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Business Licensing & Corporate Registration

Business Licensing & Corporate Registration

DCRA's Corporations Division serves as the Office of Corporate Registrar for the District of Columbia. The Corporations Division registers all entities, domestic (DC) or foreign (non-District) that conduct business in the District of Columbia.

This is the first step in business regulatory compliance. This registration is separate and must be done before entity applies for a business license, permit, tax registration or any other registration within the District.

Please, note that sole proprietors, general partnerships and unincorporated entities are not required to be registered with DCRA’s Superintendent of Corporations Office.

For more information on organizational registration, please, click on corporate registration link.

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.