Returning Resident? This is what you need know…

BLOG 15/12/2020

Have you ever lived in a place outside Kenya? Am sure most if not all of us have a relative or a friend living outside Kenya. If they choose to return to Kenya, they are referred to as ‘returning residents.’

A returning resident is a person changing residence from a place outside Kenya to a place within Kenya.

Returning residents are allowed to import personal and household goods including one motor vehicle on a duty-free basis. This means that they do not pay any importation taxes. However, there are certain conditions that must be met i.e. they must have proof of living abroad and their goods must be imported within 3 months of arrival. However, the Commissioner can grant an extension of up to one year.

Importation of a duty-free motor vehicle excludes buses and minibuses of seating capacity of more than 13 passengers and commercial vehicles of 2 tonnes and above. The following conditions must also be met: attained the age of eighteen years, they must have used the vehicle outside Kenya for at least twelve months (excluding the period of voyage in the case of shipment), the vehicle must be owned and registered in their name, and where the motor vehicle is purchased on hire purchase terms, the first instalment must have been paid and delivery taken at least twelve months prior to importation.

A Kenyan resident returning from a country that operates left-hand drive (LHD) motor vehicles is allowed to import a replacement right hand drive (RHD) vehicle from any other source. However, the replacement motor vehicle current retail selling price should not exceed that of the previously owned left-hand drive vehicle. The returning resident must show proof that they owned and personally used the left-hand drive vehicle in the country of former residence for a period of at least one year, prior to their return. They must also provide proof of disposal (transfer of ownership) of the previously owned vehicle before changing residence from the former country of residence.

Are there any documents required? Yes. The returning resident will require the following documents for the exemption to be processed:

  1. Original Passport (if issued within last 2 years, the old Passport is also required)
  2. Residence Visa / Work Permit – original
  3. PIN Certificate
  4. Original Bill of Lading / Air Waybill
  5. Comprehensive Valued Inventory – 3 copies, detailed per box w/boxes numbered and signed by owner
  6. Packing List
  7. Authority Letter nominating a licensed custom clearing agent to act on their behalf

If you are a Kenyan living abroad and consider returning to Kenya, those are some of the regulations that you should be aware of. However, duties and taxes are payable for any goods that are not exempt at the applicable rates.


Rhoda Wambui










Did you find this content useful?

Average Rating

Based on 17 ratings