Thursday, July 25, 2024

Documents required to drive cars with foreign license plate in Kenya

Kenya’s road transport network is among the best organized in East and Central Africa. Most vehicles you see on the roads have Kenyan license plates with the format LLL NNNL.

However, you’ll occasionally spot foreign used vehicles with plates from other countries, especially those within the East African Community, like Uganda and Tanzania. South Sudanese number plates also pop up quite frequently.

The cost of buying a vehicle in Kenya has skyrocketed, as well as the price of maintaining such vehicles due to the increased number of levied taxes.

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It may be considerably cheaper to purchase a vehicle from the other East African Community nations or better yet the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Nonetheless, if you’re thinking about driving a vehicle with foreign number plates on Kenyan roads, be prepared to meet numerous stringent conditions.

The NTSA is responsible for streamlining all road operations, while the KRA oversees revenue collection from these vehicles, and it can be quite costly.


Both agencies require individuals using foreign-registered vehicles to prove they have worked in the vehicle’s country of origin. This includes submitting work permits or proof of residency.

Foreigners from the EAC and COMESA must also comply with this legal requirement. Additionally, individuals need to provide ownership documentation, and if they are acting as an agent for the owner, they must present a power of attorney from the owner.

Diplomats working in Kenya and using their foreign vehicles must prove their diplomatic status and confirm they are employed in a diplomatic capacity.


Before gaining entry approval into Kenya, a foreign operator from EAC and COMESA countries must present a valid Temporary Importation of Road Vehicle Form (Form C32), issued at the border station.

Furthermore, the car owner will have to apply for a foreign motor vehicle permit, which is done through the eCitizen platform.

Requirements to get a Form C32

If Kenyan, one must have the foreign Motor Vehicle Registration Book in his/her name.

The individual must have foreign identification and a valid work permit/proof of residency if the individual is a foreigner.

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Other requirements include:

  • Valid Power of Attorney/Authorization to operate the vehicle from the car owner in the case of agents
  • Proof of ongoing diplomatic status for diplomats & proof of working in a diplomatic capacity i.e. Valid Diplomatic ID.

After obtaining Form C32, there are several procedures to be met to obtain a fully operational Foreign Vehicle Permit:

  1. A free seven-day temporary permit issued at entry points for vehicles crossing the border.
  2. A free seven-day foreign permit issued for vehicles in transit to neighbouring countries.
  3. A paid foreign permit for vehicles touring Kenya with an international circulation permit.
  4. A paid foreign permit for vehicles entering Kenya on a business trip under the East African Treaty, COMESA Treaty, or bilateral agreements with countries like Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia.

A fee is attached to the Foreign Vehicle Permit and is pegged on the car’s engine capacity. Here is the structure:

  • Below 2000cc for 1 month – Around Sh. 2,570 ($20.00)
  • Below 2000cc for 3 months – Around Sh. 6,425 ($50.00)
  • Above 2000cc for 1 month – Around Sh. 5,140 ($40.00)
  • Above 2000cc for 3 months – Around Sh. 12,850 ($100.00)

Failure to adhere to these will subject the vehicle to impounding, which will be more costlier.

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