Can a foreigner register a company in Kenya?

Under the new company regulations in Kenya. A foreign national may register a company in Kenya under the two following options.

  1. Appoint a local director OR
  2. Appoint a local certified company secretary.

Foreign nationals who want own, or run a business in Kenya, are required to have a Class G Investor Permit from the Immigration Department.
However, a foreign National may still own a Kenyan company or shares therein without immigration status if he does not intent to live or reside in the country.

Legal Provisions regarding Investor Permits in Kenya.

It is important to note that it is illegal for any non-Kenyan to conduct any Business or trade in Kenya without a valid Business Investor permit.
provisions of the Immigration Act (Cap 172, Laws of Kenya) are as follows:‐

"Section 4 (1) “Subject to this Section, no person who is not a citizen of Kenya shall enter Kenya unless he is in possession of a valid entry permit or a valid pass.” (2) “…the presence in Kenya of any person who is not a citizen of Kenya shall, unless otherwise authorized under this Act, be unlawful unless that person is in possession of a valid entry permit or a valid pass.”

Section 13(2) (f):‐ “A person who, not being a citizen of Kenya, engages in any employment, occupation, trade, business or profession, whether or not for profit or reward, without being authorized to do so by an entry permit….shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.”

Section 13(2) (g) provides for a similar penalty for “Any person who employs any person (whether or not for reward) whom he knows or has reasonable cause to believe is committing an offence under paragraph (f) by engaging in that employment.”

If convicted of either of these two offenses, deportation will invariably follow. The fact that an application for a Investor permit has been lodged does not entitle someone to do Business in Kenya.

Class G Business Investor Permit

A Class G Permit has legal restrictions on foreign ownership either wholly or partly. For instance, private companies that intend to purchase agricultural property in Kenya, Banking companies, Security companies and some telecommunication companies cannot have foreign shareholders at all.

Requirements as to Investment Capital in Kenya.

To Qualify for a Class D permit, the Investor is required to have a minimum of USD 100,000 or equivalent in a Bank account.

Class G Permit is applied for by foreigners who will be shareholders in the business. To apply for a Class D Investor Permit, it is necessary that the company first be registered.

Company Registration

To register a limited liability company (LLC) in Kenya you will require

  • Minimum one director and shareholder
  • A Kenyan director or company secretary.
  • A registered office within the republic of Kenya (both physical and postal address).

One does not require an immigration permit before registering the company in Kenya.

Approval / Rejection of a business permit in Kenya.

Once the application is submitted to the Immigration department, it shall be presented to a committee for approval.
This process may take between two and six months depending on how many times the committee sits and the number of applications they must process.

The committee will usually consider the following things when deciding whether to approve or reject the application

  • The investment potential on the economy.
  • Job creation potential of the Business.
  • The nationality of the applicant. An applicant has a higher chance of approval of his application if his or her country has a stronger and low criminal statistics and security threats.

Upon approval and payment of the prescribed fees the applicant shall be provided with a Class D Permit which shall be endorsed in his / her passport.
On rejection, the applicant may make an appeal to the Minister or may have to cancel the investment plans as the case may be or reasons for rejection.

Application for registration as an Alien

Once the Permit is issued, the applicant shall then apply for registration as an Alien and be issued with an Alien card.


The application process is lengthy and requires expert assistance to avoid chances of rejection after a lot of effort is put into the process. We at Biz Brokers Kenya have for over 10 years been a leader in Immigration consultation and immigration Law.

Contact us at for more details and insights.

Immigration compliance is our specialty, Business startup is our passion. We are in the Business of Business.

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