- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Kenya Guide (PDF)
Shipping to Kenya by air, sea or land can be a long and expensive process. It may be cheaper and more efficient to check smaller items as excess luggage as certain concessions may be granted, though prices differ from airline to airline. Expats must decide whether they’d like to ship their household items to Kenya and what form this shipment should take.
Expats looking for accommodation in Kenya may prefer to find a property that is already fully furnished, rather than go through the hassle of shipping and removals. That said, turnkey homes are more expensive than unfurnished properties and more difficult to find so, either way, costs will be incurred.
Shipping and duty costs for Kenya sometimes make it cheaper to buy items after arriving. Most furniture, household goods and electronics are inexpensive and readily available. It’s up to the expat if they choose to import their personal effects and household goods from abroad or buy them in Kenya.
New arrivals that opt for shipping and removals to Kenya should be aware of customs regulations, and we recommend enlisting the services of a professional moving or relocation company.
Customs and import duties in Kenya
All items imported into Kenya, whether by airline freight or shipping, must be cleared through KRA (Kenya Revenue Authority) customs officials on arrival and the appropriate import taxes must be paid. Customs duties are assessed based on the value of the item, determined by customs officials. Generally, the more expensive the item, the higher the duty.
Although all goods are subject to customs duty, passengers fit into different 'passenger categories' which determines the concessions they are entitled to. For example, Category A passengers are Kenyan residents who have resided outside of Kenya for an extended time. They may be entitled to duty-free imports or reduced taxes on clothing apparel, personal and household items, and one motor vehicle. There are also specific regulations and entitlements for tourists and visitors staying in Kenya for up to three months (Category B), as well as other Kenyan residents (Category C).
For most passengers, there is a general concession of USD 500 for household goods and items used for personal use, though this amount is subject to change.
Some classifications of items must be declared, while there are restrictions on others and some be altogether prohibited. Currency exceeding USD 10,000 must be declared at the port of entry, as well as items intended for resale or business purposes. Among the restricted items are animal traps capable of killing or capturing game animals as well as drones. Motor vehicles over eight years of age are not allowed to be imported into Kenya.
In a move towards environmental protection, plastic bags have also been banned in Kenya. This must be noted by expats wishing to import products into Kenya as well as any traveller visiting the country.
The list of both restricted and prohibited items extends further, however, it is subject to change. We recommend that expats hire a relocation company familiar with up-to-date regulations and equipped with the latest technology and resources to ensure a swift and seamless process.
Shipping pets to Kenya
Kenya does not quarantine dogs and cats moving with their owners, provided that all stipulated conditions are met with regards to required documentation, vaccination and microchipping. Generally, pets must be accompanying a passenger on board. Pets must also have the relevant pet passport as identification and be accompanied by a health certificate from an authorised vet.
For more details on bringing a furry family member into Kenya, expats are advised to contact a company that specialises in pet relocations.