Step-by-Step Guide to Register Export Business in Kenya

A photo of a cargo plane loading ongoing
A photo of a cargo plane loading ongoing

The export business in Kenya is extensive with agriculture leading the pack. According to a report by the African Export-Import Bank, Kenya's top export products in 2023 were coffee and tea, animal fats, iron and steel, and salt and cement. 

However,  before registering an export business, it is important to note that there are two types of export licenses

Types of Export Licenses

  1. One-time export registration is restricted to single products sold to the international market. 
  2. The other license is issued for regular export, allowing exporters to sell various goods to the international market on multiple occasions.

    Vegetables at a market place. AFA is tasked with regulating the importation and exportation of the crops.
    Vegetables at a market place. AFA is tasked with regulating the importation and exportation of the crops.

Step-by-step Guide To Register Business 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to registering an export business in Kenya;

1. Register as a company or business

You will need to register the business as a company in Kenya through the eCitizen Platform.

After registration of the company and receiving a certificate of incorporation, Company PIN, NSSF and NHIF. You will also be required to obtain a business permit from the county government in which you would like to operate.  

2. Open a bank account with a business name 

The registered business will also be required to have a bank account registered. The registration process does not require one to choose one particular bank to work with.

3. Obtain product-specific registrations/licenses & certificates

These are licenses which are particular to the product of export. The eCitizen Portal splits the clearance permits into four categories namely; 

Preliminary/initial registrations: This may involve verifications such as warehouse or farm inspections. Usually, registrations only need to be done once by each entity

Licenses: These are industry-specific and vary depending on each requirement, some industries may require yearly annual 

Permits: Authorisations that must accompany a consignment before clearance procedures can begin.

Customs clearance & border procedures: procedures that are required for the consignment to be cleared with the Customs & Border Control Units at the various exit/entry points.

4. Obtain a sales contract from a buyer 

The Kenya Revenue Authority requires that a sales contract or sales agreement, that describes the goods being sold, the terms and conditions of the sale, and the price to be paid.

5. Have a clearing agent

Every exporter should also have a customs and clearing agent who is registered and licensed.

6. Declaring the Consignment

Every exporter should also provide the clearing agent with a commercial invoice, certificate of origin (where applicable), permit(s) relevant to the consignment, license for restricted goods (where applicable), 

Company or Individual PIN certificates, purchase orders or contracts, and packing lists. 

Once verified, the declared consignment for export, and exit of the consignment through a border point, KRA will process and issue a Certificate of Export.

A Photo of the Ecitizen Platform
A Photo of the Ecitizen Platform