What you need to know before importing a car to Kenya 


 What you need to know before importing a car to Kenya 

What you need to know before importing a car to Kenya 

Most Kenyans prefer to import slightly used vehicles from Japan because they are affordable compared to the local showrooms. Unfortunately, many people do not know what the process entails, and many have fallen victims to con artists. 

By importing your car through the right company, you can save up to 20 – 25 percent of the local costs. The importation process takes a bit more time and can be highly confusing for many first-timers.  

If you are not well informed about this process, you could lose your money and not receive the car. Experts from bestcarsforsaleinkenya.co.ke have compiled this article to help you learn more before you import your favorite car. 

  • Choose the right seller. 

This is the most significant decision you will need to make before importing your car. This is the point where most people get scammed! There are many sellers out there, and it can be pretty confusing who to trust.  

Being an online market doesn’t make it any easier either; you can be conned easily because the exchange of money and goods is not simultaneous. You will have to pay for the car before you can get it on the other side. 

Already these are scary reports we have shared, and most people, for fear of losing their money, tend to stop right here. However, you can use a well-known company in Kenya to shop and ship your car.    

To avoid any form of scams, if you plan to import your vehicle from Japan, check if the importing company is registered with JUMVEA – Japanese Used Motor Vehicle Exporter’s Association. 

  • Select your favorite car

Now that you have settled on the importation company, it’s time to choose your favorite car. Choose a make and model that has low maintenance costs and a good resale value. 

It would be a raw deal if you save a good amount of money importing your vehicle and then spend more to maintain it. Make sure you choose a make that has readily available and affordable spare parts in Kenya.

To strike a good deal, choose a car with low mileage, cc, has spacious and comfortable seating capacity and is popular in Kenya.   

  • Select the right grade

The make and the model are not all; you will need to select the quality of the vehicle. The pictures displayed are not enough to tell of the quality of the car. The Japanese car market has a system that grades the quality of the vehicles on sale. 

The system grades the vehicle based on an assessment of the overall quality of the car. The grades range from 0 – 5, with 0 being the lowest and five being close to brand new status. Choose a grade 4 and above vehicle – it’s always in perfect condition and easier to work with. Choose a unit that has a low mileage of at least less than 100,000km.

  • Know the rules and regulations that govern the importation 

Now that you identify what car you want and its quality, let’s learn about the Kenyan rules and regulations for importation.  

To ensure your vehicle is allowed into the country, it must comply with the Kenya Bureau of Standards legal notice no.78 of 15th July 2005 and the Kenya Standard Code of Practice for Inspection of Road Vehicles. The vehicle you choose must be: 

  • Eight years and below from the year of first registration
  • A right-hand drive
  • Subject to roadworthiness test by a KEBS inspection agent in the country of export   
  • Choose your shipping method.

After you are clear with all the above details, it’s time to think about getting your car to Kenya. Your shipping mode is directly influenced by your timelines, budget and how urgent you need your vehicle. The available methods include container vehicle, roll on roll off and airfreight.   

  • Container vehicle – this method involves shipping your automobile inside a shared or dedicated container. The main advantage of this is you are allowed to send other personal belongings along with the car. 
  • Roll-on roll-off – this method uses specially designed ships to carry wheeled cargo like trucks, trailers, cars, semi-trailer trucks, etc. Vehicles loaded on this vessel can drive on and off the boat on their wheels through a vehicle platform. RoRo is the cheapest shipping method available.
  • Airlifting – It is the fastest method of shipment that delivers your car within three days. However, it is the most expensive mode of shipping. Most people who chose this means are mainly importing new vehicles.

All the above methods are safe, and your choice depends on how much you are willing to spend to get your car shipped.  

  • Extra fees you will need to pay

To get your car to the port of Mombasa will cost you the CIF value – the cost of the vehicle, the insurance fee charged, and the freight cost of the car.  

To clear the imported vehicle, you must pay the IPF, Import Declaration Fee, which is usually 2.25% of the CIF value. There is also an import duty of 25%. VAT of 16%, Railway development levy of 1.5%, and excise duty vary depending on the vehicle category. 


We understand this is a lot to grasp, but the best way to handle this is to talk to a car importation company here in Kenya. They will be able to break down the prices and requirements bit by bit.  

However, knowing what to expect is critical and will help you separate the cons from the real deal.  


By James Gatheru,

Managing Director AJ Kenya Safaris,

Website: www.ajkenyasafaris.com

What you need to know before importing a car to Kenya 

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