Car Import Duty in Kenya

Custom Clearance of your Vehicle in Kenya

How old a vehicle you can import into Kenya

Only 8 years and younger vehicle may be imported into Kenya. The law is very strict about this, according to the Kenya Bureau of Standards KS 1515:2000. For example, for the year 2019, only vehicles manufactured in or after 2012 would be allowed. As this may change from year to year, it is best to refer to the official website to stay up to date.

How Do I Clear My Vehicle?

There is one port of entry for vehicles imported from Jim Autos Thailand, Japan, Australia, Dubai and elsewhere – the Port of Mombasa. This is where ships offload their cargo, and accredited agents are necessary to perform the clearance. A look at the Kenya Revenue Authority website will give you a constantly updated list of clearing agents.

The agent will check through the documentation of the vehicle electronically on behalf of the importer. You will have to pay an import declaration fee (IDF) of approximately Ksh 5000/= or 2.25%, whichever is higher, of the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value paid on the vehicle.

Due to exchange rates constantly rising and fluctuating, be sure to check current data for accurate calculations. Customs will then calculate the custom rates applicable depending on the value of the vehicle.

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 electronically on the Simba 2005 system and clear the goods on your behalf. A listing of licensed clearing agents is available at

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. The East African Community Common External Tariff laying out the duty rates of imported items is available at here.

How much it will cost to Import a Vehicle in Kenya

Import Duty + Excise Duty + V.A.T will work out to 74% on all vehicles irrespective of engine size. The duty payable on the importation of a motor vehicle is as follows:

    • 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 (Import Declaration Fee): 2.25% of the CIF value or $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. Sometimes, the CIF could also be calculated from the Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP) of the vehicle. CRSP, is calculated on the value of the same or similar vehicle in the showroom, minus the profit margin, and then calculated back to the year of manufacture.

1. Customs Duty Depends on Following Factors

This varies by the vehicle you have imported, Customs duty depends on a few factors that you ought to understand that are listed below:

  • Make of the Car – i.e Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, Land Rover, BMW, etc.
  • Model of the Car – i.e Premio, Forester, Sunny, Discovery, 318i, etc.
  • Class of the Car – i.e. Station Wagon, Saloon, Van, etc.
  • Year & Month of Manufacture – i.e. 2003/02 (Feb), 2004/06 (June), 2005/12 (Dec), etc.
  • Engine Capacity – i.e. 1300cc, 1500cc, 1800cc, 2000cc, etc.
  • Engine Transmission – i.e. Manual or Automatic.
  • Fuel Type – i.e. Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid.

The reason as to why all the above information is important is because all these details affect the overall Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP) of the car when buying it brand new from the showroom.

CRSP is basically the price that you will pay for a brand new version of the car you are importing (i.e. if you are importing a 2013 BMW 520i, the the CRSP is the price of the car brand new from the showroom).

2. Motor Vehicle Duty  Calculation

When calculating duty, Customs takes the CRSP (Current Retail Selling Price) and then deduct margin profit, depreciates it to the cars year of manufacture as per the stipulated depreciation rate, then they deduct the percentage taxes slapped on the price. The remaining amount is what Customs bases their values on. As indicated above, the charges are calculated as follows:

  • 25% of the amount as – Import Duty
  • 20% of the amount + Import Duty as – Excise Duty
  • 16% of the amount + Import Duty + Excise Duty as -VAT
  • 2.25% of the amount as-IDF Fee
  • The total is payable to the NBK/CO-OP banks as Customs Duty.
    • NBK (National Bank of Kenya), Co-operative Bank of Kenya

3. CFS/Port Charges

The CFS (Container Freight Station) charges varies with the size (Volume or cubic measurement) of the unit and the Yard which the vessel discharges/unloads. For vans like Toyota Hiace pay is around Ksh. 30,000/- to 26,000/-, 4 wheel drive cars like Prado it is around Ksh. 34,000/- to 30,000/-, Saloon Cars like Toyota Corrola NZE 11cbm is around Ksh. 22,000/- to 18,500/- .

This is what you will pay if cleared within stipulated time allowed by the customs (i.e. 7 days). Its payable against Invoice from the Port/ CFS(Container Freight Station)


The IDF (Import Declaration Form) fees are charged at a rate of 2.25% of the cost of Customs Value. Regardless of your import, Ksh. 5,000/- is payable upfront to Treasury via National Bank/Co-op Bank

5. Shipping Line Charges – Delivery Order Fees

This normally  averages Ksh. 10,000/- + VAT which amounts to an average of Ksh. 12,000/-.

Payable to the agents of the Vessel/ships which shipped your cargo and it is against their invoice.

6. Clearance Fees

Clearing and Forwarding fees normally depends with the agreement you have with your C&F Agent. Mostly it will range from Ksh. 15,000/- to 30,000/- for the units and 25,000 onwards for Containers. Its a negotiable fee and its paid to the clearing agent.

Other costs that may be involved but as per your arrangement are:

  • Insurance – (as per your insurer)
  • Delivery – (fuel to your destination)
  • Driver Charges – (charges for the driver)
  • Minor Car Service – (good measure to give the car a clean bill of health for delivery & your initial use)

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