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How to Import Cars to Rwanda: A Comprehensive Guide

Fri, 23 May 14 07:47

Importing a car to Rwanda can be a lengthy process. You can follow the steps and tips in this guide to make it easier for you to import vehicles to Rwanda.

How to Import Cars to Rwanda: A Comprehensive Guide

Finding a Car to Import

First, you have to find a car that you will bring into the country. Most people prefer to work with car dealers and importers, who have extensive experience in the industry and business connections with other countries.

Some use the internet to purchase a car online directly from sellers, while others prefer buying second hand used cars from within the region.

Whatever method you choose, make sure to import a left-hand drive car. This rule is stated in the new guidelines on vehicle importation in Rwanda, released in 2009. Right-hand drive cars can only be allowed in the country for a period of two weeks.

It's also important to confirm that the car is in good condition before you agree to buy it.

Shipping & Customs

Once you agree to buying the car, your car is shipped from the importing country to the Indian Ocean through a shipping company.

Most of the cars reach the seaport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, while others arrive in Mombasa, Kenya. From there, the cars are cleared by customs.
Next, cleared cars are driven from the seaport to Rwanda. From Tanzania, the drive takes about two days. From Kenya, the journey takes four days for a vehicle to reach its destination in Kigali, passing through Uganda.

A driver is hired for this step at a rate of approximately USD400-USD1,000 for the whole trip.

Registration & Taxes

Reaching Kigali, the ordered vehicle is given to the buyer. You have to check the status of the car and make a test drive. You can opt to bring a mechanic to make sure that the car is in good condition.

After making sure that you are pleased with the car, the next step is to register the vehicle with the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and get insurance from a local insurance company. Registration is done prior to the use of the vehicle since a non-registered vehicle cannot be allowed to circulate.

Prior to registration, car owners are required to pay four types of taxes: customs duty (25%), value added tax (18%), withholding tax (5%) and consumption tax (rate variable).

Registration fees for imported vehicles are determined based on engine capacity. Below are the fees:
     - Engine power from 0 to 1,000 cc - RWF75,000
     - Engine power from 1,001 to 1,500 cc - RWF160,000
     - Engine power from 1,501 to 3,000 cc - RWF250,000
     - Engine power from 3,001 to 4,500 cc - RWF420,000
     - Engine power from 4,501 and above - RWF560,000
     - For special vehicles - RWF640,000

The number plates and Yellow Card (carte jeune) are given to the owner of the vehicle after payment of the registration fees.


There are two types of insurance for vehicles: Aluminum Insurance and Third-Party Insurance. These are provided by local insurance companies such as CORAR, COGEAR, SORAS, Phoenix Insurance, Sonarwa, among others.

Aluminum Insurance is available for RWF372,441 per annum, while Third-Party Insurance can be acquired for RWF55,316, according to charges published by CORAR insurance company.

The insurance is renewable and flexible, depending on the needs of the car owner. Payment of insurance premium can also be paid in instalment.

For more infomation on duties/taxes, visit www.rra.gov.rw. Under 'Customs Services', 'Valuation Gateway'.