Are you interested in starting an import business within Kenya, or exporting goods to Kenya? Here are the top points to consider when importing in Kenya!
1. Pre-Shipment Inspection
- Kenya has a strict pre-shipment inspection requirement in place to ensure that products imported into Kenya meet certain standards. All products are required to have a Pre-Shipment Verification of Conformity (PVoC). In addition, sensitive products must have an Import Standards Mark (ISM) affixed before they are allowed into the country.
2. Import Declaration Fee
- The Import Declaration Fee is another of the top points to consider when importing in Kenya. This fee is usually 2.2% of the CIF value of the imports subject to a minimum of ksh 5000. The duty payable is assessed by the customs office based on the value of the item and the applicable duty rate.
3. Clearing Agent
- Every importer must enlist the services of a clearing agent who processes the import documentation through Customs. This agent must be registered and should have access to the Simba 2005 system, as only agents are allowed to clear goods on behalf of the importers.
- Another of the top points to consider when importing in Kenya is insurance. All imports procured by Kenyan-based importers should be insured by insurance companies licensed to operate in Kenya.
- All imports into Kenya are required to have the following documents:
- Airway Bill (Bill of Lading) – This is a brief summary of the contents of the package. It also serves as a contract between the sender and receiver. The airway bill is prepared after the cargo company has received the goods and is preparing to dispatch them.
- Export Manifest – This is a detailed document carried by the cargo carrier. It indicates the cargo on board, its weight and dimensions, and has the sender’s and receiver’s name on it.
- Customs Bond – The Customs Bond is signed by the exporter, indicating agreement to abide by all the customs regulations that govern export trade. On this bond, the exporter agrees to pay all relevant customs duties and follow all trade procedures.
- Certificate of Origin – The Certificate of Origin indicates the source country for all goods entering Kenya and is issued by the exporting country’s government through a designated authority.
- Import Declaration Form – This is prepared by a clearing agent and contains a summary of all the information found on all the other documents accompanying the goods.
- Pre-Shipment Inspection – This document indicates that the consignment has been thoroughly inspected. It contains details on the quantity, quality, and value of the goods as well as the expected duty value.
- Certificate of Conformity (CoC) – The CoC indicates that the goods being exported to Kenya abide by the regulations and standards that apply in Kenya.
- Import Standards Mark (ISM) – All finished products imported into Kenya must have the ISM. This mark ensures that the suppliers meet all standards for conformity and safety set in place for Kenyan imports.
6. Import Certification Schedules
- Import certification schedules are determined by the frequency with which exporters conduct business with Kenya. The categories are as follows:
Route A – Occasional Exporters
- These exporters are not required to register their products. Their products are however submitted to testing and inspection procedures, and after these are complete, are issued with a CoC.
Route B – Frequent Exporters
- This category of exporters is required to register all their products. They must also be ready to submit to random analysis and inspection of their products, after which a CoC is issued.
Route C – Regular Exporters and Large Volume Manufacturers
- These exporters and manufacturers are required to get a license for trading the products, submit to a periodic license review (usually annual), submit to random product checks and get a CoC.
7. Import Licenses
- Imports of any kind of equipment classified as equity capital or loan purchases (e.g. machinery) are usually subject to exchange approval. Without this approval, local banks will not issue shipping guarantees for their clearance.
- Some categories of health, environmental and security imports are required to have import licenses.
- Also, plant, animal and seed imports are usually subject to quarantine regulation.
Take careful note of the seven points to consider when importing in Kenya listed above, and your experience of importing into Kenya will be so much smoother!