How to bring your car to Sao Tome adn Principe

Hello everybody,

If you exported your car to Sao Tome adn Principe, 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 Sao Tome and Principe?

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

Once you arrived in Sao Tome and Principe, what were the applicable taxes? What was the customs process like?

How do you go about registering an imported car in Sao Tome and Principe?

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!


Depending on where you live, shipping a car to Sao Tome will be expensive. You will have to contact a shipping company such as Suddath and inquire about their shipping rates. It will not be cheap. I cannot give you a number because my car (an SUV) was shipped over to Sao Tome by my company at no cost to me. It took four months for it to arrive.

Upon arrival of your vehicle in Sao Tome, it has to pass an inspection, be registered and insured. You can purchase an insurance policy for about $120/year on the Island. You will also need a Sao Tome drivers license. You get it by showing your current drivers license. There is no written or practical drivers test.

With all of that said, it is my opinion that it is much cheaper to purchase a used car in Sao Tome (you can purchase a new one if you wish). There are two types of fuel in Sao Tome: Diesel and gasoline. Gasoline is the more expensive. I am estimating $7-$9 a kilo.

Vehicle maintenance repair facilities are few. Yet, there are many "backyard" mechanics who know what they are doing and can perform decent repairs at a reasonable cost.

Getting spare parts can be challenging.  I shipped over with my vehicle items such as oil and air filters, brake pads, shock absorbers, headlights, radiator, hoses, wiper blades and even spare tires.

In other words, if you ship your car, it would be wise to have your own "auto parts" stash.

As an American working in Sao Tome, I was able to order all manner of items (food, auto parts, electronics, etc) and they were shipped to me via the US Embassy "Diplomatic Pouch." It would take 2-3 weeks for those items to arrive.

There is no U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in Sao Tome. The U.S. Embassy in Libreville, Gabon services Sao Tome.

There are not even a handful of Americans in Sao Tome and sending and receiving mail from CONUS is unclear. I have reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Gabon to inquire about how Americans who would decide to reside in Sao Tome (unattached to the VOA Station there) send and receive mail. (This is important because you would be able to order items because you would have a mailing address in Sao Tome.)

If you are from another country, I can advise,

Hello Ron,

I asked a question earlier - which this reply has now answered.

Many thanks!


@rharris . Thank you. This is very informative. Do you still live there?