Foreigner Setting up in Kenya

Foreigners intending to set up businesses in Kenya can now register and solely own private limited companies without necessarily having a local citizen as a Shareholder or a Director of the company. Of importance to note is, even though a foreigner can register and solely own a private company, he/she will need to run the company and for this reason other considerations such as work permit or nominating a local representative to assist will kick in.

If as a foreigner you intend to set up a solely owned private company and run it by yourself, the requirement for a work permit will be necessary not only to allow you operate the company but also help you to open bank account for the company or register for MPESA services including applying for Pay Bill number or business till number.

In the event you choose to apply for a work permit (i.e. Class D-employment permit), you will need the following critical and mandatory requirements in support of your application: police clearance certificate, local understudy to support your application for a work permit (a local understudy is a local citizen who will be employed by your private company so as to support your permit application and to whom you will transfer such knowledge and skills you may have as a benefit for being allowed to work in Kenya), understudy’s academic certificate, Pin and Tax compliance certificate & employment contract. In addition to these you will also need a cover letter from your company, CV, duly filled online application form, passport bio data page, requisite fee and security bond.

On the other hand, if you intend to nominate a local citizen as a director to help manage the affairs of the company, you will need to enter into a contractual agreement with him/her which will provide the scope of work or services to be rendered by the local. In the agreement you must be specific that you are the beneficial owner of the company and as such all dealings of the nominee director binds you as the ultimate beneficial owner.

Other requirements are:

  1. Preferred Name for the company. You need to propose at least 3 names for search and reservation.
  2. Objectives of the Company. State the nature of Business / activities the company will be undertaking.
  3. Names of the shareholders in Full.
  4. Names of the Directors in full if different from the shareholders.
  5. Postal addresses, Email address and Telephone Number of the shareholders and Directors.
  6. Residential address of shareholders and directors.
  7. Number of shares to be held by each shareholder if they are more than one.
  8. Proposed Physical address of the company. The Physical Address includes road, plot number, town and county.
  9. Copy of Passport Bio data page of the Shareholders / Directors.
  10. Passport photographs of the Shareholders / Directors. And
  11. Processing fee.

At A.O.WANGA ADVOCATES we are happy to assist you in both setting up in Kenya and application for work permit.

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