Can you buy a Car without a license In Kenya

You are allowed to own a car in Kenya as a foreigner as long as you have an alien ID (Non-Resident ID and a Tax Number called a KRA PIN (Kenya Revenue Authority Personal Identification Number). To get these documents, you must have legally entered Kenya and obtained a legal pass into the country & not as a tourist but as a resident.

Since public transport is not an option for you as a foreigner (find out why in this article I wrote about why foreigners should avoid public transport), owning a car becomes the best solution for you if you are going to be staying in Kenya for a few months. In this article, I am going to outline all you need to know as you plan on owning your own personal car.

Where to Buy a Car from

We encourage people to buy cars in Kenya from car dealers rather than private sellers. Buying a car from a private seller or friend means that you will have to manage all the paperwork and if you are not smart enough in doing car background checks, you might be conned.

Buying vehicles from car dealers or bazaar might be expensive but the risks are low. Car dealers will also do the paperwork for you and give you a warranty.

What to check when calculating cost of a car

The cost of the car you want to buy is mostly affected by;

  • Make: Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, mazda, BMW Toyota cars are normally expensive because they have been known to be durable.
  • Body Type: Sedan, Pick up, van, Bus, Truck, SUV, Station Wagon e.t.c
  • Condition: Whether it is used or new
  • Mileage:  for used car, mileage is the distance the car has covered since the day it was bought by the first buyer.
  • Age: This how old the car is since it was manufactured and registered.
  • CC: This is the engine capacity. The amount of fuel the car consumes in a particular distance
  • Transmission:  Whether it is automatic or manual
  • Fuel: Whether it consumes petrol or Diesel
  • Driver: Whether it is 2WD or 4WD
  • Seats: The number of seats available in the car

After considering all the above listed factors against your budget now you are ready for the next step of buying your car.

Process of Importing a Car to Kenya

After you have identified the type of car you want to buy, the next step is importing. Below is what you should know about importing a car to Kenya:

Select Dealer: Get car dealers who will help you with the importation process. Do not deal with car dealers who have no physical location in Kenya as it might take several months to receive your car. We recommend sbt japan (Their offices are located in Parklands Road, Park Suite Building, 3rd Floor, Nairobi, you can call them through Phone number +254709915000 for directions).

Purchase of Vehicle:  After selecting your car, it is time to start the buying process. Some dealers will need you to pay some deposit so that they can start the importation process.

Deregistration and Car Inspection:   After payment, the vehicle will undergo de-registration in the country of origin for instance Japan.  It will also go through inspection to meet  set standards of car importation in Kenya. The standards include; The car must be less than 8 years old from the date it was registered, The car must be right hand drive, the car must have a Cancelled logbook from the country of importation e.t.c.

Car Shipping: Your dealer will identify the available ship from the source country that will dock in Mombasa and shipping is organized. You will be required to pay some amount depending on how you agree with your dealer before shipping begins.

Clearing and registration: Once it arrives in Kenya, you have to pay KRA duties and levies.  They include 25% import duty, excised duty of 20% to 30% (depending on the type of vehicle engine), value added tax of 16%, importation declaration fees of 2%, and railway development Levey of 1.5%.

Note: Recommended countries to import cars from are Japan, Singapore, UK and Dubai.

Am I allowed to own a car as a foreigner?

As a foreigner, you are allowed to own a car in Kenya but there is a certain condition that has to be met. That is you must own an alien card and a pin number. This is basically an identification card for foreigners. Like any other property you would wish to own, this is a basic requirement.

With an alien card and a pin number, you will be able to have a car registered under your own name and that way you will legally own it.

Can I legally drive as a foreigner?

After you own your own car or hire one, the next big question is whether you will be allowed to drive it or you’ll have to hire a licensed Kenyan driver to drive you around. Well, yes, you will be legally allowed to drive it yourself but you must have a domestic driver’s license. I wrote an article on why you are not allowed to drive without a Kenyan Licence as a foreigner. Check out that article for details on what you need to drive legally in Kenya.

Can you own a car without a license in Kenya?

As a foreigner, you are allowed to own a car in Kenya but there is a certain condition that has to be met. That is you must own an alien card and a pin number. This is basically an identification card for foreigners. Like any other property you would wish to own, this is a basic requirement.

How much does it cost to own a car in Kenya?

Acquisition costs: From the above summary, it figures that a car could spend up to Sh450,000 per year on the basic requirements. This is the average cost of maintaining a car annually.