Rwanda: Car Registration in Rwanda

17 November 2020

After buying your desired car in Rwanda, it may seem like your work is done. But one of the most important tasks to tackle remains; vehicle registration.

Vehicle registration is a legal necessity not just in Rwanda but across the world. The paperwork links the car to its owner.

For instance all cars are registered at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA). If a car owner doesn't register their vehicles or if they let their foreign registration lapse, they are bound to penalty fees and in some cases it could lead to vehicle impoundment.

In response, we review the different forms of vehicle registration in the country, overview of the paperwork needed among other aspects of the vice.

What exactly is car registration?

Car registration papers (locally known as carte jaune) is basically explained as the proof or the evidence that the car owner has paid the taxes and fees that come along with owning a car and that they are the legal owners of the vehicle.

This occurs for any motor vehicles that are driven on public roads.

The registration number provided following the process becomes the identifying element of the vehicle and its upon it that a car can be insured.

Import taxes paid for new vehicles entering the country are calculated on the basis of a number of different factors, including the car's age, make and model.

Reports indicate that registration for newer cars is typically lower than registration for older cars.

How vehicle registration works?

In Rwanda there are three common scenarios when you need to register your car.

That includes the first time you buy a new car, when you buy a second hand car locally, and also when you own a car with a foreign registration.

The first time you register your car, you'll receive a license plate for your vehicle and a registration card. In some countries a car owner is given a registration sticker that can be attached to a vehicle's licence plate or window.

Vehicle registration and change of ownership is done by the Rwanda Revenue Authority who often require proof of ownership of the vehicle.

Transfer of vehicle number plates

In 2019 September, RRA reviewed the car registration process where the number plate of a vehicle will be registered to an individual or organization and will not be transferable.

The development means that in case of a sale for instance, the new owner will be issued with a new number plate instead of having to inherit the same number owned by the original owner.

Similarly, on the purchase of a vehicle, the new owner will be issued with a new number plate.

At the time RRA warned car owners that those who will not have transferred car ownership details risk being considered as not the legal owners of the vehicles.

This, officials previously said was among others necessary on multiple grounds including facilitating security and law enforcement.

For instance, they said that the move will facilitate the Rwanda National Police Traffic department as it moves to step up vigilance using the CCTV cameras to monitor road users.

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