Import a car into Senegal: The complete procedure…
In Senegal, the regulations restrict used vehicle imports to no older than 8 years and for trucks no older than 10 years.
If you have a car shipped to Senegal from Europe for selling or personal use, it will arrive after some twenty days in the port of Dakar on the ‘roll on roll off ‘ terminal. The clearance, ‘dédouanement’, is done only at the customs offices Dakar-Port Nord and Dakar Port Sud. Conversely, vehicles that have arrived overland on the Senegalese territory can be cleared through regional offices designated by the Senegalese government. Temporary importation of vehicles with suspension of duties and taxes shall be allowed under certain conditions.
Once unloaded at the port, the car is released only when all customs formalities have been processed. If arriving by land, it is possible to report within 48 hours at a customs office. You are not allowed to do the customs formalities yourself, it is required to make use of a customs clearing agent approved by the government. The whole process can be completed within 48 to 72 hours.
Once the vehicle arrives at the port of Dakar, you need to contact a customs clearing agent and submit the following documents:
- The Bill of lading, ‘Le Connaisement’. This is a document issued by a carrier which details a shipment of merchandise and gives title of that shipment to a specified party.
- The vehicle registration certificate (for used cars), ‘La carte grise’, used for customs declaration and to determine the amount of duties and taxes.
- The commercial invoice (for a new car), ‘La facture’.
- De import declaration, called a ‘Déclaration préalable d’ importation’ ‘(DPI). The DPI is required for the clearance of a vehicle in Dakar as the FOB value is more than 1.5 million CFA. FOB value is the value of the vehicle plus shipping charges and insurance from the port of departure.
- The certificate of conformity, ‘Le certificat de mise à la consommation’(CMC).
With these documents, the customs clearing agent prepares the transit order, ‘ordre transit’, which should be signed.
Calculate import duties
The calculation of the taxes and duties to pay for a vehicle is not easy to understand if you have no experience with this. The final amount to be paid depends on several parameters. The value of a used car is determined by the quote listings from the French ‘cote L’Argus ‘ used as a reference. This is a French car magazine that publishes every month the quote listings of used cars up to 9 year old. That price is deducted with 20% for every car.
The customs clearing agent will calculate the import taxes to be paid. Nevertheless, it is advisable to able to estimate various taxes and duties yourself, so you are not surprised by the amount to be paid. View this PDF document for a detailed overview of the various taxes. The total import costs roughly amount to 48% of the ‘cote Largus’ value of the vehicle.
To go ahead with the clearance of the vehicle, the customs clearing agent should make a detailed statement, the ‘note de detail ‘, including all relevant information and the method of payment. The declaration is then processed through the automated GAINDE system. For payment, go to the tax office Dakar-Port. On behalf of you, the customs clearing agent will pay with a certified check. A receipt is attached to the statement. The statement will serve as proof of payment during the inspection at the customs office. They will issue a document to release the vehicle, the ‘bon a enlever’.
Since 2012, the customs automated system, the ORBUS E-PAYMENT platform, enables traders to pay their customs dues and related taxes electronically. The platform interconnects banks, originators (customs agents, traders, …) and customs. Still, there are some documents that physically need to be presented at customs, such as the customs declaration, certificate of conformity and the vehicle registration certificate. The registrant is due eight days after registration of the vehicle to deliver the original documents to the customs office for digital scanning and storage.
Formalities after clearance
The customs clearance agent, ‘Le transitair’, first checks whether the payment of freight was well executed with the shipping company. If this is the case, the shipping company will issue a document for release from the port, the ‘bon a enlever’. This is a document other than the document issued by the customs. With this release document, go to the terminal where the vehicle is parked and pay port dues in exchange for a transit, ‘visa’, for the port of Dakar. Proceed going to the ‘customs brigade’, different from the customs office that handles the paperwork. The brigade is responsible for the physical control of the goods. After verification, the vehicle finally may leave the port.
The procedure seems simple enough but can nevertheless be a daunting task, especially if there is a problem with the verification of documents or errors in the calculation of taxes and duties. Therefore, it is very important that all of the required documents are available. Choose a good customs clearance agent to avoid problems with the Senegalese customs.