A Certificate of Incorporation is a legal document relating to your company’s incorporation and registration in a jurisdiction. It is issued by the companies’ registry in the relevant jurisdiction once your company has been registered there.
What your Certificate of Incorporation looks like will differ depending on the jurisdiction in which the company is incorporated. Typically, the information a Certificate of Incorporation will show includes the full legal name of the company, the company’s registration number, the jurisdiction in which the company is registered, the date of incorporation, the type of company, and the name of the companies’ registry issuing the certificate.
Your company’s Certificate of Incorporation is evidence that your company has been lawfully formed as a legal entity with its own identity in the relevant jurisdiction. You need the Certificate of Incorporation, for example, when selling shares to Investors.
In most jurisdictions (except for some emerging markets jurisdictions), this document is publicly available at the relevant companies’ registry as it informs the general public of the existence of your company.