Cost of importing a car into Kenya

Hi All,

I just moved to Kenya to work with an NGO, I wanted to import a car into Kenya from japan and wanted to know what tax exemptions an expat gets when importing a car. I have tried different online calculation platforms but non of them gives exemption.

Any assistance and reference would help.


As far as I am aware the only exemption is for diplomatic cars.

Expats don't get exemption.  The exceptions are returning residents (under certain conditions), diplomatic staff and military.

Unfortunately you will have to pay duty.

Thanks for the reply, is there a way to verify actual import duty payable on a car. I called KRA, they informed me I have to get an agent, I have contacted a few and they all give me different import duties and levies, is there a way to verify what the actual cost of import duty is?

It is true that you must have a clearing agent in Kenya.  Their charges are likely to vary, but cheap doesn't equate with a good service.  You must also have had a pre-shipment inspection of your vehicle carried out.

KRA have got this calculator on their website: … mport-duty

There have been some recent changes with regard to engine capacity, with higher rates of duty for larger engines.    I assume that your vehicle is under 8 years old?

Bear in mind that duty is calculated on the basis of the vehicle value (as assessed by KRA), plus the cost of freight, plus the cost of insurance (CIF).  In this way the amount of duty can seen disproportionately high.  There are also a variety of admin charges and taxes, Excise Duty, railway levy, VAT, registration fees and so on, all of which add up to around 75 - 80% of the value of the vehicle.

You will need a KRA PIN.

Thanks Logonot62,

I already have PIN number and have identified the car I want to import and it is 6 years 7 months old and it will take roughly 6 week to get to port of Mombasa.

The kra calculator helped me to verify what the agent was telling me. Problem is that some agents are not very transparent, when they give you the breakdown of what you have to pay, especially when they detect you are not from Kenya.

I also stumbled upon this app on Google Play Store Kenya Car Duty Calculator, it shows amount one pays in import duty, excise tax and VAT. … cardutycal 


Unfortunately, as you must use a shipping agent, you are beholden to them and their charges.  The duty charges and other charges must be paid before the vehicle can be released to you.  You can try and approach an agent with your estimate of charges (use the KRA online calculator though, it may carry more 'weight'), then obtain a quotation from them.  You can only hope that additional charges are not added along the way.

At one time the port was full of unclaimed vehicles, due to excessive charges being applied.

We have shipped two vehicles, one under the returning resident rules, the other not.  On the whole, I would be tempted to just buy locally - Kenya is full of Japanese cars between 6 and 8 years old.

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