#7 Steps to buy a car online and import it to Uganda – No broker involved

Jeff L February 20, 2022

#7 Steps to buy a car online and import it to Uganda – No broker involved

With the proliferation of car brokers in all most every car bond in Uganda, most Ugandans are opting to buy their cars online and import them to Uganda by themselves. 

And it’s understandable that Ugandan car buyers are turning online; car brokers usually don’t care whether you’re getting a good deal or not; all they care about is what they get out of the bargain.

Another reason for the shift is the high prices on cars at local bonds together with over-stayed vehicles that could have developed mechanical issues without the vendor’s knowledge. 

Let alone the process of finding the right mechanic to help you figure out whether the car you want to buy is in good condition or not. clearly, there are many reasons that we can’t exhaust all of them right now.

How can you purchase your car online and get it safely to your home without involving car brokers? Here are #7 steps to successfully buy a car online and import it to Uganda in 2022 – no broker involved;

  1. Find out the actual cost of the ride
  2. Minimize the risk of buying a faulty car
  3. Get the taxation right
  4. Avoid the shipping risks
  5. Processing border clearances
  6. Getting your car registered
  7. Finding someone to bring it home

Let’s now look at each of those steps in detail so you can get started right away.

Step#1. How to know the actual cost of the car you want to buy

No doubt you have seen Japanese car dealer sites showing-casing cars that are as low as $500, and you thought, okay, so I can also have a ride of my own as long as I’ve got a few bucks to ship it home.

Quite frankly, you are wrong! that car won’t reach your doorstep with only a few dollars paid in shipping charges. The truth is by the time you get it – the cost will have risen to some $3,800 or more.

The truth is most car dealer sites usually show you the net price of the car at their auction yard; this price is what is called Free on Board (FOB). It doesn’t include other charges you incur once you press the buy button.  

To know the actual price of buying your next car online and importing it to Uganda, use the site’s price aggregators. Site price aggregators are additional inbuilt tools on the car’s sales page that adjust the price whenever you click on more features.

For example, on the beforward.jp site, the total cost of the car or CIF ( Cost, insurance, and freight) will change if you change the destination, say instead from Mombasa, to Kampala.

Also, click on the “request a quote” button, and they’ll send you a quote to your email containing what that cost covers; The email usually lists how much you pay and all the other expenses, say; shipping, insurance, inspection, etc.

That, however, that’s not all. You still have to find out how much you’ll pay in local taxes, registration fees, border clearances, and paying someone to bring it home; which, you’ll discover how in a bit. 

Step #2. Minimize the possibility of buying a faulty car

Image showing a faulty cars

Knowing whether the car you want to buy is in good shape can be challenging if you’re buying it at a local car bond, but it’s even harder when you do it online when you are thousands of miles away.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be; a long time ago, it wasn’t compulsory to inspect the car you are buying before making a purchase, but thanks to the ministry of work’s mandatory car inspection, car dealers now do it for roadworthiness before sending them to Uganda;

Because of that, most car dealer sites now display a downloadable pre-inspection sheet that lets you know other details you can’t see virtually to keep their market and clientele.

But make no mistake to leave things up to chance; that inspection sheet is usually generalized with the chassis details, interior smells, and other minor things on the car. So to have a thorough picture, have a trusted mechanic along when shopping for your next ride online.

A trusted mechanic could help you spot inconsistencies like wheel alignment issues and other details his technical eye could spot in the car photos that you might not be able to see on your own. 

Step #3. Understanding how much you will be taxed

Image illustrating taxation


The third thing you need to get right when you buy a car and import it to Uganda is knowing the taxes you will pay once your click on the buy button; 

To do that, you will need to use URA’s Motor Vehicle Calculator; A tax simulator that gives you a rough picture of what you will pay if you buy a car online and import it to Uganda.

The URA’s Motor Vehicle Calculator does not only show you the tax you’ll pay, but it also helps you know whether the car you’re importing is accepted to enter the country or not.

Let’s take an example; let’s open the URA’s motor vehicle Calculator and fill in the following car details; under the vehicle type, let’s choose a random model; let’s say sedan/salon ( a typical example is a Toyota Premio).

Under the CIF value, put any random amount in Dollars, let’s say; $3,000; under the seating capacity, let’s put 5people ( most sedans/salons take 5people, including the driver).

Under the weight tab, let’s put 1200kg ( A Premio is around that weight), and under the engine capacity, let’s put 1.8ccs ( typical sedans don’t have heavy engines around 1.8cc is fine).

The part I will want you to monitor is the year of manufacture; You’ll note that when you enter any year from 2006 and below, the calculator will tell you that “The Vehicle Age Is Beyond The Statutory Limit.”

What that means is that if the car you want to import is from 2006 and below, it won’t be accepted to enter the country; so, don’t bother wasting your money;

Another thing to note is the Environmental Levy tab; if you change the year to anywhere between 2007 and 2013, you will pay 50% of the actual cost of the car of CIF in environmental taxes;

What that means is that you will pay a heavy tax of half the vehicle’s price because your car is considered not to be eco-friendly; whereas, if you change that year to somewhere between 2014 to 2022, you won’t pay any environmental levy;

That implies that Uganda favors importing newer car models over older ones, so before you hit the buy button to purchase your car online and import it to the country, be sure to take into account the model year of the vehicle you want to buy.

Other tax levies, for example, VAT, stamp duty, withholding tax, infrastructure levy, registration fees, and import duty, are usually constant except for heavy vehicles like trailers, tractor heads, etc.

If you find it hard to work it out on your own, you can visit any Uganda Revenue Authority office and tell the receptionist that you want to get an assessment of how much you’ll pay for a car you want to import.

Step #4. Avoid shipping risks

Thanks to the fact that most car dealers now include insurance fees on your total Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) fees, if they didn’t, it would be a total loss if anything happened en route on the shipment in which your car is.

However, don’t sit back and relax that your car is on the way coming to you. Before making the purchase, first, make sure that the amount you paid includes insurance charges;

That’s why you need to always request a quote before making your final purchase; it will let you know if your cost also covers the shipping insurance bit.

Also, use the tracking details they give you with the invoice you get once you have paid the money to track updates on the whereabouts and when your car will reach the port where you can pick it up.

Another good thing is that most car dealer sites are now letting you know when your car has left their auction yard; when it’s at the port they specified in Mombasa or any other port you selected when purchasing;

So, stay on track with those updates; if possible, add them to your email contacts and set up notifications to update you whenever such emails reach your inbox. 

Step #5. Processing border clearance fees

Image showing cars waiting for clearance

When your car arrives at the port, let’s say Port Ruku in Mombasa, you’ll pay some charges to the Kenyan Port Authority; the amount you pay usually depends on the vehicle’s weight.

Other clearance charges you’ll incur are when the car reaches the Ugandan border; one of them is bond cancellation fees to migrate the taxation from Kenya to Uganda;

Other clearance charges include buying an insurance sticker and a road usage license that are mandatory for any vehicle to drive on Ugandan roads;

Step #6. Getting your car registered

It’s mandatory for all cars in the country and those entering to register with Uganda Revenue Authority. Usually, car registration starts when you have received clarification that your vehicle has left the car dealer’s yard.

Here are the requirements that URA will need from you;

  • Bill of lading
  • Translation of vehicle documents if they are not in English.
  • Export certificate
  • Copy of the invoice
  • Immigration permit
  • Certificate of change of residence
  • Consignee’s passport
  • Original logbook
  • Tax Identification Number 

No doubt you might be wondering, ” where do I get all of these details?” Don’t worry! Details are sent to you by the car dealer site via a mailing service like DHL, FedEx, etc.

Except for the TIN, which will require you to create one for yourself on the URA website; A valid passport or national identity card will suffice for the consignee’s passport.

Step #7. Finding someone to bring it home

Image showing how to sell your car fast in Uganda

If you are not intimidated driving your car straight from Mombasa to Uganda, you can do it yourself. However, it’s good to take into consideration the risk involved;

So, finding a local driver who’s already familiar with Kenyan routes would be a wiser course to take. 

One way you can do this is by asking friends around for reliable local drivers who know the routes and are willing to do it for you at a price; once you get one and agree on the pricing, your ride could be at your doorstep within a matter of days.

So those are precisely the #7 steps you can take to buy a car online and import it to Uganda. 

So, never fear getting your ride online and importing it home; as long as you get to know the actual price of the vehicle, have an experienced mechanic by your side when shopping, know the taxation and clearing, take care of shipping risks, and registering your car plus having someone bring it home, you should be ready to go!

You might even find yourself a new source of income by buying and importing cars to Uganda and then selling them at a higher price. Talking about selling, you might want to check out our article on how to sell your car fast in Uganda.

Just a quick note before you leave, ttunda classifieds is a free advertising platform that allows Ugandans to display whatever they want to showcase before fellow Ugandans free of charge! So, whenever you want to sell anything like used items that could be piling up in your house and just don’t want to give them out for free, this is the platform for you.



Do you want to buy a car online in Uganda or you want to sell?

Feel free to check out the latest cars that fellow Ugandans have just posted here on ttunda Classifieds, you might find a crash deal right within your neighborhood. And if you want to sell? Simply post your car and receive messages from interested buyers.