Licence To Operate A Cinema In Kenya

Application Procedure

Apply Manually

  1. The following are the Steps for obtaining a licensing of the film and video works distribution License in Kenya. The applicant needs to fill an application registration form that requires name of the company or proprietor, address, estimated population to be served and health and safety standards undertaken
  2. Every application for a filming license shall be made to the licensing officer in writing and shall be accompanied by a full description of the scenes in, and the full text of the spoken parts (if any) of, the entire film which is to be made, notwithstanding that part of the film is made or to be made outside Kenya. The application forms can be obtained from the Kenya Films Board Offices.
  3. If any title, sub-title, text, description, synopsis or other part of the film is in a language other than English, the licensing officer may require a translation thereof into English, certified to his satisfaction, or may submit then same for the examination and report of such persons as he may appoint for the purpose
  4. Provided that the licensing officer may in his discretion in any particular case accept an application notwithstanding that it is not accompanied by such description and text if he has been given such other information as he requires for the determination of the application.
  5. On addition to the written application Purchase a set of forms from the Registration Unit of the Board at a cost of Kshs.10000. Fill all the necessary part and attach all the necessary documents on the application. Please specify your contact details including the name of the party or parties (if the applicant is part of a consortium), an address, phone number(s) and e -mail address (where possible).
  6. Any application for video show or video library and cinema theatre must be accompanied by a letter of approval from the local chief or District Officer.
  7. Only distributors registered and licensed by the Kenya Film Commission Board are allowed to apply for release certificate for video and films distribution for the purpose of commercial distribution within Kenya.
  8. Each film submitted to the board is reviewed and placed into a classification rating-General exhibition (GE), Parental Guidance (PG), 16 and 18/A. Classification and rating are determined using the following criteria.(i). Amount and frequency of violence (crime)(ii).Amount and frequency of sex, horror and nudity(iii). Amount and frequency of drugs, tobacco, solvents and alcohol(iv). Amount and frequency of profanity, religion and community(v). On violence and crime in films, the Board checks on excessive blood; dismembered or disfigured limbs and bodies; prolonged images of dead or seriously injured people; explicit cruelty or violence towards human beings or animals; celebration or glorification of crimes.(vi). On sex, obscenity and nudity, the Board rates nudity, exposure of fondling of female breasts, human or animal sexual organs and explicit images of sexual activities or pornography.(vii). On horror and occult, rating takes in account films that glorify or encourage horror and occult; instill fear or revulsion about the consequences of not following such practices(viii). Films that justify, Promote, encourage or glamorize use or misuse of drug related product, smoking, tobacco and alcohols are also classified.
  9. Attach a Valid distribution agreement and the necessary documents on the Application form including the Valid Distribution agreement showing a brief plan the way to distribute the Films and Video.
  10. The application to distribute and/or exhibit a film or video works by a distributor and/or exhibitor shall be accompanied by a valid distribution agreement. The distributor’s agreement must display in a special register, the authority of distribution acquired either from the Copyright Owner, or higher level distributor.
  11. The distribution of a film or video works over which the principals have obtained the distribution rights over the territory covered by its license.
  12. Before submitting your application form attach copies of the Memorandum Of Association showing evidence of financial commitment to the agreement with the copyright owner over a particular product or movie titles.
  13. Before granting a film and Video distribution license, the licensing officer may require that any cinematograph film to be distributed is unsuitable for general exhibition, the Board put emphasis on the following forms of video distribution
  14. (a). for adults only;
  15. (b).unsuitable for children under the age of sixteen years;
  16. (c). unsuitable for children under the age of ten years.
  17. If the film/video to be distributed is for adults only the board issues a certificate of approval subject to the condition that no child should be admitted to the exhibition thereof. This must be mentioned in all advertisements and on all posters of the film concerned, and announced on the cinema screen immediately before the film is exhibited or Distributed.

Required Documents

  1. Identification Card copy
  2. Copy of movie synopsis
  3. Marketing and distribution strategy


  • The Eligible companies and Individuals must be registered with Kenya Film Commission (KFC)and must be dealing in the Kenya Film and Video Distribution industry and other Film related communication.


  • The licensing officer will provide details of fees required. Normally a fee of Ksh 10000 is charged to be issued with the application form.


  • The license is valid for a period of one year.

Processing Time

  • 14 days from the submission of the application form.


Please provide other instructions related to the certificate/documents.
e.g. The state office holds birth records since january 1908.

Required Information

  1. The Applicant name
  2. If Organization the name of the organization / Company.
  3. The Application Form fully Completed (KFCB application form) (Form ).
  4. Certificate of Incorporation with Kenya communication commission, if a company.
  5. Certified true copy of memorandum & Articles of Association.
  6. Tax Clearance Certificate from Kenya Communication Commission.
  7. The Title of title, sub-title, text, description of the Film.
  8. Marketing strategy of the Film, distribution and exhibition outlets to the general public;
  9. Film regulatory licenses to video/film exhibitors and distributors;
  10. Information on Monitoring of film exhibition and distribution outlets,
  11. Information on how to Sensitizing the exhibitors, distributors, broadcasters, general public and other stakeholders film/broadcast content consumption and regulation;
  12. Information on how to Monitor and control the distribution of unclassified and obscene films through the internet;

Need for the Document

  • The Kenya Film Classification Board is a State Corporation established under the Film and Stage Plays Act Cap 222 Laws of Kenya with a regulatory function to ensure that films screened to the public are in line with the national aspirations and culture.
  • It was established by the Kenyan government in 2005. However only coming into full function in mid-2006.
  • Their major role is to ensure that no film is made within Kenya for public exhibition or distribution or sale either within or outside Kenya except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a filming licence issued by the licensing officer under the film and stage play act.
  • Where any film is made or distributed without a Filming license, the producer, proprietor, promoter and photographer thereof, and every other person engaged in the making of the film,distribution of the film shall each be guilty of an offence.
  • The Kenya Film Commission was formed with the aim of promoting the Kenyan film industry locally as well as internationally.
  • For the international community looking to film in Kenya the Commission offers detailed information on locations; offer liaison services on behalf of the government; advise on recces, film licensing and immigration; as well as facilitate the filming process for film makers.
  • The Ministry of sports culture and the arts provides the necessary resources and policy direction that supports operations of the commission. Currently, the government has developed policy proposals to restructure the board to enable it improve service delivery to the public.
  • The Kenya Film and Classification Board controls film classification in the Kenya.
  • The Kenya Film and Classification Board Inspects new and existing Video and Cinema Outlets within the region to meet with the required standards of the organization.


  • Every film that enters the country must be classified and rated by KFCB.
  • Thed synopsis or other part of the film must be in English before a licence is granted and if it is in any other language other than English a translation thereof into English is required.
  • Before granting a filming licence, the licensing officer may require the applicant to enter into a bond with or without sureties.
  • You must be willing to provide Channels of distribution and Marketing strategy for the Film and Video.
  • The licensing officer may require, to secure that the film, so far as it is made, is made in accordance with

(a) the conditions (if any) contained in the licence; and(b) the description, text and other information supplied to the licensing officer, with any alterations and additions for which permission has been granted.

Office Locations & Contacts

Kenya Film Commission Board
Telephone: (020) 2250600/2241804/
Mobile: (+254) 711 222 204/ 773 753 355
Website: Link

Kenya Film Classification Board
Uchumi House, 15th floor
P.O.Box 44226-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
Website: Link