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When they want to send you crazy!

I daresay that it is far easier to rent a business in Trinidad and Tobago than to register one. A process that seems run-of-the-mill and is in fact obligatory where one is desirous of bidding for and or receiving government contracts, can be downright frustrating, even in our present Digital Era. What do you think?

The first part of getting your business registered is to visit the official website ( of the Ministry of Legal Affairs in Trinidad and Tobago- it's a requirement. At present, Legal Affairs falls under the auspices of The Office of the Attorney-General and Legal Affairs, as opposed to being an entirely separate ministry.

Sounds simple enough? Yes, it is, so far, provided that of course, you have an Internet-ready device, have access to a reliable Internet connection, and also know how to navigate the system with ease.

Next, according to the above website, you have to create a Companies Registry Account (CRA) to access the Companies Registry Online System (CROS). In other words, you'll likely need to create a username and password for complying with this requirement, as well as you might need a valid email address through which a confirmation message of your username and password will be sent to that account. Hopefully, you are quite savvy in this regard, or have relatives who are more adept in this endeavour than you and would therefore be able to assist you while refraining from pulling out their hair.

Once you have created your CRA, you then log into the CRA, to activate your account the every first time you login. Here is where it starts to get quite interesting: when you have to choose a business name, or as described more formally on the website, "Application for Name Approval/Name Reservation to ensure the availability and suitability of the name".

Mind you, the name can't be, 'too simple', or it can be rejected, even if 'no-one else has registered their business with that name', and regardless of whether using a particular name carries some significant or equally sentimental value for you, less a query or worse, a rejection is forwarded to you. You might succeed on your first try, or your tenth.

Once your name is approved, you will be notified and then, you have to reserve that name for your business. Mind you, there is a specific time (45 days) in which the name will be reserved and for which you have to pay a fee of $20.00 to reserve that name, also known as "Business Name Registration within forty-five (45) days i.e., before the name reservation expires". The plus-side is that once the fee is paid, the process of name approval payment is supposed to take three (3) working days.

However, that is the part of the process for reserving the name and receiving approval. There is still the business (pardon the pun) of registering your enterprise. For this part, you must log onto your CRA account and electronically (pray that the 'current doesn't go) file an Application for Registration by an Individual, by selecting the 'Registration/Incorporation' Service.

Next, you have to complete the business application form (be sure to call the hotline well ahead if unsure of the steps to be completed!) and pay the business registration fee of $220.TT (Two hundred and twenty Trinidad and Tobago dollars)-preferably with exact change. Fortunately, once the fee is paid, you generally collect your Certificate of Registration the same day, and you're all set! Unless of course, you intend to register your business as a partnership or a firm (e.g., a Limited Liability Company/LLC). In which case, that is another onerous process that will have you reciting verses and quoting scripture...or gauging your blood pressure...I kid you not.

Permit me to register my frustration, business registration should not frustrate!


LinkedIn Local Caribbean, business, registration, CRA, application fee

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