Introduction To Importing in Kenya

The importing process is usually very long and time consuming, mainly due to all the logistics involved in it. In Kenya, anybody aged above 18 years and legally residing in the country is eligible to import goods.

To start this process, one would need to contact a clearing agent who will process the import documentation. An (IDF) Import Declaration Fee of 2.25% of the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) is required. The value subject to a minimum of Ksh. 5,000.00 is payable. Customs will assess the duty payable depending on the value of the item(s) and the duty rate applicable.

Brief History of Importing in Kenya

Import licensing controls were abolished in 1993 and since then the Kenyan government has instituted a pre-shipment inspection requirement the Pre-Shipment Verification of Conformity, or (PVoC) for exports destined for Kenya.

From March 1st 2009 exports to Kenya are expected to obtain an additional Import Standards Mark abbreviated ISM which must be affixed to a list of sensitive imported products sold in Kenya.

This ISM is purchased from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), it is applied by submitting copies of the certificate of conformity, import declaration form and customs entry to KEBS.

Importing Requirements in Kenya

There are a few documents that you must have for custom clearance of your cargo, these are:-

Import Declaration Form: 

An IDF is applied from the Kenya Revenue Authority. It is required for any Commercial Importation. The IDF is applied by the importer but may use a clearing and forwarding agent to consult or input this into the ORBUS system.

After the IDF is passed the importer proceeds to arrange inspection of the cargo and the cargo has been inspected shipping commences.

Certificate of Conformity (CoC): 

This document is issued as the goods to be imported have been inspected and meet the minimum set of regulatory, technical and safety requirements.

Bill of Lading: 

a detailed list of a shipment of goods in the form of a receipt given by the carrier to the person consigning the goods.

Packing List: 

Description of goods on the packing list must match the details mentioned on the bill of lading and the commercial invoice.

Commercial Invoice: 

This document must be detailed as per pertaining packing list and the total cost insurance and freight value of the consignment must be indicated.

For a small number of health, environment, and security imports, import licenses are still required. Imports of machinery and equipment classified as equity capital or loan purchases must be received prior to exchange approval; local banks will not issue shipping guarantees for clearance of imports in the absence of such approval.

All imports procured by Kenyan-based importers must be insured with companies licensed to conduct business in Kenya. Importation of animals, plants, and seeds are subject to quarantine regulations.

Importing is majorly a hectic process ensure you contract a good freight forwarding company to take care of the job for you.

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