a-breakdown-of-process-of-buying-and-importing-a-car-from-japan-to-kenya

This is a breakdown of the process of buying and importing a car from Japan to Kenya; Purchasing a car locally in Kenya can be quite costly sometimes.

As a result, many Kenyans are opting to buy cars in Japan and then import them to Kenya. This process however is full of ups and downs and can be quite difficult to satisfy fully and get your car in perfect condition while at least reducing the overall cost. That is why you need to know the whole process and all it entails step by step.

A breakdown of the process of buying and importing a car from Japan to Kenya

  • Identifying the car you want to buy
  • Purchasing the car from Japan car auction
  • Shipping the car to Kenya
  • Clearing the car at the port

Buying and importing a car from Japan; here’s what you need to know

a-breakdown-of-process-of-buying-and-importing-a-car-from-japan-to-kenya
Imported cars

It is cheaper to buy a used car and import it to Japan but it is quite expensive to purchase a new one and import it to Kenya. It is therefore quite less costly to purchase new ones locally. For used cars, the main place you can purchase them is from the Japan car auction. This usually marks the process of buying and importing a car from Japan. The other steps would then follow. In order to find a favourable car, you need to do some background checks on the car you identify and select to purchase. Therefore, try to know the car you’re buying. Bear in mind that only cars that have been used for eight years or less since they were manufactured are allowed into Kenya.

Identifying the car you want to buy

As we have hinted, the car you want to buy should be favourable and should be in good condition. The Japan car auction provides many options to look for. There are regulatory measures in place so you can easily find a car in good condition. Take some time to research and come up with a good selection for the car you want to buy. After finding the best option, you can go to the next step.

Purchasing the car from Japan car auction

The Japan car auction brings together a collection of used cars to be sold. To find a good car, you will now have to contact an auctioneer to buy the car on your behalf. On this, you have to be careful to make sure you get a trusted agent to buy the car for you. When the auction begins, the auction agent will bid on the car you want on your behalf and buy it for you. Having identified the car, it will now be easier to select a good car during the buying process. Take note of the following;

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You have to pay a security deposit in advance so that the auctioneer can bid on the car you want.

After bidding, if that car wins the bid, a final invoice is sent to you to pay the final amount to the dealer. This is important and you need to have it to clear your car.

The car will then be shipped to your country as required by the governing laws.

Shipping the car to Kenya

Cars on shipment vessel

After your dealer confirms the full payment, they will then put your car up for shipment to your country together with all the necessary documents which include the following;

  • Inspection report and certificate
  • Bill of landing
  • Export certificate
  • Final invoice.

The above documents are mandatory during the clearance process and you cannot clear your car unless you have them. After the car is set for shipment, you will have to wait for it to arrive at the port of Mombasa. It can take anywhere from two to three months depending on the circumstances. The documentation usually arrives beforehand. In approximately two weeks before your car arrives, you should have had the documents already. Upon the arrival of the car, the clearance process will begin.

Clearing the car at the port

Clearing your car at the port of Mombasa strictly requires a certified agent to carry out. Certified agents are empowered by the Kenya Revenue Authority to carry out such operations. To find a proper agent for this task, you will have to visit the KRA website. There you will find a list of certified agents for this purpose. The main reason you need them is that they’re the only ones with access to the Simba Tradex system which requires specific credentials to log into. After you find a certified agent, they can now help you with the clearance process.

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Documents needed during clearance at the port

  • National ID
  • The original bill of landing
  • Inspection certificate
  • Export certificate
  • KRA pin certificate
  • NTSA TIMS account
  • Company registration and incorporation certificate in case of a company car.

The clearance process

In total, the clearance process might take up to 10 working days, delays notwithstanding. It starts prior to the arrival of the car. A week before the arrival date of your car, the KRA agent logs into the KRA system and fills out an Import Declaration Form (IDF) which is a form of acknowledgement that a new car has been imported into the country.  Upon arrival, your car is secured by the port authorities awaiting the clearance process. The agent would have been issued with an entry sheet that indicates the taxes that are to be paid during the clearance. You will be asked to pay for all the import duties for your car to be cleared at the port. Make sure an original recipe is issued to you upon payment as proof of payment. 

When all these, plus the documents that we listed above have been verified, your car will be up for registry by the NTSA. The agent will create a new account with the NTSA for you. They will pay for your number plate, which will then be issued later. The NTSA will issue you with the latest plate available, which then your agent will collect and fix on your car. After this, the car will be legally yours and you can collect it from the port. The detailed process of clearing the car at the port is contained in this guide.

Having cleared your car, you will be ready to pick it up and start using it like any other car bought in Kenya. The whole process is relatively cheaper compared to buying a brand new car locally. However, for cars below the price of Ksh. 2 million, it’s better to buy them locally. If you do all the above, you would have successfully gone through the process of buying and importing a car from Japan.

A breakdown of the process of buying and importing a car from Japan to Kenya- FAQ

What is the process of importing a car in Kenya?

Identifying the car you want to buy
Purchasing the car from Japan car auction
Shipping the car to Kenya
Clearing the car at the port

What paperwork is needed to import a car from Japan?

National ID
The original bill of landing
Inspection certificate
Export certificate
KRA pin certificate
NTSA TIMS account
Company registration and incorporation certificate in case of a company car

How much does KRA charge for imported cars?

Upon importation of a car, you will be required to pay for the following;
Import duty
IDF fees
Excise duty
VAT
You can access more information about how to calculate all the above taxes and duties in this guide


How much does it cost to import a car from Japan to Kenya?

ksh.20,000- 35,000 will be paid directly to the port. The rest directly arises from the taxes and duties as well as the service fee for the KRA agent helping you to clear the car.

How do I export a car from Japan to Kenya?

After purchasing your car in Japan, you will make sure you take it through all the necessary clearence in Japan before setting it up to for shipment to Kenya. This includes quality check and inspection, deregistration if its used and payment of shipment fee. From there it will be shipped to Kenya where it will then be cleared at the port before being used in the country.

How much is import duty in Kenya?

KRA usually charges an amount equivalent to 25% if the retail price of the car in Kenya as the Import duty. So, to find the amount you will pay for the car import duty, you need to calculate 25% of the retail price of the car in Kenya.

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