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Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

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London, United...
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Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

Ladies and gents, could anyone tell me if you were charged by customs at Mombasa airport? I am looking to bring new and 2nd hand clothes out but I am unsure if I will be charged extra in duty or taxes. I will be flying with 1st Choice/Thompson. I have about 60kg and im a single booking.

Thanks for your help

Norfolk, England
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for Kikambala
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1. Re: Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

Have you arranged for additional luggage with Thomson? If not you will have a hefty excess luggage bill.

If you have lots of luggage you are likely to be questioned at Mombasa. They will always try to get money out of you. Do you have a charity letter regarding the goods you are taking?

Mombasa, Kenya
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2. Re: Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

Generally, any clothes brought to the country, apart from a reasonable amount for personal use, is subject to duty, etc. Therefore you can be charged, in fact should be if go by the rules. The fact that it is a charitable donation, etc is neither here nor there for the authorities.

All depends on a particular person you deal with. Often a nice smile and a simple friendly explanation, perhaps a little bit of pleading, help. But do be prepared to have to pay. Remove all the labels from new items and refold them so that they do not look like new. Also try to see first which officer is not very strict or allows people to go through without opening their bags.

There is no guarantee so even if you are made to pay, try a friendly approach to see how the amount can be reduced, bring in the story of your friends and church collecting for needy children, etc.

Good luck :)

Larissa

Tijara Beach Hotel

Edited: 10 February 2013, 13:08
plymouth england
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for Kenya
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3. Re: Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

Thompson are going to be richer and you are in for a lot of stress only 20 kilos or if flying premium 23kilos are allocated per customer

pre booked extra 5 kilos costs £15 then £8 per kilo

60 kilos !!!! wow- the custom officials are in for treat ... [one suitcase last December cost a lady £123 !!!

Even with a charity letter they will still extort money , - also they check the underwear is new ( as secondhand underwear is illegal ) and charge you a small fortune ..

Fordingbridge...
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4. Re: Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

We brought 80 kgs in through NBO last September. Previously we'd had no problems & in fact had been thanked for our efforts. September was totally different. The customs officer wanted a value for the goods so he could charge duty. We told him several times that the clothes had been donated by our local Tesco's & therefore had zero value. We also had a letter & emails from Asifiwe's charity in Kimilili.

This went on for over 20 minutes. I'm glad to say that it was a very polite conversation, albeit frustrating. Suddenly the customs officer smiled & sent us on our way but with a warning not to do it again. I understand that this now seems to be the norm & from what I've read here on TA, MBA customs appear to be even worse.

I wish you good luck in your endeavours but be prepared for hassle.

Bungoma, Kenya
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for Kenya
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5. Re: Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

We are very grateful for Nic & Mel's wonderful gifts and the joy they have brought to needy families. We are very sorry for the problem they had with the Nairobi Customs.

One suggestion is to bring your gifts in used suitcases, not boxes. I've recently bought a case from a charity shop!

Manchester, United...
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6. Re: Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

Last October I flew via Addis into Mombasa, an absolute nightmare, the first lady we came across was very rude and questioned why we had so much luggage, 3 people/six cases in total, after she had said her piece and saw it was not our first time to visit Kenya she told us to go through only to be stopped by another Customs Officer who quizzed us about whether we had gifts for people, whether we supported an orphanage or school and that he was watching us, the stuff we were bringing in was for the project we support and had letters showing it was a properly registered institution but to no avail, after trying the smiling approach followed by the annoyed approach he then said we could go through but would note our names etc. I believe that had we not been used to coming into Mombasa we would have indeed felt threatened and handed over "kitu kidgo" just to get through.

manchester, United...
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7. Re: Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

if you are charged duty expect to pay 80% of the value of the goods IN KENYA. Its academic that the goods have no value in the UK. If you have underwear it will be confiscated and destroyed. 60kg is going to cost a heck of a lot in excess baggage. The excess and the duty is starting to make your project very costly. Plus having so much luggage you WILL attract scrutiny from Customs Officers.

Quite honestly you'd be better bringing the cash and buying goods in Kenya. this has the additional benefit of supporting local business. Someone wrote on this site recently that Kenya needs commerce not charity. That is so very very true.

Mombasa, Kenya
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8. Re: Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

Val, you are right and that's what we also advise our guests when they enquire about what kind of help they can give. And as for commerce, not charity, there is a very good book by Dambisa Moyo "Dead Aid" - she is from Zambia, an economist (PhD in Economics from Oxford University, masters from Harvard) and she talks exactly about why charity is bad for Africa. It does talk about the economies as a whole and it is a brilliant book. However obviously in each individual case of a charity, orphanage or school here and now every little charity donation helps enormously.

Unfortunately often items and especially clothes are donated by local stores or people, and it is either these items or nothing. It is crazy that charitable donations are dutiable, from the other hand one can understand that if it can be exempted on the spot, unfortunately some people would use it as a loop hole to bring in commercial goods and some customs official migh also use this to their benefit. So the only way is try to talk your way out of the situation if items are brought in, but definitely one has to be ready to pay duty. I do not know if charities can get an exemption letter from the Ministry of Finance, but even if they can, it is a lengthy and cumbersome procees, I am sure, and is not possible to do for each individual case of people being kind enough to bring it across.

Larissa

Tijara Beach Hotel

manchester, United...
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9. Re: Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

Getting exemption from duty is typically bureaucratic and time-consuming. We gave up after 3 years and stopped shipping items to the orphanage we support. But you are right many people prefer to donate items rather than giving cash and we have a heck of a job convincing people not to. We take out what we can in our baggage allowance but my husband gets really fed up when the house is overflowing with bags of second-hand clothes. Now we employ local women to make clothes for the 130 children - its much better for the local economy and probably a marriage-saver too.

Mombasa, Kenya
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10. Re: Charity luggage to Mombasa, customs charges??

I see what you mean about a marriage saver Val! :)

This is a great idea to have local women stitching clothes, literally you kill two birds with one stone: women have some income they would not have otherwise, and kids get clothes.

It is amazing that so many people support charities here, it is very unfortunate that the state puts so many unnecessary obstacles on the way of people doing it.

Larissa