On August 1, 2023, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced that all applications for business name registration shall be 100% online moving forward. This is important news for entrepreneurs starting a new business, as well as entrepreneurs that need to renew their business name registrations.
The good news is online business name registration is easier than in-person registration at DTI offices. With a unique choice of business name and a quick online payment, you can complete the registration in an hour or less. You’ll also get your Certificate of Business Name Registration (CBNR) via email within seven (7) calendar days.
What is business name registration and why is it important?
Business name registration is one of the first steps in establishing a business in the Philippines. It is required by law and gives you exclusive rights to use your business name for five (5) years. It makes it illegal for others to use your business name within your coverage area — preventing confusion among your customers. Lastly, it gives you a Certificate of Business Name Registration (CBNR). It is one of the requirements you’ll need to open a bank account, apply for business permits, and conduct other transactions related to your business.
Take note that a business name registration is different from a business permit. Business name registration is done under DTI’s Business Name Registration System (BNRS) to give your business its legal name. A business permit, also known as a mayor’s permit, is obtained from your local government unit (LGU) and gives you permission to operate your business.
What is DTI BNRS and what services can I access?
DTI’s Business Name Registration System (BNRS) is the online portal where entrepreneurs can register their business names. To access the portal, visit https://bnrs.dti.gov.ph/.
You can access the following services on the BNRS portal:
- Online business name registration. This covers new registration of business names, creation of reference codes, and online payment to confirm your registration.
- DTI business name search. A service that lets you search for existing business names to ensure that your desired business name is not already taken.
- Download of Certificate of Business Name Registration (CBNR). After completing your online business name registration, you can download your CBNR on the BNRS portal using your reference code.
- Renewal of business name registration. To renew your business name registration in the BNRS portal, choose Business Name Services > Renewal. You will be asked to enter your reference code or transaction reference number. From here, choose “Renew and Update Info” and pay the renewal fee.
- Request for Certification Related to the Certificate of BN Registration. You may request for a certification of another business’s CBNR at Business Name Services > Request Certification. If you can’t find the specific business name in the portal, you may also request a negative certification.
What are the requirements for Business Name Registration at BNRS DTI?
1. Your business name
DTI requires a business name to have two portions: a dominant name and a descriptor.
- A dominant name refers to the main identifying words or numerals attached to your business name, such as the “Andok’s” in Andok’s Manok or ”Lola Nena’s” in Lola Nena’s Bakery. It can consist of a word, group of words, or a combination of letters and numbers.
- A descriptor is a word or group of words describing the nature of your business, i.e. “barbecue”, “laundry services”, or “marketing consulting”.
DTI business name search is a DTI BNRS online tool that you can use to check if your business name is still available. We’ll cover more of DTI’s guidelines in the “how to choose a business name” section.
2. DTI registration fee
The registration fee for new registrations and renewals costs the same. The final amount depends on the territorial scope of your business:
- Php 200 for barangay
- Php 500 for city/municipality
- Php 1000 for regional
- Php 2000 for national
3. Documentary stamp tax (DST) of Php 30
Supporting documents are also required for foreign nationals, refugees, and stateless people, such as a certificate of authority to engage in business. These documents must first be submitted at any physical DTI office prior to online registration.
How to complete your business name registration with BNRS DTI
- Go to the DTI BNRS portal (https://bnrs.dti.gov.ph/) and click on the "Register Now" button. You will be redirected to the New Registration page. After reading the terms and conditions, click “I Agree” to proceed.
- Fill out the online application form with the requested personal information and click “Next”.
- Choose your territorial scope and enter the dominant name of your business. On the Descriptor section, type keywords that describe your business until you find a match. The system will automatically verify if your proposed business name is available; click “Proceed” to claim your business name.
- A Reference Code will be assigned to you. Make sure to save it since the BNRS portal will request it for all your future transactions.
- Click “Continue” and complete the rest of the registration form with your business information. Review the accomplished form presented to you and and click “Confirm”. Next, review the Undertaking agreement and click “Proceed”.
- Choose your preferred payment method fee from DTI Teller, GCash, PayMaya, Landbank, or Credit/Debit Card. Make sure to pay within seven (7) calendar days from the date of your application; otherwise, your name registration will be nullified.
- After paying, wait for your name application to be approved. The Certificate of Business Name Registration will then be sent to your email.
Upon receiving your CNBR, make sure to print a copy and display it prominently in your business premises. You can also check out BNRS DTI’s new business name registration video guide.
How to choose a unique business name for DTI BNRS registration
With business name registrations in 2022 hitting an all-time high of 932,097, finding a unique business name can be tricky. To make things easier, DTI BNRS has an online tool called DTI business name search (https://bnrs.dti.gov.ph/search) to help you search existing business names.
Furthermore, DTI BNRS has the following business name guidelines to prevent rejection from the BNRS portal:
- Must describe the nature of your business. This applies specifically to the Descriptor portion of your business name. On the BNRS portal, the descriptors are industries and sectors based on Philippine Statistics Authority’s **Philippine Standard Industrial Classification** (PSIC).
- Must consist of any alphabet, number, and/or punctuation mark in English or Filipino.
- Must not be similar to an existing trademark, such as “Anne Dok’s Lechon,” “Jolibee,” and "Starbax Café”.
- Must not be too generic, such as “The Coffee Shop” for a café.
- Must have no abbreviation similar to a government agency or international organization, i.e. NBI Private Investigation Services or DTI Trading.
- Must not use illegal and offensive words, such as “Boobs Massage and Spa”.
- Must not be suggestive of the quality of any product or service, such as “Best Ihaw-Ihaw” or “Top 1 Computer Repair Shop”.
- Must not mislead or misrepresent the nature of the business. An example is a business name using the name of a person unrelated to the business, or a business called “Manufacturing” when the nature of their business is “laundry”.
Other FAQs on business name registration
What is the validity of my business name registration with DTI?
The business name registration is valid for five (5) years from the date of registration.
How do I pay the registration fee online?
BNRS accepts online payments from GCash, Paymaya, and credit/debit card. You can also pay over the counter at 7-11, Bayad Center, or Landbank LinkBiz.
How do I get my Certificate of Business Name Registration (CBNR) after registration?
You’ll receive your certificate via email, but you can also download a copy on the BNRS DTI portal. Just choose Business Name Services > Transaction Inquiry and input your reference code from registration. From there, you can access your certificate in Downloadable Contents.
I didn’t receive a reference code, or need additional assistance from BNRS DTI.
Check if the reference code was sent to your spam or junk email. If you are sure the email you provided is active, you may contact DTI BNRS at email@example.com for assistance.
Can I cancel my reserved business name?
Yes. On the DTI BNRS portal, choose Business Name Services > Transaction Inquiry and input your reference code from registration. Click your business name and scroll down until you see Cancel Transaction. This will cancel your reserved BN and reference code.
Can I change my territorial scope in the BNRS DTI portal?
Yes. The change will take effect as a new application, which includes the issuance of a new Certificate of BN Registration and a new validity period.
Can I use “company”, “corporation”, “incorporated” or “cooperative” in the business name?
No. Only partnerships or corporations registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can use the words “company”, “corporation” or “incorporated” as part of their business name. “Cooperative” can only be used by cooperatives registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
When should I renew my business name registration?
You may renew as early as one hundred eighty (180) calendar days prior to the expiration date. Penalty-free regular filing can be done within ninety (90) calendar days after the expiration of your registration.
Late filing, which is defined as ninety (90) calendar days after the regular filing period, will incur a surcharge of 50% of your registration fee. All registrations not renewed within the late filing period are automatically canceled and made available for registration by other parties.
Summary: Online business name registration with BNRS DTI
DTI’s move to make all future business name registrations 100% online may be daunting for entrepreneurs struggling with technology. But don’t be discouraged: aside from decongesting lines at DTI offices, the BNRS DTI portal makes the registration process faster, simpler, more affordable, and more convenient. BNRS DTI’s business name search tool will also help you create a unique business name, which is an important advantage in your marketing and permit applications.
Good luck and we hope this guide helps you complete your business registrations! If you need anything else for your business, especially with extending your working capital or finding the best options for business loans, visit the First Circle blog to learn more.