Guys, if you are reading this am sure you are wondering why it would of use to you since you perhaps live in Kenya. But you do have relatives? Or a friend? Living abroad? No? Ok, fine but it’s always good to be armed with information.
You never know when it will come in handy!I came across this movers site and they were kind to share the information below which I found very important. So here is all you need to know:
1. THIS IS AN INTERNATIONAL MOVE
It is may be easy to tell your friends that “I am going back home”. However, yours is an international move. Treat this like an international business transaction by ensuring that all the necessary paperwork and documents are in order. International moving is always about documents and processes. If you get this right, you will have it smooth. The shipping line, the customs officers, port authorities, etc do not know you are coming home. All they see is another international consignment entering Kenya and the need to treat it as such.
2. TAX WAIVER IS NOT AUTOMATIC
There are preset conditions that have to be met before your consignment can be let in duty free, even if you are returning home.
- Most crucial conditions to be met for a tax waiver to be given
- You must have lived outside Kenya for at least 2 years.
- Your goods must be pre-owned for at least 6 months.
- You must enter Kenya ahead of the goods and must present your original passport to verification officer.
- If you want to bring in a vehicle, it must be pre-owned for at least one year, be less than 8 years old and must undergo pre-shipment inspection.
- If you hold dual citizenship, you should enter Kenya using the Kenyan passport. Moreover, you should ensure that your dual citizenship
- is officially known by the Government of Kenya (processed though the immigration department). Remember that merely having two passports from two different countries does not legally mean that you have dual citizenship.
If you are unable to meet the above conditions you will be required to pay taxes plus penalties which will be about 80% of the value of the goods. Are you ready for this?
3. BEGIN WITH END IN MIND
This is one cardinal rule in moving and it is even more critical when one is moving from one country to another. Moving out from one country is always easier than moving into another country. Stress occurs mainly at destination country
Kenya cares that someone is entering its territory with a shipment of goods for which they want to be tax exempted. Be sure that your documents will help you qualify for tax exemption before you start packing. Secondly, you need fore planning of where your valuables will be taken. Is the house/space adequate? Given the country you are leaving, are all them items you want to bring really compatible with your new situation in Kenya or will they give you new challenges?
4. ENGAGE GOOD MOVING PROFESSIONALS
You have friends in Kenya and in your resident country. You know someone who knows someone who relocated three years ago. Naturally, they will advise. You can even check out in the internet for guidance. This is all fine but how sure are you that you got sound advice? In case things go wrong, who will you turn to?
You will always need an agent in Kenya to help you through customs, the port and even assist in handling your valuables. Best practice dictates that you engage this agent even before your shipping/packing process begins. This agent will give you the best advice and assist you get it through seamlessly. This is what he does daily and will even advise you on all documents that are needed from a practical perspective. The agent will get in touch with your shipping agent in your current country even before the goods are shipped. Therefore, instead of asking for advice, ask your friends and even the internet to recommend for you a good moving agent. It will cost you money but save you a lot more money and pain!
One more thing, you need to have your furniture packed and wrapped nicely prior stuffing it into a container. You are moving with it because you value it. Unless you have worked in a moving/packaging company, you will need to engage a professional to help you pack the items and produce a packing list. This is a crucial document needed when goods arrive at the port. Remember that your items will be removed from the container at the port during the customs verification guided by the Packing List. If they have been poorly packed or not packed all you risk to have many breakages and scratches on your valued furniture by the time they reach your new home. You will be quite unhappy but only have yourself to blame.
5. THINGS WORK IN KENYA
Once your consignment is finally here, you may find things very different from where you lived. Perhaps, the clearing process could be slow, KRA officials may look unfriendly (you may interact with them during the verification of your goods), there are many systems breakdown causing delays, etc. Too often I have found people saying “if this was in XYZ country …”. Relax, if you have engaged an agent. Kenya is just Kenya. Systems are not perfect. A lot of energy is sometimes used on small things and some aspects of customs clearing look like they are opaque. However, with proper understanding of the requirements and a little patience, things still work. For real, I have personally witnessed big improvements in the customs clearing procedures for in the last decade or so.
6. WHILE YOU WERE AWAY …
Very many things have changed when you were out Kenya. Allow me to mention a few areas regarding the moving and relocation industry some of which you may be unaware:
Most of the customs processes are automated. It’s very difficult to know the name of the customs officer at KRA who is approving your import entry. This is done online. Therefore, if your shipment has a problem and you think “I know someone at KRA” you may be in for a rude shock. The person you know may not assist you even with his best intentions but he may sadly not tell you this.
KRA has continuously become more authoritative and possibly more ruthless. This, I think, is in line with global trends where such bodies behave like true demi gods. In Britain it is called Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in USA, South African Revenue Service (SARS) in South Africa, etc. They are all the same. Their default mode is that tax is always payable and it is your duty to prove beyond reasonable doubt, why you should be exempted.
A tax called Railway Development Levy (1.5% of the value of goods) on used household goods was introduced three years ago. We do not know what else is coming tomorrow.
Kenya adopted the IPPC pest control rule called ISPM15. This means that if you have any wooden crated items, the timber used will have to be treated.
The moving industry changed. Probably you were used to getting a truck at a place called “Kaka” if you wanted to move houses. Today Nairobi has approximately 10 moving companies.
Contrary to what some people will tell you, Kenya is not all about “kitukidogo”. Customs will clear your consignment if your paperwork is in order and all processes are followed. Hence, it will reach your residence in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nanyuki or Kitale, etc without you bribing any one.