Moving to Kenya

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