Don't Be Conned! Follow These Easy Steps To Import A Car From Japan To Kenya

Don't Be Conned! Follow These Easy Steps To Import A Car From Japan To Kenya

Buying and importing vehicles abroad can be a risky affair. You stand chances of falling victim of online Fraudsters. Even though most purchases go through, one is required to be extra cautious during the whole process. 

Here are the steps to guide you through :

Step 1

When buying and importing a car from Japan to Kenya, start by visiting any major Japanese Car seller website and identify the Car you want to Buy; in most cases I use these 5 companies:

Befoward Japan


Alain Japan

Autocom Japan

SBT Japan


Step 2

In the second step of buying and importing a car from Japan to Kenya, identify the Car that you want e.g. Brand name, Year of Manufacture etc. It’s very important to note that Motor vehicles of over 8 years old are not allowed into Kenya as per the KS 1515:2000 quality standard by the Kenya Bureau of Standards. Kenya Customs enforces this requirement.

Customs Duty: How duty for your car is calculated in Kenya


Step 3

In the third step of buying and importing a car from Japan to Kenya, make a Purchase Order (PO) from the seller, A PO is basically a Request from the Buyer instructing the Seller to issue you with a Proforma Invoice, in this stage I would also like to Clarify 2 things:

A) There’s FOB (Freight on Board) which in most cases you will see on the website – This is not the Complete Cost of the Vehicle because the Car has to be Inspected by JEVIC which is like the Kenyan Kebs to ensure quality standards are adhered to before shipping

B) CIF – This is Cost Insurance and Freight – This is basically the Final Cost of the

Vehicle , Most sellers will allow you to negotiate this Cost down by 500 USD depends on how many units you have bought from them before and also on your negation skills .


Step 4

Accept the Motor Sale Agreement Contract (Invoice ) by basically remitting cash to the provided Bank account by the Seller ,

In Most cases you have to remit Cash via Telegraphic transfers which is commonly known as T/T by Kenyan Banks, ensure that you attach the Invoice on the transfer order so and instruct the teller to Copy main details onto the Transfer form, these are (Car Brand , engine and Reference number ) . These details are extremely important.


Step 5

Scan the Transfer form and submit it to the Seller, The Seller will then notify you via email that your car is now ready to be shipped to Kenya, It takes about 1 week for inspection and to transfer the car to the loading bay (Japanese Ports ) ,


Step 6

The Seller will ask you to confirm the Shipping address for your B/L (Bill of Lading) copies , B/L Copies are basically proof that the vehicle belongs to you,

The B/L copies are in most cases sent Via DHL or FedEx services in Kenya , in Most Cases your B/L copy will be ready in 2 weeks so no need to panic .


Step 7

Once you have received the B/L Copy, then you will have to transfer the Clearing services to a Listed Agent with KRA. 

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.

To view a listing of licensed clearing agents, click here.

An import declaration fee (IDF) of the CIF Value subject to the minimum amount 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.


Step 8

Once your Clearing Agent has declared the vehicle with customs, then he will be issued with a Tax report, the duty payable on the importation of a motor vehicle is as follows:

 Import Duty: percentage of the CIF value of the vehicle

 Excise Duty: percentage of the (CIF value + Import Duty)

 VAT: percentage of the (CIF value + Import Duty + Excise Duty)

 IDF: percentage of the CIF value.

CIF – This is the customs value of the vehicle i.e. the Cost, Insurance & Freight paid for the vehicle.

The CIF -value of the vehicle is also deduced from the Current Retail Selling Price (CRSP) of the vehicle.

In Most cases when buying and importing a car from Japan to Kenya, you will have to pay duty through a Bankers Cheque addressed to the Commissioner of Customs KRA, the agent will then use this receipt to clear the car on your behalf.


Step 9

You will finally have to pay the Clearing Agent some fee together with some other port handling charges.

Step 10

You can organize with your Clearing Agent to have your car delivered to your doorstep but this is primarily based on Trust. In most cases they will charge about Sh. 10,000.