Moving to Kenya

Country Guide

Country Guide: Kenya

Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.

Updated: November 22, 2016

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Original passport (for returning residents, a passport used for the last 2 years)
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Original work permit
  • Detailed packing list
  • Valued and detailed inventory
  • Form C-18 declaration, signed by owner of the goods (baggage claim form)
  • Personal identification number / taxpayer registration certificate
  • PRO-1B (diplomats)
  • PRO-1A, if applicable (diplomats)

Specific Information

  • A passport used for the previous 2 years or any previous passport other than the current passports are also required; the entry and exit stamps are used by Customs to check the compliance of the regulation.
  • The owner of the goods must be present and inspected by Customs clearance.
  • All shipments will be inspected by Customs.
  • All cosmetics, toiletries, perfumes, alcohol, and foodstuffs will be subjected to radioactive analysis which will cost Kshs 3,000 per sample per item.
  • Computers are not classified as personal effects and are subject to tax and duties.
  • All wooden crates need (ISPM-15) requirements.
  • Documents must be received by the agent 15 days prior to arrival in order for the owner of the goods’ employer to obtain the duty-free exemption certificate, if applicable (diplomats).
  • Diplomatic goods are not subject to inspection with an approved PRO-1B in place (diplomats).
    • PRO-1A is required if importing alcohol and must be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (diplomats)
  • Diplomats must apply for exemption from duty and value added tax (VAT) through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya; the diplomat must be in the country for the exemption certificate application (2 – 3 weeks) and when the shipment arrives.
  • Returning residents must have lived abroad for more than 2 consecutive years and cannot have visited Kenya for a total of more than 90 days from last date of entry in Kenya for duty free import; shipment must be imported within 3 months of entry date.
    • For duty free importation of personal effects, the owner of the goods must have owned the items for at least 12 months prior to import (returning citizens).
    • Expatriate does not need to be in the country to submit his work permit application (1 – 2 months).
    • Expatriate must be in Kenya to have the passport endorsed with the work permit.
    • Goods must be imported within 90 days from the approval of the work permit (expatriate).
    • All non-diplomatic shipments are subject to Railway Development Levy (RDL) which is calculated at 1.5% of the value of the shipment.
Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original passport
  • Original work permit
  • Import declaration form (IDF)
  • Certificate of conformity (COC)
  • Personal identification number (PIN) certificate
  • Original certificate of registration / logbook of the vehicle in English

Specific Information

  • All shipment documentation must be sent to agent at least 1 month prior to shipment arrival to reduce the possibility of demurrage / storage charges.
  • If the owner of the goods wants to pay duties on the car, the following documents will be required:
    • Owner of the goods’ PIN certificate
    • Import declaration form (IDF) plus IDF charges to be paid (EUR 50)
    • Purchase invoice in English
    • PRO-1B form approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (diplomats)
  • Left-hand drive vehicles cannot be imported.
  • Vehicles older than 8 years cannot be imported.
  • The owner of the goods must not have visited Kenya for a total of more than 90 days in the last 2 years prior to the last date of arrival in the Kenya.
  • Motor vehicles must be imported within 90 days after the last date of arrival of the owner of the goods.
    The OBL and AWB must show the details of the motor vehicle (e.g., chassis and engine numbers, make, model, color, etc.)
  • A fee of EUR 120 for processing must be paid to Kenyan Customs.
  • All owners of the goods must pay motor vehicle processing fees (currently USD 145 per motor vehicle).
  • Only one duty-free car per returning resident in a lifetime is permitted.
  • If the vehicle is older than 12 months, there is no tax provided that the vehicle is registered in the name of the person moving.
  • Vehicles imported duty free are not transferrable for a period of 12 months.
  • The owner of the goods must have owned the vehicle for at least 12 months for duty-free import or approximately 61% of taxes will be charged.
  • If the IDF is not available, a penalty of 15% of the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value of the car will be charged by the Kenyan Bureau of Standards (non-diplomats and expatriates).
  • The certificate of road worthiness must be provided by the owner of the vehicle to the Kenya Bureau of Standards agent (JEVIC); it is required for a pre-inspection at origin to obtain the certificate of conformity (COC) for cars coming from Japan / Dubai / Singapore / South Africa / United Kingdom (cars from origins other than these can be inspected in Kenya by KBS for a fee of EUR 150).
  • A guaranty deposit can be requested by Customs of the value of the duties while waiting for confirmation of any exemption.
  • Taxes on vehicles are based on a percentage of the local value for a similar vehicle (approximately 55%) and the vehicle must not have a seating capacity of more than 13 people.
  • Diplomats are allowed to import 1 vehicle or motor cycle per shipment; additional vehicles or motorcycles will be subject to duties and taxes at the rate of 45% + value added tax (VAT) at 16%.

Documents Required

  • Vaccination record (must include rabies certificate)
  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Original owner of the goods / owner of the goods’ passport
  • Import permit

Specific Information

  • Documents are required prior to import (issued at point of origin).
  • The animal’s rabies vaccination must be given within 12 months and 1 month prior to import.
  • Import permit and rabies certificate must be presented upon entry.
  • The import permit takes approximately 30 days from the time of application to obtain.
  • The fee per animal is KES 500.
  • A duty of 25% and VAT of 16% are required upon arrival.
Restricted/Dutiable Items
  • Weapons, including firearms (firearm certificate issued by the Kenyan Firearms Office is required)
  • Wild flora and fauna (plant import permit is required)
  • Birds and their products (sanitary import permit issued by the Director of Veterinary Services is required for the import of birds from countries affected by bird flu)
  • The following items may qualify for free import with the limits indicated by persons 16 years and older:
    • Cigarettes (200), cigars (50)
    • Tobacco (1/2 pound)
    • Alcoholic beverages (1 bottle)
    • Perfume (1 pint)
Prohibited Items
  • Game trophies
  • Drugs
  • Fruit
  • Explosives
  • Counterfeit currency
  • Gambling machines
  • Pornographic or obscene literature (books, articles, videos, etc.)
  • Animal traps
  • Imitation firearms
  • Alcohol and other spirits
  • Precious metals and stones
Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.

Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook Entry for Kenya

Wikipedia Entry for Kenya