Kenya And East Africa

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Kenya’s economy is only third to South Africa’s and Nigeria’s economy as the biggest and most advanced economy in sub-Saharan Africa. .The country has a well developed infrastructure and is considered as one of the most important locations for businesses seeking entry into the African continent. Kenya has a fast growing middle-class that is the main market for second hand vehicles from Japan and the United Kingdom. Japan has in the past aggressively marketed its Quality Car Export to Kenya. However, the Kenyan public is becoming more and more informed and is now opening up for more diverse and better quality vehicles from Europe. The UK is the biggest source of these vehicles having a pool of large right hand cars than any other country in Europe.

IN the car import scene, the following points are worth noting:

  1. Only cars that meet the 8 year rule can be imported to Kenya. For example in 2015 only cars that were registered from 2008 onwards are allowed
  2. Inspection is mandatory. QISJ or JEVIC (or whichever the native country declares) must perform the vehicle inspection in the UK. Without this inspection, you stand paying hefty penalties at the port of Mombasa
  3. Only Right Hand Vehicles are allowed. Vehicles in Kenya are driven on the left hand side. Exemption to this are special vehicles like ambulances.

For more information, visit the following websites:

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Used car sales average about 85% (82,578 ) against 14,532 for new car sales in 2013 (Business Daily). This is because used cars are quite affordable compared to new cars. And in August, 2014, Kenya’s president ordered the Ministry of Transport to scrap off duty fees on all right-hand-drive cars imported by Kenyans living abroad that are unable to bring along their left-hand-drive vehicles. Here are important considerations that you need to be well versed with when importing second hand cars from the UK.

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Firstly, it is important you consider importation of used car laws in Kenya. These are availed by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) in coordination with the Kenya Revenue Authority, and enforced by the Kenya Customs at the port of Mombasa. The port of Mombasa is the entry point for almost all car imports into Kenya and the East Africa region.
These are:

  • Must not be more than 8 years from year of manufacture.
  • Difference between date of manufacture and date of registration must not be more than one year; if manufactured in 2009, then the registration must have been done in 2010
  • Must be right-hand-drive (RHD) with exemptions only made for special purpose vehicles such as ambulances and fire engines
  • Must be road-worthy; your car must be cleared for being usable and observes the various carbon emissions requirements for environmental conservation
  • A valid inspection certificate by either JEVIC or QISJ (or whichever the native country declares). This must be obtained from the country of origin failure to which would result in hefty penalties.
  • An accredited Clearing and forwarding firm to handle the paperwork and logistics on your behalf on its Simba 2005 Platform.
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Duty fees payable to KRA through Kenya customs department:

  • 25% of the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) amount paid for the car as Import duty
  • 25% of the CIF amount as Import Declaration Fee (IDF), or KSh 5000 whichever amount is higher
  • 20% of the sum total of Import duty and CIF amount as Excise duty
  • 16% of (CIF amount + Import duty + Excise duty) as Value Added Tax (VAT)
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  • CFS (container freight station) fees from KSh 18,500 – KSh 35,000 depending on the car model, paid to the port.
  • About KSh 20,000 for Clearing and Forwarding agents. Contact your C&F agents in advance, so they can track your shipment on high seas.
  • About KSh 3,000 (varies) per day at Mombasa port’s car park.
  • Remember, the Port of Mombasa is a corruption-free zone and suspicious dealings may lead to seizure of your asset and further fines.
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  • Your original national ID/passport
  • Pre Inspection Certificate issued by JEVIC/QISJ (accredited by KEBS) (or whichever the native country declares)
  • Your KRA PIN Card
  • Vehicle’s foreign logbook to confirm ownership
  • Original Bill of Landing and the car registration documents from its previous home country
  • Port release order, evidence of insurance cover, import declaration form, Clean Report of Findings (CRF), and import duty receipt
  • Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) for commercial purpose vehicles.
  • Check the list of UK secondhand cars allowed for importation into Kenya from KRA’s website.
  • Each car’s original value and estimated current value and other details that’ll help you with calculating duty fees are to be found there. You can use a free online import duty calculator to help you out. Check out
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Most second-hand cars for sale in Kenya are originally from Japan or UK. Toyota tops that list. One reason for that is the fact that UK cars are right-hand-drive, like Kenya’s. Importing a used car from other LHD countries such as the US and Europe may violate this requirement. UK models are also considerably cheaper for Kenyan car end buyers.
Others choose to import used cars from Dubai to Kenya. Only that most car dealers in Kenya look out for cheap Japanese used cars to fetch better profits and, importantly, sell the cars faster due to affordable pricing.

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Contact a certified used car dealer in UK. This should be a registered company in the UK and will have Company registration details on their website/and or any correspondence. You can confirm this with the UK company registration body. Once you have yourself a reliable buyer, enquire for the car of your choice, and if available demand to check unaltered pictures of that particular model. The company should be able to advise you and inspect your vehicle with the relevant inspection authorities like JEVIC or QISJ (or whichever the native country declares). Make sure that your vehicle is also insured with a reputable company as shipping companies will tell you that they are not liable for any losses during transportation.

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RORO (Roll on Roll off is a method whereby your vehicle is driven to the deck of a ship and parked securely as it is transported over the high seas where eventually it will be rolled off/driven to the port). This is cheaper than hiring a container to place your vehicle for transportation in the ship. You are a prudent buyer and would definitely hate to spoil your car during shipping, so you might want to secure your car against damage by hiring a container for it.

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The Kenya Customs Department forbids this. If you do, you might incur unnecessary fines and penalty – further increasing the cost of your car. Further, if personal items found in your car are considered illegal in Kenya, such as narcotics or live animals, your car will be seized at the port of Mombasa, and you’d be in for a tussle with the law.

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Other alternative sources for used cars are Japan, Dubai and South Africa. Cars from Japan are usually petrol as the Japanese government puts a lot of barriers on diesel driven cars. Dubai is another global used car market. When buying a car though, maintenance costs are a key factor to ponder on. Cars imported from the UAE into Kenya, for example, maybe unattractive to Kenyans looking for cheaper, easier to maintain cars.

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Cars destined to Uganda are exported via the port of Dar-Es-Salaam or Mombasa. Dar-Es-Salaam is usually preferable due to the low rates

  • There is no age Restriction
  • JEVIC is a mandatory inspection
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  • Cars destined to Tanzania are imported via the port of Dar-Es-Salaam
  • There is no age restriction
  • Inspection is carried out by JAAI (Japan Automobile Appraisal Institute), a nonprofit organization under the supervision of Japanese government.