Import rules and regulations for Japanese used vehicles in Malawi

Japanese automobile industry is one of the well-known and largest industries in the world. Japanese automakers always focus on product enhancement, technological innovation, and safety improvement, with end result definitely a vehicle one feels proud to drive. The popularity of Japanese vehicles is not confined only to Japan only, but to across whole world. Almost every country in the world import both new and used vehicles from Japan. Used Japanese cars are popular around the globe because of their reliability and quality. Malawi, a landlocked country surrounded by Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania is a major importer of Japanese vehicles. Many Malawians also choose to buy used vehicles from Japan as buying from Japan is an easy process. Plus, one could get a better quality vehicle at cheaper rates.


Large numbers of Japanese used vehicles are imported in Malawi within a year. However, there are certain rules and regulations that are necessary to follow in order to import the vehicle in legal manner. There is no age restriction on Japanese used vehicle imported in Malawi. However, importation of only right-hand drive vehicles is permitted in Malawi. Exception is provided in case of special vehicles like Ambulance, Fire engine. There is no mandatory roadworthiness inspection on imported vehicles

Documents Required:-

  • Original Commercial/Purchase Invoice
  • Drivers License & International Insurance Policy (green card)
  • Original Certificate of Title and Registration
  • Copy of client’s work contract
  • Original Bill of Lading– It must show Chassis number, Engine number, Cubic Capacity, Manufacturing year, brand and model.

Taxes and Duties:-

Due to high import taxes, importation of vehicle in Malawi is quite high. If vehicle is sold, disposed within Five years of importation, then used vehicle importer has to pay duties similar to the amount paid to Customs at initial importation.

  1. For commercial vehicles
    • Up to 2000cc- seating capacity less than 10 people.
      • Import Duty- 25%
      • VAT- 16.5%
      • Excise-15%
    • 2000-2500cc -seating capacity less than 10 people.
      • Import Duty- 25%
      • VAT- 16.5%
      • Excise-30%
    • 2500-3000cc- seating capacity less than 10.
      • Import Duty- 25%
      • VAT- 16.5%
      • Excise-40%
    • Over 3000c- seating capacity less than 10.
      • Import Duty- 25%
      • VAT- 16.5%
      • Excise-50%
  2. Minibus holding more than 10 people
    • Import Duty- 25%
    • VAT- 16.5%
    • Excise-NIL
  3. Trucks under 3 Ton
    • Import Duty- 10.00%
    • VAT- 16.5%
    • Excise-5.00%
  4. Trucks over 3 Ton
    • Import Duty- 1.10%
    • Excise-2.50%
  5. Truck over 10 Ton
    • Excise-1.50%
  6. Shipping Ports:-

    Malawi has 3 nearest ports; Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Durban (South Africa) and Maputo (Mozambique) for shipment of vehicle. RoRo (Roll-on, Roll-off) method is generally used for shipment of used vehicles. On request of customers, more expensive shipping method of container shipping is arranged.


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