• The information in this guide was obtained from external sources, including the websites of various governmental agencies and organizations, direct contact with those agencies and organizations, and from Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Attaché reports. Consequently, the accuracy of this information depends upon the accuracy of the sources.
  • TTB is not responsible for the content of external websites.
  • This website was last updated on September 29, 2010.

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The Kenyan Bureau of Standards (KEBS), a statutory organization of the government of Kenya, is responsible for the adoption and application of Standards for both imported and domestically manufactured products in the Kenyan market. With effect from 29th September 2005, KEBS, through a Legal Notice No. 78 of 15th July, 2005, implemented the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) to Standards Programme. This is a conformity assessment and verification procedure applied to specific Goods/ Products at the respective exporting countries, to ensure their compliance with the applicable Kenyan Technical Regulations and Mandatory Standards or approved equivalents. The primary objective of applying Pre- Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) program is to ensure quality of products, health and safety, and environmental protection for Kenyans and this is reflected in the product coverage scope. Beer , wine, other fermented beverages and undenatured ethyl alcohol are identified as covered by the PVoC under the Kenya Bureau of Standards, chapter 22.

All products subject to PVoC must be certified and issued with a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) prior to shipment by authorized PVoC Agents. The CoC is a Customs Clearance document in Kenya. Where products are found not to conform to the requirements of the relevant standards during certification process by authorized PVoC Agent, a Non Conformity Report (NCR) shall be issued to the exporter. Such goods are not allowed for importation into Kenya.

However, products subject to PVoC arriving at the Kenyan ports of entry without a CoC shall be subject to destination inspection at a penalty of 15% of the CIF value of goods as spelt out in the Legal Notice No. 78. The importers of such goods shall also be required to execute a bond equivalent to 15% CIF value of the goods and shall meet the testing and inspection charges levied by KEBS.

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Principle of Pre-Export Verification of conformity (PVoC)

The PVoC program is based on Article 5 of Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT/WTO), which requires that technical requirements (i.e. Standards) applied to foreign products must also be applied to domestically manufactured products. Over 2500 domestic companies are already subjected to Kenya standards, through our Quality assurance Service and therefore PVoC shall offer equal and national treatment to imported products.

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Key elements of PVoC

The key elements undertaken in PVoC certification process by PVoC Agents are as follows:

  1. Physical inspection of products against the relevant standards prior to shipment,
  2. Product sampling and testing in ISO/ IEC 17025 accredited laboratories or other KEBS approved laboratories,
  3. Quality Audit of production processes for licensing of products (Route C),
  4. Documentary review of relevant quality documents/ records,

Issuance of Certificate of Conformity (CoC) or Non Conformity Report (NCR) as appropriate and transmission of the same to exporter/ importer.

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PVoC Agents

Ensure that the PVoC certification processes are carried out efficiently and in strict compliance with the terms of contract with KEBS, in their designated regions of responsibility (See PVoC Agent's Zones of Responsibility), for purposes of trade facilitation with no resultant inconvenience to any party. The PVoC agent shall ensure that appropriate documents (i.e. CoC or NCR) are issued to the exporter/ importer within the stipulated timelines. (See PVoC Service Charter)
Information at the tip of your fingers! Kenyan Downloads section has all the information you need for exporting to Kenya.

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Authorized PVoC Agents

With effect from 15th November, 2008 the following four inspection companies (also referred to as PVoC Agents) have been contracted to carry out PVoC activities on behalf of KEBS:

  1. Société Générale De Surveillance S.A. (SGS)
  2. Intertek International Ltd. (INTERTEK)
  3. Global Inspections South Africa Pty Limited (GISA)
  4. China Certification and Inspection Group Company Limited (CCIC)

These companies have been contracted to offer PVoC services in the designated regions as shown in PVoC Agents' Zones of Responsibility.

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Ensure their products meet the regulations and quality requirements of Kenya before shipment by obtaining the necessary Certificate of Conformity (CoC) from the authorized PVoC Agents for all products subject to the PVoC program . Beer, wine, other fermented beverages and undenatured ethyl
are alcohol are covered by the PVoC.

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Labeling Requirements:

The GOG does not have specific requirements on beverage alcohol products other than those that apply to all processed products in general

General Requirements:

The GOK requires an English label on all consumer-ready foods, which should include metric weights and measurements in even numbers, a brand/trade name, common name, list of ingredients, date of manufacture, expiry date/sell by, storage instructions (as shown by the below product photo), name and address of manufacturer, country of origin and grade designation where applicable.

Here below please find frequently asked questions and responses that will help the reader understand Kenyan import requirements as applied by the PVoC agent.

Q: What languages(s) are required and/or permitted on the product label?

A: The GOK requires English on the label, but permits any other language, or a combination of languages. In Kenya it is common to see imported food products with English and Arabic or Chinese Language labeling.

Q: Can U.S. consumer-ready products enter the Kenyan market without altering the U.S. label
under which the product would normally be marketed in the United States?

A: In addition to all of the information provided by the U.S. label, the GOK requires the products to carry an Import Standardization Mark (ISM) that KEBS provides free-of-charge once the product qualifies for a COC.

Q: Can the ISM or any other additionally-required labeling be affixed, or must it be incorporated
into the original label for the product?

A: The GOK permits stick-on labels as noted in the above photograph.

Q: Must stick-on labels be applied before product export or may they be applied at the port of
import or at the point of sale?

A: The stick-on labels may be applied at any point prior to retail sale.

Q: Are there instances where standard U.S. labels or claims thereon might be considered false or

A: To this date, there has not been a single reported incident of a standard U.S. food-product label having been deemed false or misleading.

Q: Are product samples shipped via express mail or parcel post subject to import regulations?

A: Product samples (except live plants or seeds) shipped via express mail or parcel post are not subject to import regulations but are subject to custom handling charges that are based on the value of product.

Q: Does the GOK monitor food products at wholesale or retail distribution points?

A: Reportedly, KEBS conducts random surveillance and requires non-conforming products to be recalled by the producer.

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Import Procedures:

While an exporter may comply with each and every regulation on the books of a given country, exporting may still be exceedingly difficult if the final port of entry import procedures are designed to make importing difficult or expensive.

Q: Once I have complied with all the testing and labeling requirements, and received my COC,
what should I expect at the Kenyan port of import?

A: Below, please find a description of the expected import procedures flow:

-The importer will notify a clearing agent (CA) of arrival date of cargo;
-The CA notifies the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) via its on-line clearing system (Simba). ---The importer must use a KRA appointed CA;
-The CA obtains the arrival date and manifest number and enters into the Simba;
-The CA sends the manifest number to KRA, who posts number to the specified Kenyan bank;
-The CA pays the relevant taxes using HS Codes and VAT rates where applicable;
-The KRA agent clears and confirms entry of the cargo to the CA;
-The CA uses KRA confirmation to pay the various port charges at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA);
-The CA uses the KPA documents and any related import permits to request clearance from KEPHIS, KEBS, port Health and the local police; and,
-The KPA conducts a final physical verification of the cargo before releasing it into the domestic market.

The entire customs clearance process takes a minimum of three days. Should an exporter/importer be dissatisfied, KRA has an appeal system

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Packaging and Container Regulations:

The following section treats potential technical barriers to trade associated with Kenya’s packaging and container size or material requirements and the recycling thereof.

Q: Many U.S. consumer-ready foods are marketed in containers specific to the U.S. market based
on a certain number of ounces, pounds, for fluid ounces. Can Kenyan importers of these
products market them in the same containers, or must a specific container be used to comply
with GOK container/packaging requirements?

A: Kenyan importers may market U.S. consumer-ready product in its original packaging/container without alteration regardless of the container or package size.

Q: Are there any special municipal waste disposal laws or product-packaging recycling
regulations that U.S. exporters need to be aware of, or prepared for, in the Kenyan

A: Neither the GOK nor the regional local Governments currently require consumer-product package recycling.

Q: Does the GOK restrict or limit any packaging materials for consumer-ready products?

A: The GOK regulates the wood pallets often-times used to ship food products, but not the materials in which the food are packaged.

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Contact Information:

Ensures that only products conforming to the requirements of the relevant standards are allowed into the country as provided for in the Standards Act Cap 496, Laws of Kenya.

To visit the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), click here

House of Vanguard, 4th floor,
Chiromo Road,
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254 20 444 9132 / 3 / 6
Fax: +254 (0) 20 444 9212
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2nd Floor – North Wine, Victoria Towers
Kilimanjaro road Upperhill,
P.O. Box 72116, 00200
Tel: +254 20 272 7815 / 32 /34
Fax: +254 20 273 3664
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Arwings Kodhek Road
Tel: 020-2720000
Fax: 020-2720001
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office of Agricultural Affairs
Embassy of the United States of America
United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
P.O. Box 606 Village Market 00621 Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 254-20-3636340
Fax: 254-20-3636349
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Foreign Commercial Service
Embassy of the United States of America
United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
P.O. Box 606 Village Market 00621 Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 254-20-3636424
Fax: 254-20-3636065
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Page last reviewed/updated: 09/04/2012