Initial registration of companies and business entities

Prior to register a company or business entity, it is necessary to do its name clearance. The name clearance is the process of checking for the existence (or non-existence) of the proposed company or business name. It is necessary to be done to ensure that the name proposed for the new company or business, and finally accepted for registration, does not already exist or it is not confusingly similar or misleading to the public. This is not a mandatory procedure, but it is strongly recommended, taking into consideration that this will save time and money spent on unsuccessful name reservation attempts. The name clearance is an electronic service provided by The Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA).

A maximum of three names can be proposed while applying for name clearance. The names will be considered in the order of listing. If the first choice is turned down the second or third name may be considered. Once the name is accepted, it is automatically reserved for a period of 30 days. After 30 days the name clearance expires.

If for some reason the name cleared and approved cannot be used immediately, the name reservation must be requested. The name will be reserved only upon payment of a fee, for a period of ninety (90) days from the date of approval.

To register a new company or business entity, the procedures that must be followed are:

  1. Name clearance (recommended)
  2. Name reservation (if necessary)
  3. Name registration (performed directly by PACRA on their side)

After successful name clearance, one can register a:

  • Business Name
  • Local Company
  • Foreign Company

Operations with existing companies and business entities

Regarding existing companies and business entities, it is possible to check their current status and ask for information about and/or kept by these.

The information kept by Companies and the Business Names Registry is open to the public. Any member of the public can peruse any record, requesting the Certificate of Existence of the company, upon payment of a search fee. 

By requesting an Annual Return – it is possible to obtain a yearly statement that provides essential information about a company’s status. It gives a record of the nature of the company’s business, the location of its premises, its directors, secretary, and members, among others.

The permits intended for Business initiation are available online on the Government Electronic Services Portal – ZamServices portal ( start filling in the electronic forms online, perform payment for the requested service online and receive the expected results online as well.

The applications for e-services intended to initiate a business or to register a new company are received and processed by The Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), which in turn, issues the requested permits. PACRA is empowered to issue different permits relevant to this domain, such as:

  • Name clearance
  • Name reservation
  • Name registration
  • No-Change Annual return
  • Certificate of existence (printout) and others

For more information, please, address to PACRA using the following contacts:

Head Office
Plot No. 8471, PACRA House,
Haile Selassie Avenue, Longacres,
P.O. Box 32020, Lusaka, Zambia

(+260) 211 255151, 255127
(+260) 255426


The beneficiaries of business initiation e-services are Zambian citizens or immigrants willing to initiate the registration of a new business in Zambia, either they need to register a new local or foreign company or a new business name.

Related categories

Reporting & Taxes

Public electronic services related to companies information retrieval

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