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Registering a Vehicle in Kenya – From Import to Registration

Taking a look at most of our major towns and cities, one cannot help to wonder about the ever increasing number of vehicles on the roads. Traffic snarl ups have ceased to be wonders on most busy highways following the influx of cars into the country by large numbers. Apparently, the motor vehicle industry in Kenya has become one of the most lucrative and vibrant sectors of our economy as thousands rush to fulfill age-old dreams of owning a vehicle.

But stop, and take a moment to breathe as many really don’t know the rigorous and complex procedures involved in shipping a car from foreign lands. To start with there are a number of rules and regulations dictating the importation of cars into the country, some of these having been reinforced by the quality assurance body, the Kenya Bureau of Standards which states the general rule for importing vehicles, in this light it is illegal to ship in any vehicle unit that is older than 8 years since the first year of registration. Other requirements needed include possession of a permanent certificate for export, the bill of lading and the CIF invoice.


In Kenya there is also a prerequisite for import vehicles to be right hand driven though left hand drives can be allowed but only in special circumstances. Presence  of insurance documents ranks high in this process together with evidence of tax payments which may comprise  import  duty normally calculated at the CIF price by  25 %, Excise duty calculated at CIF price+ import duty multiplied by 20% not forgetting VAT which is calculated at CIF price added import duty plus Excise duty all this multiplied by 16%. However these expenses vary with different car makes and models being brought in, sometimes duty charged  will depend on the status of import declaration form. This particular document is a form for customs entry detailing imports in question and submitted by an importer or by a representative or dealer on the importer’s behalf.


It is a prudent thing to always opt for the services of a clearing agent to process any documentation, make an import declaration or pay duties to Kenya Customs, as protocol demands the involvement of these dealers as stipulated by the Simba 2005 System used by Customs for clearance of incoming cargo. Once the importer gets a clean bill of health the car can now be assumed to belong legally but not before it has been registered as required by law. This specific practice has been tasked to the Kenya Revenue Authority by the government.


To fast track the important bargain the KRA has put in place an automated system which eases the registration of thousands of vehicles each day, for one to successfully get a green light from the authority, several documents must be produced to satisfy inspectors, key among these papers are, Duty and VAT receipts, Import entry form (Form 63), Foreign log book translated into English (should the vehicle in question originate from a non English speaking country),  Together with these, a Port Release Order, a Bill of Lading which simply acknowledges receipt of goods , Clean Report of Findings (CRF), Import Declaration Form (IDF) Authority to enter goods for home use from the Commissioner of Customs & Excise, Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) if the vehicle is for commercial use, a temporary Importation Document (Form C44A or C44) Road manifest in the case of vehicles imported by road, Foreign Vehicle Receipt/License and Personal Identification Certificate Number (PIN) card together with a certified copy of national identity card of vehicle owner or valid Passport. Having satisfied the KRA officials the cars is then deemed legal on Kenyan soil.

About Shamurai

- Riding for 25 years
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