The checklist for buying and importing a car to Africa will uncover most things you need to successfully import a vehicle from abroad—from the first motor vehicle search to preparing you for the customs clearance processes. We will also touch on how you can avoid pitfalls.

It might interest you to know how to choose the correct shipping type because it determines how you will load the car to avoid having a challenge with the port authority if you put things inside. Do you know the shipping line you choose can make a difference in the amount you pay for the shipment and how the consignment gets to you at the destination port? Here, you learn how to buy a vehicle online and import it to Africa safely while focusing on the essential car importation tips.

Checklist For Importing A Car Into Africa 2024 [Buy + Ship + Clearance]

Now is the time to dive into the comprehensive guide for importing used cars to Africa. You can read it entirely or jump to the area that better suits your needs. Like in any of our pages, we will continue adding helpful information on this page. Remember to come back here whenever we update the page with essential tips for car importation.

1. What Do You Want To Use The Vehicle for?

There are always vehicles more suitable or meant explicitly for specific purposes, which raises the question, “What purpose is the potential vehicle meant to serve?”. Some cars are ideal for you to use as a taxi or taxi alternatives, while some are not but would rather be fit to operate privately. Therefore, identifying your purpose for buying the car would help us choose a vehicle that will benefit you.

2. What key features should the car have?

Choice and taste differ among persons. Thus, vehicles are built with different features to cover the preferences of the end users. Accordingly, you would want your potential vehicle to have features like a sun-proof roof, an electric side mirror, a mini TV screen, and many others. That catches your fancy. We can choose your vehicle when you clearly state these preferred features in a snap.

3. Where to import the car?

The country you would want to import the vehicle from plays a significant role and will determine if your importation will be an optimal process. To understand this, you need to ask yourself, “From which country do I make my importations?” or better still, “From where can I import a car cost-effectively?”. The answer to this question would save you from some rigorous processes (stress cost) and financial costs.

4. Which is the best platform to buy a car?

Who do you prefer? Do you want to buy from an auction platform, auto dealer, or a private seller? Each of these platforms is advisable; however, selecting any of these mediums can ultimately affect your car’s cost. For instance, if you purchase your vehicle from an auto dealer who buys directly from a private seller, the auto dealer will resell it to you at a higher price than he bought it. If you would like to purchase from Germany, the list is below.

Check it here  →   Best Website To Buy Used Cars In Germany.

5. Do you want a car with an entire service history?

Typically, vehicles with valid and full-service maintenance histories give you satisfactory knowledge of the car’s status. It answers specific questions that could be in your mind as the buyer. Answers to questions like,

  1. How many times did the previous owner of the vehicle fix something?
  2. What exactly did the last owner settle in the car?
  3. How frequently did the prior owner fix the vehicle?

It would do a lot to help you make the right choice.

Suppose you care about the maintenance history of the motor vehicle you buy, Bravo! You have just connected to the right site.


6. Who Manages Your Car Importation Process?

You can either engage in the importation process yourself or hire a broker to assist you if you have the time. Some people do not want to venture into the importation of cars because of the administrative bottlenecks and seemingly hectic processes involved in buying, picking, shipping, and clearing their autos from customs.

They also lack specific personnel who can handle the work every step of the way. But you can still import your cars without all the stress; a car-buying consultant company takes care of every step.

7. Should the vehicle be accident or flood-damaged?

Buyers purposefully choose accident or flood-damaged because it is the best chance they have of buying expensive cars at cheap prices. However, it is necessary to note that buying a car in such a condition might be cost-intensive. Knowing the cost of fixing the damage before the purchase is crucial to avoid getting into cost-intensive reparation.

See also  →  What Damage In A Car Could Stop You From Buying It?

8. How Are You Going To Pay For The Car?

We understand that not everyone can afford to pay for a vehicle. Installment payments won’t be a bad idea if your bank can give you credit to purchase the car, as they give you the time to gather up installments periodically. Therefore, you can either pay immediately or in bits subsequently.

9. What payment condition would be best for you?

We have no objection to your choices because what is best for you may also be best for us. You are at liberty to choose the payment method that is best for you. So, how do you want to pay for your car?

Here are some payment conditions you could pick from debit and credit cards, which are widely used today for payments because they are easy to operate and most people have them. But you consider the extra cost associated with it to be a disadvantage.

The mobile transfer is also excellent, easy to operate, and doesn’t require your physical presence in the banking hall, but you may want to consider how much security it offers and not be a fraud victim. You can also make payments with checks, especially when it involves a large sum of money.

However, the bank could reject bills when insufficient funds are in the drawer’s account or based on default. So whichever one you prefer is acceptable.

10. Which other charges may come up?

You may not have considered other expenses besides the regular costs of purchasing, shipping, and clearing the car. These expenses are significant, and we are talking about transporting your vehicle within the country where you purchased it. Yes! That is the cost involved.

11. How much is the shipment of a vehicle?

The shipment price of a vehicle depends on the type you want to import. We can help you research the cost of shipping a car. To do so, make a car request below.

This may interest you  →   Step-By-Step: Buying A Car In Germany For Export.

12. What is your preferred shipping type: Ro-Ro or Container Groupage Shipping?

It is an essential aspect of your import process. You can get your vehicle via any shipping type ( Roll-on and roll-off or container groupage shipping). Rationale: you will want to choose the one that seems more advantageous. To help you decide, I will highlight each shipping type.

Ro-Ro shipment is cheaper. However, the vehicle should be in good working condition (drivable) to avoid the freight forwarders using force to load it on a ship. It is one of the fastest ways to transport an automobile to your destination.

While container groupage shipping allows you to ship other personal belongings alongside your vehicle, you can choose a method that will benefit you based on your circumstances.

13. How long does it take for the vehicle to land at your preferred seaport?

I know that you will not like the shipping of your car to take much time. I would not want that either. However, the time to get to your preferred seaport depends on the shipment location-destination port. You would agree that some countries take longer to bring to than others.

For example, autos will take 2 to 3 weeks to get to the seaport in Nigeria from Germany while taking different durations to reach the Ivory Coast. For ports in other countries, we would need to contact the shipping agent in our network to know how long it would take.

14. When will you get your bill for loading?

For better comprehension, I will state what the bill of loading means in our context. It is a document given by a shipper or shipping line to a consignee for a consignment issued to them to ship. With the issuance of a bill of loading, the shipper (carrier) accepts the cargo receipt. From the perspective of auto importers, it is the vehicle you give out for shipment.

What Significant Function Does Bill Of Lading Have in Clearing Your Motor Vehicle From Customs?

Until you clear your car from the customs authority of the destination country, the bill of loading is the document that shows:

You are the owner or consignee of the consignment in question. It states the vital details regarding the vehicle you are to clear.

You get the document before the ship berths at the destination seaport. The bill of loading should reach your clearing agent’s hand before this time so you do not incur unnecessary expenditure (demurrage).

Note: If you eventually plan to sell the car, you will provide your receipt as the seller and change the vehicle’s buyer’s ownership document.

15. What is your preferred shipping line?

Put, shipping lines are companies that transport consignments (for example, vehicles) from A to B destinations. As an importer, the question that should pop up in your mind is, which shipping line would be better for me? Your choice should be based on your evaluation of various shipping line services.

15.1 Tips For Choosing The Right Shipping Line For Your Car

Factors to be considered when choosing an appropriate shipping line include the following:  

  1. Cost of shipment
  2. Customer service
  3. Terminal security
  4. Consignment insurance
  5. Tracking ability
  6. Delivery time frame

It may take you some time to get the above information. But do not worry! We can help. It is one of the reasons we want you to join our network.

16. What is the cost of clearing the vehicle from customs in your country?

Ordinarily, when you import a car, either as a car dealer or as a direct buyer, one of the questions that should crop up should be, what would it cost me to clear the car? You should also note that the car’s initial cost determines the cost of removing a motor vehicle in some countries. Let us take Nigeria as a typical example; as already known, the Nigerian customs service is in charge of clearing cars at the border.

There is no doubt that the cost of clearance is outrageous, coupled with the hectic clearance process, but it is no excuse to indulge in smuggling. Get a reliable hand ( like a Car buyer’s Broker) to run the process if you feel you can not do it yourself.

17. Is The Auto Overage?

I guess you would like to pay attention to this. It could be a problem in some countries where vehicles that exceed a certain number of years are banned from being imported. In such countries, if you dare import such cars, it could attract an extra charge, discouraging you as an importer from buying an auto abroad. Therefore, before purchasing a vehicle overseas, determine if the age is allowed to import it into your country. You can register with us here if you need to know more.

18. What are the duties to pay?

Duties to be paid on imported vehicles are not ours to determine. It is the job of the customs officers in your country. You can ask around you or make a car request on our website. We might help you find out where possible.

19. How do you calculate import duty for your country?

Almost every purchase you make across your border of origin (internationally) is open to importing duty assessment by the customs authority in its designated destination. Car shipping is not an exception. However, the import duty to be charged on shipped vehicles is determined differently by different countries.

Car Buyers Broker can help you with some of the paperwork and any possible support you would need to get through the customs authority for countries we are familiar with.

Steps Calculating Vehicle Duty In Nigeria

The calculation for the latest duty in Nigeria is coming.

20. When should you pick up your vehicle from the clearing agent?

At this point, it seems like the whole process has been concluded, but not just yet. Clearing the car at the port is no child’s play because it requires professional etiquette and effort to go through the process and takes some time, especially in Nigeria. However, we do our best to see that our clients get their cars in the shortest time possible if we are involved in the customs clearance service. So you can obtain your motor vehicle as quickly as possible. Then you can arrange for delivery. 

But wait! You need to check all relevant documents when the clearing agent hands everything to you. Besides, check your newly imported vehicle before usage, no matter how good it may sound, so you do not experience a surprise while you hit the road. 

21. Ask For The Vehicles Documents You Need Before Buying It

A country may need a document, like a contractual agreement, to import a vehicle into the country. Not everyone asks for such documents anyway. But if you want it, you should request it before buying the car because, in some situations, it may not be easy to get it after a car purchase. And getting them keeps you away from the embarrassment of whatever authority needs them in the destination country. You have to ensure that you demand the document on time.

If we are helping you purchase the car, please let us know what documents you need, and we will arrange them for you. Request your vehicle here, and we will send you the necessary documents.

Check the condition of the vehicle before driving on the road:

You have finally gotten your car, and it is worth the effort. But are you just going to jump into the road, ecstatically, as the latest car owner in town? I bet you wouldn’t just yet. You will want to check the car’s condition and how safe it is to drive on the road. We can also help you with a professional who will assist you in examining your vehicle and ensuring it is ready for you to go.


This is a comprehensive guide on importing a car into Africa that covers most aspects of the process, from the initial search for a vehicle to the customs clearance process. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the shipping type and choosing the right shipping line, as these factors can significantly impact the cost and delivery of the consignment.

The article also offers tips on how to avoid common pitfalls in the importation process. It encourages readers to consider the purpose of the vehicle, its key features, and the country from which the car is being imported. These considerations can help ensure a cost-effective and optimal importation process.

Lastly, successfully importing a car into Africa requires careful planning and consideration of various factors. Following the checklist in the article can help one navigate the process more effectively and avoid unnecessary expenditures.

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