How to Import a Used Car from Japan to Kenya: Your Ultimate Guide

Importing a used car from Japan into Kenya is a popular choice for many Kenyans, offering access to high-quality vehicles at competitive prices. This detailed guide aims to simplify the process, covering everything from regulations and taxes to selecting the right vehicle and shipping options.

Understanding Kenya’s Import Regulations

To ensure a seamless importation process, familiarize yourself with Kenya’s specific requirements. Vehicles imported into Kenya must not be more than eight years old from their year of manufacture. Additionally, a roadworthiness inspection is mandatory for all imports, ensuring they meet Kenya’s safety and environmental standards.

Comprehensive Breakdown of Taxes and Duties

Importing a vehicle involves several key costs beyond the purchase price. These include:

  • Import Duty: Charged at 25% of the Customs Value (CIF – Cost, Insurance, and Freight).
  • Excise Duty: Rates vary depending on the vehicle’s engine capacity and age. Generally, it’s 20% for vehicles with an engine capacity of less than 1500cc and higher for larger engines. Moreover, older vehicles attract higher excise duties to discourage the importation of older cars.
  • Value Added Tax (VAT): Levied at 16% of the cumulative value after adding the CIF value, Import Duty, and Excise Duty.
  • Railway Development Levy (RDL): Charged at 2% of the CIF value.

Selecting the Right Vehicle

Start your journey by choosing a vehicle that not only suits your needs but also complies with Kenyan regulations. Platforms like BE FORWARD,, and SBT Japan are excellent places to begin your search, offering extensive listings to compare prices and specifications.

Calculating the Total Cost

It’s crucial to understand all the costs involved. Besides the purchase price, factor in shipping fees, inspection charges, and the taxes and duties outlined above. This will give you a clear picture of the total investment required to bring your selected vehicle to Kenya.

Shipping Options Explained

When it comes to shipping, you have two main options: Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) and container shipping. RoRo is often more affordable, whereas container shipping provides better protection for your vehicle.

Engage a Professional Clearing Agent

For a smooth customs clearance process in Kenya, hiring a reputable clearing agent is advisable. Choose one registered with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to handle the necessary paperwork and ensure all taxes and duties are paid correctly.

Documentation Required

Be prepared to submit several documents, including the original Bill of Lading, commercial invoice, vehicle’s logbook, pre-shipment inspection certificate, and your KRA PIN certificate. Your clearing agent will assist in gathering and submitting these documents.

Final Steps: Receiving and Registering Your Vehicle

After your car arrives and clears customs, it must be registered with the KRA before you can drive it on Kenyan roads. Again, your clearing agent can help you through this final stage, ensuring you comply with all local regulations.

In Conclusion

By following this guide and working with experienced professionals, you can navigate the process of importing a used car from Japan to Kenya with confidence. With careful planning and attention to detail, you’ll soon enjoy the benefits of your imported vehicle on Kenyan roads.

There are many Japanese Used Car, trucks buses, and farm tractors in all Japanese market.
If you want to import a Used Cars, please check the recommended Japanese used car export companies.

Top Recommended Japanese Used Car Export Companies for International Customers

If you want to know more details about Automotive industry in Kenya, please refer to Wikipedia.