Main regulations for the import of cars to Kenya

  • Age Limit: The vehicle must not be more than 8 years old from the year of first registration. The cars that are registered in the last eight years have permission to enter the geographical boundaries of Mombasa.The difference between the date of registration and the date of manufacture shall not be more than one year. In 2012 only vehicles manufactured in the year 2005 and onwards will be allowed to be imported into Kenya. Suppose a vehicle is being imported from UK, which has been registered in 2002. The manufacturing date of the car is 1995, which means there is a gap of almost seven years between the date of manufacturing and registering. Shipping such cars to Mombasa is not allowed as the difference between the registration and the manufacturing year does exceed the one year period.

  • Right hand drive: All vehicles imported to Kenya must right hand drive (RHD) except for special vehicles. All left hand drive vehicles are not allowed for registration unless they have a special purpose such as ambulance and fire engine.

  • Road Worthiness: All motor vehicles imported into Kenya must undergo car inspection done by JEVIC (Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Centre) prior to shipment for road worthiness. JEVIC issues a vehicle roadworthiness certificate following the requirement of roadworthiness inspection rules set by Kenya Bureau of Standards which is necessary when clearing the imported car from the port of Mombasa. If it is found that the vehicle has not been inspected in the foreign country, then the importer has to bear fine. (Vehicles can be inspected in either Japan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore or South Africa. Each of these locations follows the same professional inspection standards.) The Inspection Criteria are

  • General Appearance:

(I). No corrosionif corrosion present this must be painted e.g. painting with chassis black (paster)
(II). No repair that detracts from the general appearance of the car
such as taping
(III). No damage that exceeds an area greater than the 1/4 of a panel in size. Even if it is not mentioned in the above, the car is failed when it has a hole in the panel
(IV). No sharp or dangerous projections
including broken antenna, etc.
(V). No missing parts
(VI). No loose parts

  • Door :

(I) To be able to open and close smoothly
(II) All components are fixed firmly
(III) To be able to lock
(IV) Power operated doors to be able to be operated manually.
(V) Draught excluders and weather rubbers are present and working
(VI) Sliding doors are able to be secured in the open position

  • Interior :

(I) All door and ceiling linings and any upholstery are free from damage (such as open tears and staining) in excess of 10 cm for passenger vehicles or 30 cm for commercial vehicles
(II) Not containing a large amount of rubbish.
(III) Components are not to have any deterioration, looseness, and other excessive damage
(IV) To be equipped with safety belts that function correctly
(IV) No corrosion
if corrosion present this must be painted e.g. painting with chassis black (paster) Standard of corrosion of cargo compartment for commercial vehicles such as vans, it is the same as that of trucks.

  • Suspension / Underside:

(I). No corrosionif corrosion present this must be painted e.g. painting with chassis black (paster) excluding areas predetermined to rust (only unprotected from manufacture. e.g. differential case)
(II). No leakage of water, oil and fuel
(III). No tear’s of the boots or bushes
(IV). No loose mounts
Shock absorbers operate normally

  • Exhaust System:

(I). No leakage
(II). No excessive noise

  • Tyres:

(I). Correct size for the vehicle
(II). No cracking, bulging or tear in the fabric which is more than 25 mm longer or 10% of tread width
(III). All treads need to be more than 1.6 mm
(IV). Fixed to the vehicle firmly
(V). Correctly inflated

  • Engine Bay:

(I). No fluid leakage including water, oil, or fuel
(II). Not containing a large amount of rubbish
(III). No excessive noise or vibration, and mechanisms functioning correctly
(IV). No corrosion
if corrosion present this must be painted e.g. painting with chassis black (paster)
(V). No excessive deterioration or damage to the belts
(VI). No fluid leakage from or sulphation of the battery
(VII). All wiring and cables to be properly fixed.

  • Instrumentation:

(I). All functioning correctly
(II). All bulbs working
(III). No warning lamps to remain on after the engine is started

  • Accessory:such as Air conditioning, Power window, Horn, etc.

(I). All functioning correctly

  • Lighting:

(I). All bulbs working
(II). Switches functioning correctly
(III). No damage to lenses such as cracks, etc.

  • Reflectors:

(I). Rear reflectors need to be colored in red
(II). Front or middle reflectors need to be colored in orange
(III). Securely attached

  • Mirrors:

(I). To be able to retract backwards
(II). If able to be stowed; operating correctly
(III). Securely attached

  • Wiper:

(I). Function correctly in accordance with switch operation
(II). No corrosion
if corrosion present this must be painted e.g. painting with chassis black (paster)
(III). No excessive lack of wiping

Procedure and requirements for importation into Kenya and clearance through customs

To import any commodity into Kenya, an importer will have to enlist the services of a clearing agent who will process the import documentation through Kenya Customs and clear the goods.

An import declaration fee (IDF) of 2.25% of the CIF Value subject to a minimum of Ksh. 5,000.00 is payable.

Customs will assess duty payable depending on the value of the item(s) and the duty rate applicable.

Duty on importation of used motor vehicles

    • Import Duty: 25% of the CIF value of the vehicle

    • Excise Duty: 20% of the (CIF value + Import Duty)

    • VAT: 16% of the (CIF value + Import Duty + Excise Duty)

    • IDF: 2.25% of the CIF value or Ksh. 5,000, whichever is higher, is payable.

(CIF – This is the customs value of the vehicle i.e. the Cost, Insurance & Freight paid for the vehicle. The CIF value of the vehicle is also deduced from the Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP) of the vehicle)

(Prime movers e.g. tractor units are VAT exempted since September 2nd, 2013 no more so a tax rate of 16 % on the importation of taxable goods shall be charged as if it were duty of customs and shall become due and payable by the importer at the time of importation.)



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