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

Contributed Ads 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-selling 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 many times are found to 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; those are just a few reasons for the shift and the list goes on.

How then can you purchase your car online and get it safely to your home in Uganda 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

second hand cars
an image of a used car for sale

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 purchase 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 additional 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, be sure to “request a quote” in which they’ll send a detail email containing what that cost covers; how much you pay and all the other expenses, say; shipping, insurance, inspection, etc.

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

Faulty car

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 their customers before listing them on their sites;

So, most car dealer sites now display a downloadable pre-inspection sheet that includes a list of things the seller has inspected like engine type, the condition of the interior, etc.

But still, don’t 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 technical details his eye could spot in the car photos that you might not be able to spot yourself. 

Step #3. Understanding how much you will be taxed

Tax claculations

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 make the purchase; 

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.

That calculator does not only show you the tax you’ll pay, it also helps you know whether the car you’re importing will be accepted to enter the country or not.

Let's take an example;

Please open theURA’s motor vehicle Calculator in a new browser tab. A new page will open with the URA tax calculator. It should look like the image below.

URA tax calculator

 Now, 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; and 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).

How to calculate vehicle tax in Uganda

The part I will want you to observe critically is the year of manufacture; you’ll note that when you enter any year from 2007 and below, and click the “Calculate” button, it will tell you that “The Vehicle Age Is Beyond The Statutory Limit.”

Uganda Vehicle tax breakdown

What that means is that if the car you want to import is from 2007 and below, it won’t be accepted to enter the country; don’t bother wasting your time and money, your car will end up at customs without you being able to get it from there;

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 i.e. the CIF cost in environmental taxes;

Uganda Vehicle environmental levy breakdown

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 purchase 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 anyUganda 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. He or she can arrange for you to talk to one of the people involved to help you out.

Step #4. Avoid shipping risks

car shipping risks
risk of transporting your car by road
damaged car

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, make sure that the amount you paid includes insurance charges and the dealing office you are transacting with is willing to give you updates on your car’s whereabouts until you receive it;

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

Cars waiting to be cleared at malaba

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

Used car for sale
Used mercedes benz
buy a vehicle

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 cars, 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 your car online?

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 we will display it for you before other Ugandans free of charge!