Starting a Business in


Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Bhutan. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare Bhutan to 189 other economies.

  • No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    Conduct a company name search

    Agency: Company Registry Division - Ministry of Economic Affairs

    The entrepreneurs submit a company name search application to verify the uniqueness of the desired company name. The name is then approved for 60 days. Section 3 (4) of the Companies Act: No company shall be incorporated with a name which, in the opinion of the Registrar, is undesirable or is identical with, or too nearly resembles the name by which a company in existence has been previously registered.

    1-3 days no charge
    * 2

    Obtain a Security Clearance Certificate (SCC) from the Royal Bhutan Police

    Agency: Royal Bhutan Police

    In June 2011, The Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs launched the Security Clearance Service: an online system to issue Security Clearance Certificates (SCC). The system was developed in coordination with the Department of Information Technology and Telecom at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in response to the directives issued by the Bhutan Cabinet on March 27, 2009. The security clearance certificate is valid for one year.

    2 days (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge

    Submit project proposal to the Industrial Department Division (IDD) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs

    Agency: Industrial Department Division (IDD) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs

    An application form along with the project proposal is submitted to the Industrial Department Division (IDD) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
    In the case of small and cottage-scale companies with startup capital of up to BTN 10 million, the Regional Trade & Industry Office of the Department of Cottage and Small Industries reviews the project proposal. The project proposal approval is required to verify that the proposed industrial project is in line with industrial development plans of the country, and for issuance of the industrial license. The Doing Business case-study does not need location or environmental clearance.

    4 days
    BTN 600

    Register at the Office of the Registrar

    Agency: Company Registry Division - Ministry of Economic Affairs

    Company registration is subject to the Companies Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2000. Upon applying for registration, the entrepreneur must present his/her original citizenship identity card and submit the following documents to the Companies Registry Division, Department of Industry:
    1. Articles of Incorporation
    2. Company name clearance form
    3. Consent to act as Directors of the company form
    4. Declaration of compliance form signed by the company directors
    5. Sectoral clearance from the concerned sectors if applicable
    6. Name and Address of the first Chief Executive Officer of the company
    7. Security Clearance Certificates of company directors

    The company receives its certificate of incorporation. Once the documents are processed, the Registrar of Companies issues the certificate of registration. The registered company may choose to publish a notice in the Kuensel weekly newspaper announcing its registration.

    According to Schedule 4 of the Companies Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan, registration fees are as follows:
    - For an authorized share capital up to BTN 1 million: BTN 1,000
    - For an authorized share capital between BTN 1 million and BTN 2 million: BTN 1,500
    - For authorized share capital above BTN 2 million: BTN 2,000

    3 days BTN 1500

    Obtain a business license from the Regional Trade and Industry Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs

    Agency: Regional Trade and Industry Office

    To apply for the license, the following documents must be submitted:
    1- Application Form for Industrial License (Form III)
    2- Citizenship ID Card
    3- Sector Clearance (depending on activity)
    4- Location Clearance obtained from the Thimphu City Corporation (Dzongkhag or Thromde)
    5- Valid Security Clearance Certificate
    6- Two recent passport size photographs
    7- Project Approval from the Department of Cottage & Small Industry for cottage and small industries and from the Department of industry for medium and large scale industries.

    License fees are as follows:
    - For cottage scale industries: BTN 1,600
    - For small scale industries: BTN 3,100
    - For medium scale industries: BTN 6,100
    - For large scale industries: BTN 12,100

    Since July 1, 2005, applications forms for trade and industrial licenses can be downloaded from the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s website (www.moea.gov.bt). Photocopies of application forms are accepted.

    1-2 days BTN 3,100

    Register for taxes and obtain the Business Identifier Code (BIC) Number

    Agency: Department of Revenue and Customs, Ministry of Finance

    Every company must register for corporate income tax. A Business Identification Code (BIC) is then assigned to the company. This BIC number must be presented to participate in public tenders and works.

    2 days on average no charge

    Make a company seal

    Agency: Seal maker

    Companies must have a seal within 1 year of incorporation. This is verified by the Registrar during the annual inspection. This legal requirement is governed under Sections 55 and 61 of the Companies Act.

    1 day Between BTN 100 and BTN 1,200
    * 8

    Open a bank account

    Agency: Company Registry Division - Ministry of Economic Affairs

    A company bank account must be opened within a month of incorporation. Section 16 of the Companies Act: (1) A company shall not commence its business after incorporation unless the company has obtained a license in this behalf from the Ministry and copy thereof filed with the Registrar within seven days of its receipt. (2) No license shall be granted by the Ministry under sub-section (1) unless the company has produced documentary evidence relating to purchase of property or assets, and operation of account in a bank in the name of the company.

    1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.