Kenya Car Import Age Limit 2023: Everything You Need to Know

Stay up-to-date on Kenya's car import age limit for 2023. Learn about regulations, taxes, and the importation process in this comprehensive guide.

Sep 10, 2023 - 15:50
Kenya Car Import Age Limit 2023: Everything You Need to Know
Kenya Car Import Age Limit 2023: Everything You Need to Know

Our country, Kenya, is known for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and vibrant economy. As the government continues to grow, so do its regulations and policies. One significant aspect of Kenya's governance is the importation of vehicles. In this article, I will take you through Kenya's 2023 car import age limit. We will cover the regulations, taxes, and the reasoning behind these changes to provide you with a clear understanding of what to expect when importing a vehicle into Kenya.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) plays a pivotal role in revenue collection on the Kenyan government's behalf. Established through an Act of Parliament, Chapter 469 of the laws of Kenya in 1995, the KRA ensures that all revenues are collected and accounted for by underwritten directions and specified provisions. Additionally, the authority advises on matters related to revenue administration and collection.

Importation Procedure for Motor Vehicles

Importing a car into Kenya requires several regulations to ensure safety, environmental standards, and compliance with national laws. Here are the essential rules for importing a car into Kenya:

  1. Vehicle Age Limit: The imported vehicle must be less than 8 years old from the year of its first registration. This restriction aims to promote importing newer and more environmentally friendly cars.
  2. Roadworthiness Inspection: The vehicle must undergo a roadworthiness inspection by a Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) appointed inspection agent in the country of export. This inspection ensures that the car meets safety and quality standards.
  3. Right-Hand Drive: All vehicles imported into Kenya must have right-hand drive, adhering to the country's driving standards.
  4. Valuation Template: The NEW motor vehicle valuation template is available for use during the importation process. This template helps in determining the customs value of the vehicle.

Taxes Applicable in Motor Vehicle Importation

The cost of importing a vehicle into Kenya includes various taxes and duties based on the customs value of the car. Here are the essential taxes and duties:

  1. Import Duty (25%): This standard duty applies to most motor vehicles.
  2. Ambulances and Hearses (0%): Ambulances and hearses are exempt from import duty.
  3. Excise Duty: Excise duty varies based on the type and engine capacity of the vehicle. It ranges from 20% to 35% for cars with spark-ignition internal combustion reciprocating piston engines.
  4. Value Added Tax (16%): VAT applies to the vehicle's customs value.
  5. Import Declaration Fees (3.5%): These fees are levied on the customs value of the car.
  6. Railway Development Levy (2%): This levy contributes to developing railway infrastructure in Kenya.

Required Documents for Importation

To facilitate the importation process, certain documents must be provided. These include:

  • Original Commercial Invoice: Documenting the purchase price of the vehicle.
  • Original Logbook: From the country of importation, cancelled from the country of origin, as it will be required by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to issue an original Kenyan logbook.
  • Original Bill of Lading: Confirming the shipment of the vehicle.
  • Pre-shipment Inspection Certificate: Certifying the roadworthiness of the car.
  • Copy of PIN Certificate/Certificate of Incorporation: Applicable to companies involved in importation.

Motor Vehicle Importation Process

Kenya's motor vehicle importation process follows a similar pattern to that of other goods. However, adhering to the specific regulations outlined above is essential to ensure a smooth importation process.

Check this article for complete details:

Importing a Motor Vehicle(Car) in Kenya: Procedures, Regulations, and Taxes

The Future of Vehicle Importation in Kenya

Kenya's decision to tighten its vehicle import age limit aligns with global efforts to reduce emissions and promote local manufacturing. While Kenya aims to restrict the importation of older vehicles, neighbouring East African Community (EAC) countries have varying age limits. This disparity has led to the flooding of older vehicles in the regional market, hindering the growth of new car manufacturing.

The EAC recognizes the need for harmonization and has recommended reducing age limits for imported cars across the region. However, the implementation of this recommendation remains a challenge.

To foster growth in the automotive industry, the EAC has proposed investment in large-scale assembly plants producing affordable vehicles. This move promotes local manufacturing and meets the rising demand for cars in the region.

Kenya's Unique Challenge

Kenya's new policy, while well-intentioned, faces resistance from transporters, especially those operating on the Northern Corridor. They argue that the policy contradicts the EAC's protocols, where rules and laws should be uniform. Transporters fear the new policy will increase the cost of trucks, potentially driving some companies to relocate to other EAC countries.

Additionally, this policy could incentivize the use of standard gauge railways, making long-distance trucking more expensive.

Towards a Sustainable Future

As Kenya evolves its vehicle importation regulations, there's a growing shift towards embracing electric vehicles (EVs). Investors are eyeing opportunities to establish EV conversion plants in the country, catering to the changing preferences of motorists. In collaboration with the private sector, the government is actively working on creating fiscal incentives, charging points, and infrastructure to support the transition to EVs. While these changes may bring challenges, they also represent an exciting opportunity for Kenya to lead in environmentally friendly transportation and stimulate local manufacturing.

READ ALSO: How to Apply for Capital Gains Tax Exemption in Kenya

Final Thoughts

Kenya's decision to revise its vehicle importation policies reflects its commitment to environmental conservation, economic growth, and sustainability. While these changes may pose challenges for some sectors, they offer opportunities for local manufacturing and a cleaner, more efficient transportation system. As these policies evolve, stakeholders must work together to ensure a smooth transition and a brighter, greener future for Kenya.


What is the current vehicle age limit for importation in Kenya?

 Currently, the vehicle age limit for importation into Kenya is 8 years from the year of first registration.

Why is Kenya reducing the vehicle age limit to zero for imports? 

Kenya aims to reduce emissions, promote environmental sustainability, and stimulate local manufacturing by allowing only brand-new vehicles to be imported.

How will these changes affect long-distance transporters in Kenya? 

Long-distance transporters have raised concerns about the new importation policies' increased costs and potential disadvantages.

Is there a shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) in Kenya?

 Kenya is witnessing a growing interest in EVs, and investors are exploring opportunities to set up bus conversion plants, contributing to a cleaner environment.

What incentives are being considered for local vehicle assembly in Kenya? 

The government is expected to introduce fiscal incentives, charging points, and infrastructure to support local vehicle assembly.

When will these changes take effect, and who will determine the timeline?

 The changes in vehicle importation policies and the timeline for implementation will be determined by an e-mobility task force that is yet to be constituted.

What impact will these changes have on the Kenyan economy and environment? 

These changes are expected to have a positive impact by reducing emissions, promoting local manufacturing, and contributing to economic growth and sustainability.

What should importers and stakeholders do to prepare for these changes? 

Importers and stakeholders should stay informed about policy updates, explore EVs and local manufacturing opportunities, and adapt their strategies to align with the evolving landscape.

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Joseph Richard Joseph is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science (Applied Option). With expertise in Technology and Finance, he brings his knowledge to the field, demonstrating an authoritative understanding of these interrelated areas. Joseph is pursuing a Master's in Software Engineering, further expanding his skill set.