Q & A

Duties and Taxes payable
Import duty at 25%, Excise duty at 20% and VAT at 16% are payable cumulatively and in that order. i.e,

    • Import duty is 25% of the Customs value (CIF) of the vehicle i.e. 25% of (Invoice value + Insurance + Freight charges)
    • Excise duty is 20% of (Customs Value + Import Duty)
    • VAT is 16% of (Customs Value + Import Duty + Excise Duty)


Further, an Import Declaration Fee (IDF) of 2.25% of the CIF is also charged subject to a minimum of Ksh. 5,000 payable in advance on application.

Clearance through Customs

To clear the vehicle through Kenya Customs, an importer will have to contract a licensed clearing agent to process their declaration in the Simba 2005 system. A listing of licensed clearing agents is available online here.

The clearing agent will lodge an import entry in Simba 2005 system, pay the required duties and taxes and present all the relevant documentation for Customs to pass the entry.
The documents required are:

  • Original Commercial Invoice.
  • Original Bill of Lading.
  • Import Declaration Form obtained from Customs.
  • Authentic Original Logbook from country of origin.

KRA shall not accept a Certificate of Export issued by Dubai Police or any other authority as a substitute for a foreign log book.
If the logbook is in a foreign language, an English translation issued by the respective Embassy, High Commission or a consulate based here in Kenya, must be furnished to Customs to authenticate the foreign logbook.

  • Cancellation of the foreign Logbook
  • Certificate of Inspection by Japan Auto Appraisal Institute (JAAI)
  • Any other document that may be required by Customs

Note: The vehicle must meet Kenya Bureau of Standards KS 1515:2000 – Code of Practice for Inspection of Road Vehicles.

The Standard spells out three major criteria for acceptance of vehicles of importation:

A. Age Limit
All road vehicles, which are more than eight years old from the year of manufacture, shall not be allowed for importation. Currently we are accepting cars manufactured in 2002 and after.

B. Left Hand Drive
All left hand drive vehicles are not allowed for registration unless they are for special purpose i.e. Ambulances, Fire Tenders and large construction vehicles imported for projects and to be eventually donated to the Kenyan Government.

C. Road Worthiness
All used vehicles imported into Kenya shall be inspected for Road Worthiness, safety and other requirements.

All imports of used motor vehicles including those belonging to returning residents, diplomats and or public servants must meet the above requirements.

Returning resident: A person changing residence from a place outside Kenya to a place within Kenya where that person has been residing outside Kenya for a period of at least two years and has not resided in Kenya for a period(s) amounting in aggregate to ninety days or more within the two years immediately before this return to Kenya.

A returning resident may import one exempt motor vehicle "(excluding buses and minibuses of seating capacity of more than 13 passengers and load carrying capacity exceeding two tonnes)" Provided that:
i) the person has attained the age of eighteen years; and
ii) the vehicle was used by him outside Kenya for at least three hundred and sixty days (excluding the period of voyage in the case of shipment)

iii) the vehicle is owned and registered in his name and/or his spouse, and where the motor vehicle is purchased on hire purchase terms, the first instalment in respect thereof was paid and delivery taken at least three hundred and sixty days prior to importation.

For further information on duty exemption, click here

To process any documentation, make an import declaration or pay duties to Kenya Customs, you will require the services of a licensed clearing agent with authorized access to the Simba 2005 System used by Customs for clearance of cargo.

A listing of all licensed clearing agents is available here

The import duty rates of all commodities are set out in the EAC Common External Tariff. However, this should be read vis a vis the EAC Gazette Notices that incorporate any changes in the tariff rates.
A separate schedule titled ‘Customs Tariffs 2005/06’ is available here.

Contact a licensed clearing agent to lodge an entry with Customs.
Present the vehicle for inspection by Customs prior to acceptance of the entry document.
If found to conform to the required standards, the processing officer will accept payment and pass the entry upon full payment of the relevant duties and taxes.
The vehicle can then be registered or ownership transferred in the Road Transport Department.

Copyright © 2004, Kenya Revenue Authority. All Rights Reserved.