Car shipping

I haven't seen anyone talk about this but is it possible to ship and use an american car to Nairobi? Or must one use local transportation and/or purchase a car there?

Hi, As far as I am aware, if you ship a vehicle it must be right hand drive and not more than 8 years old.  Of course this would rule out importation of american cars, unless you can get a right hand drive conversion.

Of course you can ship a car here from anywhere. If it is for resale, has to be less than 8 years old. Personal cars which you already owned overseas is a different ball-game. But I think the final costs will outweigh the benefits of shipping from the US. I moved here from the US and I can tell you this, currently the port here is so busy and so badly managed, that after taxes, storage costs and fees, you'll have wished that you bought a used car locally. There is no rule for LHD cars, you can bring a LHD to Kenya. And since there are many short-term expats who normally trade theirs when they are leaving, you may want to explore this path. My 2 cents.

Yes there are rules for LHD cars, only the import of specialist LHD vehicles is permitted.  Personal cars must be RHD.  The 8 yr old rule applies for all imports of cars, not just vehicles for resale.

Having last imported a car in 2010, I have to disagree with you about the port.  There were no storage charges, as the vehicle was cleared, regixtered and ready to be driven off all within about 3 days.  Much better than the previous import, in 2004.

Longonot, 8-year rule does not apply for personal cars bought and PRE-OWNED for a significant period whilst overseas. Even car companies importing certain models (antiques esp) are allowed to import cars older than 8 years. This even applies to certain types of say Toyota's or Nissan's, etc. Only thing, you have to be willing to take the issue up with KRA and get KEBS prior approval firstly, and also it requires a successful inspection by an officially appoved company like SGS pre-shipping. This also applies with LHD cars. And regarding the port, 2010 is like almost 12 months ago (plus some months depending on when you imported) when, yes I agree, the port had little issues. Try doing something today. We regularly import items so I am conversant with what I am discussing here.

Sweftr:  Then perhaps you can explain why every website that I checked recently, not to mention information gained, when we imported our last vehicle, states both the 8 year rule and clearly states that a LHD vehcle cannot be registered in Kenya, unless it is a specialist vehicle?

I have heard that in certain circumstances a older (than 8yr) personal car can be imported, but it is very much the exception, rather than the rule and I didn't want to mislead.

Well if you're in doubt just go down to Times Tower and ask the KRA folks, and the folks of KEBS which is on Mombasa Road behind Bellevue cinema. BTW talk to the right folks there, not just anyone. Websites can also contain much dated and false/misleading information. Anyways don't take my word for it, gotta do your own due diligence. Anyways, driving a LHD in Kenya is a nightmare. The road network here is all set up for RHD.

I absolutely agree that if you have contacts in the right places, then the 'rules' can be bypassed/exceptions made - witness the number of MP's who have imported LHD SUV's - Hummers etc. 

However, in imparting advice on this site, I am considering that expats wanting to import vehicles, or anything else are less likely to have established such contacts/know how to establish them.  They would therefore be governed by the relevant import rules.  I know that it isn't just a case of turning up at Times Towers and hoping for results.

Lilitaly98 :

I haven't seen anyone talk about this but is it possible to ship and use an american car to Nairobi? Or must one use local transportation and/or purchase a car there?

I import cars for sale in Nairobi and advice that you dont import an "american car" left hand? to Nairobi. Headache. I would advice you just to buy a used vehicle in Nairobi locally and sell it when you are leaving. Selection wont be a headache.

yes, there is no doubt you can ship a car from America but you can do this only by following some rules of America. i also have a car here which i shipped from America. i availed from the services of Car Shipping - .

It is an Headache,what i advice you just to buy a d vehicle in Nairobi locally and sell it when you are leaving,that will cost less than the amount you could have spent i shipping a vehicle from america.i can help purchase one in nairobi at fair price.if interested message me.

Though I have not imported ANYTHING into Kenya till date, I did some research before coming here a few months back and found an excellent official document regarding rules for First Arrival Privileges. I would, therefore, advise you to refer to the following document by Kenya Revenue Authority - … ptions.pdf

Specifically -

5. Passengers’ Baggage and personal effects
(3) Subject to paragraphs (1) and (2), the following goods may be exempted under this item when
imported as baggage by a person on first arrival or a returning resident of a Partner State whom
the proper officer is satisfied is bona fide changing residence from a place outside a Partner State
to a place within a Partner state. (Amended by Legal Notice No. 2 of 15th September 2005).
(a) wearing apparel;
(b) personal and household effects of any kind which were in his personal or household use
in his former place of residence;
(c) one motor vehicle, “(excluding buses and minibuses of seating capacity of more than 13
passengers and load carrying vehicles of load carrying capacity exceeding two tonnes)”
which the passenger has personally owned and used outside a Partner State for at least
twelve months (excluding the period of the voyage in the case of shipment)
Provided that the person has attained the age of eighteen years.

I am, however, not competent to comment on the difficulty in going through the process of actual import into the country.
Hope this helps.

Old post I know, but I thought this might be helpful. To be clear I've never actually done this, but I've looked into it before and it is no easy task. It's expensive and has enough hoops to jump through to make your own three ring circus. That said, I did find one resource helpful (in the sense that I decided not to go through with it) that had a lot of the information I was looking for. If anyone's interested, you can find it here:

This misses out the fact that the vehicle (unless specialist) must be right hand drive.  It also does not highlight all the taxes and fees involved.

New topic