How to bring your car to Kenya

Hello everybody,

If you exported your car to Kenya, were there any formalities that needed to be completed beforehand? What were they?

What is the best way to export your car? Is there a limit on the number of vehicles, or perhaps the age of the vehicle? Are there limits on emissions or emission controls in Kenya?

What are the expected costs of exporting a car? In your opinion, is it worth it?

Once you arrived in Kenya, what were the applicable taxes? What was the customs process like?

How do you go about registering an imported car in Kenya?

Is it best to buy a car once you have arrived or to bring your car with you, in your opinion?

We look forward to hearing from you!


Cars that are imported to Kenya should not be older than 8 years, should be right hand drive (unless it is a specialist vehicle) and needs to pass an inspection within 3 months before the date of shipping (the company that does this is JEVIC).

Realistically, you would be importing a vehicle from a country that drives on the left, such as UK, South Africa, Japan and so on.

You would either opt to ship a vehicle via a car shipping company, or in a container.  the former method is considerably cheaper, but in a container, the vehicle is better protected.  Another alternative is shipping by air, but this is far and away the most costly option.  In each case, you would use a shipping company which would have a clearing agent at the port of arrival.

Vehicles which are being imported (as opposed to being driven through) are registered before they leave the port.  This is part of the processing by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), who also calculate and charge import duty.  Details below:

-Import Duty: 25% of the CIF value of the vehicle.
-Excise Duty: 20% of the (CIF value + Import Duty)
-VAT: 16% of the (CIF value + Import Duty + Excise Duty)
-IDF: 2.25% of the CIF value or Ksh. 5,000, whichever is higher, is payable.

CIF means the total cost of purchasing and shipping the vehicle.

KRA assess what the vehicle is worth, using their own guides, so it doesn't matter what receipts you produce.  This has been caused by people using fraudulent receipts to attempt to reduce their duty bill.  Duty must be paid for the vehicle to be released from the port.

Currently, there are no emission tests or road worthiness tests for private cars.

You may be able to save some money by importing a car, as vehicles in Kenya are very costly indeed.  However, some European models struggle with the road conditions and parts such as suspension systems wear out quickly.  The vehicle ride height may need to be increased to cope with the numerous giant speed bumps. 

Diesels fitted with a DPF should have it removed, as the fuel quality in Kenya is lower than that in Europe and Asia.  The DPF system can't cope and expensive repairs can result.

Make sure you import a vehicle that is known in Kenya.  Importing a rare vehicle can result in severe problems when it comes to repairs, both mechanics know-how and availability of parts.

Thank you very much Longonot62 for your inputs, very much appreciated.

Today, life is too busy. There is no time to walk to your destination wasting a lot of time.  Automotives have become a necessity to go from place to place.

Ever individual who owns a car or is planning to buy one must be aware of motor insurance and the best companies dealing with car insurance in Kenya.

Hope it will be helpful..


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