How to Register a Clearing and Forwarding Company in Kenya

How to Register a Clearing and Forwarding Company in Kenya

Clearing and forwarding companies play a crucial role in facilitating imports and exports in Kenya. If you plan to enter this sector, understanding the registration process is essential. This guide outlines detailed steps on how to register a clearing and forwarding company in Kenya.

Key Requirements and Considerations

To operate a clearing and forwarding company, you must meet the following:

  • Company Registration: Register as a legal entity (e.g., limited liability company) through the eCitizen portal.
  • Customs Agent License: The primary license obtained through the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
  • KIFWA Membership: Join the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association ([invalid URL removed]), the industry body for clearing and forwarding agents.
  • Specialized Knowledge: Clearing and forwarding requires in-depth understanding of customs regulations, tariffs, documentation, and logistics.
  • Professional Staff: Consider hiring personnel with relevant qualifications or experience.

Step-by-Step Guide to Registration

Here’s the process to become a registered clearing and forwarding company:

  1. Company Registration: Complete the standard company registration process as outlined in the “How to Register a Company in Kenya” blog post. Choose a legal structure suitable for your business.
  2. Customs Agent License Application:
  3. License Approval and Execution:
    • KRA will review your application and conduct any necessary checks.
    • Upon approval, you’ll need to pay the annual license fee and execute a bond.
  4. KIFWA Membership:
    • Apply to become a member of KIFWA to gain industry recognition and access their various support services.

Additional Requirements

  • Port Pass: You’ll need a Port Pass from the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to physically access the port and oversee operations.
  • Insurance: Obtain appropriate insurance coverage to protect against various risks associated with freight forwarding and customs processes.

Tips for a Successful Application

  • Thorough Preparation: Ensure your company documents are in order, and all forms are completed accurately.
  • Demonstrate Expertise: Highlight the qualifications and experience of your staff to strengthen credibility.
  • Secure Office Space: Indicate a physical office location within your license application. It provides a reference point for customs officials.

Navigating the Registration Process

The Kenya Revenue Authority website is a valuable resource as it provides detailed information on the customs agent licensing process. You can visit their website ( for forms, guidelines, and updates. Consider seeking professional assistance from a lawyer or customs consultant, particularly when dealing with more complex setups.


By following these steps and meeting the licensing requirements, you can establish a legitimate and compliant clearing and forwarding company in Kenya. This dynamic sector offers opportunities for growth as you facilitate the movement of goods within and outside of Kenya.

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