Anyone who is interested in importing used cars to Kenya will need to know the applicable laws and regulations surrounding, what ports can be used, as well as inspection rules, and other details. The Kenya Bureau of Standards has strict rules in place to oversee foreign car imports.
Most individuals look for easy to maintain cars and this is why Japanese imports continue to be a favorite. While many also like the quality of German cars, the price tag is often too unaffordable. Additionally, it is easier for people in Kenya to attain parts for Toyota cars specifically. This is why they remain favorites.
It is important to note that cars in Kenya must include right hand driver controls. Many cars directly from the United States will not meet this requirement, and as a result, cannot be imported. If you wish to import cars to Kenya, keep this rule in mind and consider purchasing at auction vehicles that were made in Japan or another country where right hand drive vehicles are available.
- The United States has had a trade agreement, TIFA, since 2008, making it easy to import vehicles to the country from the US.
- Regulations are strict, but laid out in a straightforward manner, making the process easy and organized.
- Vehicles in high demand in Kenya are easily attainable in the United States.
- Kenya is a growing market for used car imports.
- There are import restrictions, including no cars older than 2008 year models can be imported.
- This is an underdeveloped and rapidly growing market meaning preferences could change very quickly.
- Import duties can be very high.
There are several departure ports from the United States that do take containers to Kenya, allowing for export of cars from America to the African nation. These include:
- Galveston, Texas
- Savannah, Georgia
- Portsmouth, Virginia
- Bayonne, New Jersey
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Jacksonville, Florida
All vehicle clearances are done at the Port of Mombasa. The whole process will be handled at this port, so paperwork needs to be provided then. All cars will be parked at the port until the Kenya Port Authority can clear them. Fees will need to be paid at that time as well.
You will need several documents to import cars to Kenya whether you are traveling with the vehicle or not.
- Your passport or a national ID if you have one.
- A pre-inspection certification from the country of origin.
- A Kenya Revenue Authority pin card.
- The foreign log book for the vehicle showing proof of ownership.
- A bill of landing (original, not a copy) that includes car registration from the United States.
- A port release order, an import declaration form, evidence of insurance, and import duty receipt.
- A vehicle inspection report.
- Information on original value, current value, and other information for calculating duty fees.
Mombassa is a designated port corruption free zone. If the vehicle or anything to do with the container is suspicious, then the port authority has the right to seize the vehicle and either keep the assets or require fines. It is absolutely vital that you follow all rules when importing the car to the country.
Vehicles must meet these standards:
- They must be eight years old or newer.
- They must be right hand drive.
- The vehicles must be roadworthy and meet carbon emissions rules.
- Vehicles must be inspected before leaving the port of export.
- Registration must have been done within a year of manufacture.
Also keep in mind that the Kenya Revenue Authority requires that you use a license clearing and forwarding officer to take care of paperwork and logistics on your behalf on its online platform.
If you do not follow these rules, then there is a very good chance the vehicle could be seized or you may face severe fines and penalties that completely detract any profit you could have made.
Additionally, you must prove that you have a clear title of ownership and that there are no liens against the vehicle that you are exporting to Kenya.
The vehicle cannot be shipped into Kenya with any more than one quarter tank of gas.
Import Duties Taxes
There are numerous different fees and costs you can expect to pay when importing vehicles to Kenya. These include:
- 25% of the total cost of the car, the insurance, and the freight as import duty.
- 2.25% of CIF fees, which will serve as the Import Declaration Fee, or KSh 5000.
- 20% of the import duty as the excise duty.
- 16% of the CIF plus import and excise duty as the Value Added Tax.
Other fees that may be involved include:
- Container cost, between KSh 10,000 and 13,000. All cars must be shipped in containers.
- Fees for container freight stations, including somewhere between KSh 18,000 and 35,000.
- Clearing and forwarding agents to move the vehicle will cost around KSh 15,000.
- The Mombassa port car park charges KSh 3,000 for parking fees.
When you choose to import cars to Kenya, make absolutely sure you handle all of the paperwork. Some of it can very detailed and you need to know exactly what you are dealing with. Additionally, always follow all laws and rules about vehicles being imported so that you do not face fines.
For further information on duties and fees, contact the Kenya Embassy in Washington DC at:
2249 R St NW
Washington DC 20008
If you plan to buy and export salvage or used cars to Kenya, then the easiest option would be through an online car auction. There are several reasons for this. For one, you will have access to numerous different models so that you can find ones that meet the market in Kenya.
Additionally, auctions are much cheaper so that you can get the best deal on a used car. Online auctions take the stress off you since you don’t have to be in a bidding environment in person.
Finally, if you work with the right auction house, they will help you set up the shipment too. That way, you don’t have to figure out how to jump through all of the customs hoops on your own and you will have help from people who have been importing cars for a long time.