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How to Import a Car From Japan to Kenya

Importing a car from Japan to Kenya can be an affordable way to get a high-quality, reliable vehicle.

Japanese used cars are known for their excellent condition, wide selection and competitive prices compared to the local Kenyan market.

However, the process of importing a car requires careful consideration of import regulations, choosing a reputable exporter, selecting the right vehicle, arranging shipping, and navigating customs duties and taxes.

In this article, WoK seeks to highlight the rules, regulations and costs involved, so you can make an informed decision and enjoy the benefits of importing your dream car from Japan.

Identify a vehicle exporter in Japan

The first step is to find a vehicle exporter in Japan.

Search their database for the type of vehicle you desire, keeping in mind that you can only import vehicles that are less than eight years old.

You should also be aware that the vehicle must be right-hand drive (RHD) and of a high standard.

Most cars in Japan go through an auction process, where they are graded from 1 to 6, with 1 being the lowest and 6 being the highest.

As a result, a decent car should get a rating of at least 3.5.

After you’ve decided on a car that meets the above criteria, you can file an inquiry with the exporter.

During the inquiry time, you can negotiate the price mentioned on the vehicle and may be able to get a reduction if your negotiation skills are excellent.

Start the importation process

Once the CIF, cost, insurance and freight price has been agreed upon, you will receive an invoice from the exporter in Japan, which you can then pay using any bank in Kenya.

Once payment is received in Japan, the car will be inspected.

All cars imported into Kenya must be inspected by a Kenya Bureau of Standards-appointed agency in their place of origin. In this scenario, the appointed organization is known as QISJ (Quality Inspection Services Japan).

QISJ is obligated to inspect the vehicle and record the mileage and other details in its database in order to issue an inspection certificate.


A set of documents are necessary to clear the car through customs when it arrives in Mombasa.

The seller in Japan should give you the documentation before the car arrives in Mombasa; they are normally transmitted via DHL.

The documents are Bill of Landing, Export Certificate and Inspection Certificate.

Custom clearance

The final step of the importation process is to have the vehicle cleared at customs once it arrives at Mombasa Port.

When the car is unloaded from the ship, it will be driven to a designated CFS (Container freight station). This is where it will be held until duty is paid/cleared by customs.

To clear your vehicle at customs, you must work with a KRA-registered customs agent. The agent will need the documentation we discussed previously, as well as your national ID and KRA pin.

A few days before the car arrives in Mombasa, the clearing agent will enter into the KRA system and submit an Import Declaration Form (IDF).

These documents indicate that a specific car has been imported into the country. They are then able to prepare an entry sheet indicating the amount of taxes to be paid to KRA.

You can then pay the taxes at any Kenyan bank or have your clearing agent pay on your behalf, as agreed.

Additionally, you must open a TIMS account with NTSA.