Most of us have a relative or a friend who lives in a foreign country. Once in a while, you or they have thought of buying something for you from that country because online stores in that country sell it at a cheaper price. Do know what happens once it lands in the country? If you do not, read on.

Let us assume that your cousin in Canada buys you a phone. When he packs the phone, tell them to ensure that they include the invoice (receipt) in the package. The invoice should indicate the price paid for the phone and an accurate description of the phone. The invoice is extremely important as we shall see later in this article.

The courier (e.g. DHL) will charge a delivery fee, insurance (if any), and freight (airline charges). They will issue a receipt of payment and on it indicate the recipient’s (your) address and contact details and a description of the phone.

On arrival in JKIA, the cargo plane offloads DHL parcels into DHL’s cargo shed.

The courier will contact you (the recipient) to pick your item within 21 days. On each of this days, the shed will charge you rent which is paid when you pick the item. If you do not pick it within 21 days, the courier releases it to KRA customs for warehousing. I shall explain warehousing in another article.

When you walk into DHL to pick your parcel, you’ll meet several clearing agents (nasty Kenyans call them brokers). They are extremely important in the next steps.

Kenya Bureau of Standards, through their staff, at a fee, will acknowledge that the phone is safe for importation, then a customs officer will physically verify the contents of the package in your presence (or a clearing agent), or any other government agent who will be required to witness. If the contents in the package are different from the details in the invoices, you are in offence and you will be penalized heavily. This is why the invoice is extremely important. We’ll discuss offences – and what happens if you undervalue an item - in another article.

If your phone is worth more than $1000 or weighs over 70kg, you will have to hire a clearing agent to prepare an import entry document to clear it for you. If it is worth less than $1000 or weighs less than 70kgs, you can clear it yourself.

If your phone qualifies to be cleared without an entry, the customs officer prepares a payment slip. After you pay KRA, the shed owner will claim his rent, and any other charges.

One month later, when you can afford airtime (after unexpected taxes milk you dry), you will be on Kenyatalk, flossing.

Have a good one.

There is that and there is…another way.

Hi, is this crasher,


We are calling from savo store, your package is ready.

Nice, how much do I owe you.

Kes 1560, you can pay via mpesa buy goods 525605. Would you like to pick up the item or have it delivered?

I will pass by, Thanks.

Thank you.

Ends Call…


Ambia hawa watu

I hate these things they call recipes with a passion. Even frying some two eggs is made to look like such a complicated undertaking!

Another… Import from Ali express… Phone is brought to EMS office next to post. Pay customs… Finish