Boards issue Crop Board Permits to firms that deal with crops like cotton, pyrethrum, coffee, tea, sisal and cashew.
  22. Export Permits provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries for the export of such items
  23. Professional certificates from the relevant professional boards are required for businesses that provide professional services, such as contractors (From Contractors Registration Board), engineers, dispensaries, hospitals, advocates, ship captains, pilots, and so on.

The Business Registration and Licensing Agency issues business licenses (BRELA). Aside from the requirements listed above, the following licenses need to apply for license registration from the Licensing Officer/Committee.

Exportation Transporting Passengers/Goods by Road
Importation Maintenance and Installation of Telecommunication devices
Telephone Services Selling Telecommunication Equipment
E-Commerce Internet Café (Emails, Telefax, Fax)
Internet Surfing Silver and Gold Smith
Internet Service Providers Gemstone/Mineral Dealer
Telecommunication Services Electricity production and its distribution
Urban Water Supply Stations for Generating Electricity
Watter Supply and Drilling Gas and Mineral Prospecting/Survey
Aviation and Marine fuel Supply Gas and Mineral Drilling
Services to Drilling and Mining companies Gas/ Mineral Explorations
Brokers Property Management
Auctioneers Property Development
Motor Vehicle Dealers Management of Real Estate
Commision Agents Real Estate Agents
Manufacturer Representatives Real Estate Development
Gambling Re-Assurance and Endowment
Betting Slot Machines Loss Assessment and Underwriting
Casino Insurance Broker
Night Clubs Assurance and insurance
Explosive Dealers Social Security Broker
Ammunition Equipment and Arms Production Social Security Agents
TV Broadcasting Providers of Social Security
TV Stations Stock Exchange Broker
Radio Broadcasting Stock Exchange
Radio Station Management of Credit Cards
Mailing Agents Credit Reference Bureau
Courier Services Hire Purchase and Mortgage
Post Offices Capital Markets
Custom Bonded Warehouses Micro Credits
Freight Forwarders Microfinance Institutions
Clearing and Forwarding Bureau De Change
Bagging Services Banking Brokers
Airport and Harbour Management Banking Agents
Lightering and Stevedoring Cooperative Banking
Miscellaneous Port Services Commercial Banking
Ship Chandlers Tourism Promotion Services
Pre-shipment Inspection Hunting Safari
Cargo Superintendence Photographic Safaris
Cargo Valuation Car Hires and Car Renting
Cargo Handling Camps and Camping
Cargo Tallying Tourist Lodges
Shipping Agency Tourist Hotels
Shipping Air ticketing
Transport Logistics Tourist Agents
Railway Transportation Tour Operators
Marine Transportation Refining Crude Oil
Transporting passengers/ goods by Air Processing and Manufacturing

District, Municipal/Town, or City Council Business Licenses

Aside from the requirements stated above, the following licenses must be registered with the Licensing Office at the relevant District, Municipal/Town, or City Council:

Commercial Fishery/Animal Husbandry/ Farming Entertainment Halls
Recreational Grounds/ areas Selling Agricultural Products within Tanzania
Itinerate Trade Insurance Agent
Super Markets Ordinary Guest House and Hotels and Restaurants
Telephone Services Specified Professionals
Small Scale Selling and Manufacturing Guest Houses/ Ordinary Hotels
Development and Research Services Wholesale
Maintenance and installation Services Grocery
Organized Concerts, Events and Exhibition Restaurants
Bathrooms and Public Toilets Pubs and Bars
Day Care Centers Pharmacies
Private Schools Pharmaceutical sales
Broker Health Centers
Waste Management Dispensaries
Car Parks Hospitals
Cosmetics Transportation Agents/Offices
Publishing and Printing of Newspapers and Books Civil Contractors
Provisional and Stores Shops Mechanical Contractors
Work of Arts and Hand Crafts Electrical Conductors
Barber Shops Building Contractors
Gyms Wholesale Trade
SPAs and Beauty Salons Co-operatives Societies
Stationeries and Bookshop Regional Trading Companies
Machine tools and Selling Spare parts Selling and Buying Motor Vehicles
Professional Contractors Itinerant Trade
Departmental Stores Auctioneer

Any other enterprise that is not of an international/national scope or that is not preceded/governed by policy

Online Business License Tanzania

In Tanzania, the Business Registration and Licensing Agency (BRELA) is responsible for business registration and licensing. To start an online business, you would typically need to follow these general steps:

1. Business Name Registration: Register your business name with BRELA to ensure its uniqueness and compliance with legal requirements.

2. Business Incorporation: Determine the appropriate legal structure for your business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company. Register your business accordingly with BRELA.

3. Tax Registration: Obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) by completing the necessary tax registration forms.

4. Online Business License: Visit the BRELA office or their online portal to apply for an online business license. You will need to provide relevant information about your business, such as its nature, objectives, and financial projections.

5. Compliance and Documentation: Ensure that you meet any additional requirements specific to your business sector, such as obtaining specific permits, certifications, or clearances.

It’s important to note that the licensing process and requirements can vary based on the type of online business you are planning to operate, such as e-commerce, online services, or digital content distribution. Different sectors may have their own set of regulations and requirements, so it’s advisable to research and consult with professionals familiar with Tanzanian business laws.

Remember to verify the current procedures and regulations by directly contacting the relevant authorities, such as BRELA or consulting with a business lawyer or consultant in Tanzania.

For additional information on how to get a business license in Tanzania including the renewal of business license in Tanzania, Please contact:

Office of Business Licensing


Postal Adress 9393

Tanzania, Dar es Salaam

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