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Business Licensing & Corporate Registration

DCRA’s Corporations Division has over 70,000 active registered entities. Registering your business filing entity such as corporation (for-profit or nonprofit), limited liability company, partnership (limited or limited liability), cooperative association (general or limited) or business trust is the very first step in business regulatory compliance. Please, refer to the links below for registering domestic or foreign entity. Please, note that sole proprietors, general partnerships and unincorporated entities are not required to be registered with DCRA’s Superintendent of Corporations Office.

The DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) licenses more than 30,000 small businesses citywide more than 150 different categories and enforces regulations and licenses more than 125 occupations and professional licensing categories. In order to operate legally in District of Columbia, most businesses must get a Basic Business License (BBL) or a Professional License from the DCRA.

Getting your license, however, is typically one of the final things you need to do when starting a business - not the first. If you're just getting started, please review the links below for a step-by-step guide on how to start a business in the District of Columbia or read through the application information for obtaining the Basic Business License or Professional License.