The Process of Car Buying in Rwanda

Buying a car was easy. Like a little too easy. Like, it took longer for me to set up my bank account at Bank of Kigali than it did for me to buy and become an owner of a car.

No joke.

Now, wait….the act of shopping for a car…that is different. That part takes time, patience and a REALLY REALLY good mechanic. Just to give you the briefs, you need to know your budget, you need to know the cars in the price range of your budget. You need to have the cash. You need to know if you are buying second hand (probably) and what you know about cars. You gotta find a car representative to help you find the cars and worse, you have to try to figure out the meeting up experience…because you will find yourself all over town trying to meet up just to inspect the car.

The car SHOPPING process is a lot. The car buying process….I think I stressed more about recreating my grandma’s pound cake then I stressed about buying the car. It was easy and a breeze. I think I was honestly shocked at the end of the evening. However, I have to say, I had good people with me and the guy I bought from was great.

First, ya’ll agree to buy the car. Period. You say, I will buy the car and they will say, “ok”. And then you determine a place to meet.

You want to meet somewhere so you can go to the notary together. It’s a regular notary. Once you go to the notary together you need to have either your passport or Rwandan official ID. I used my ID card, it was much easier. They will ask if you want your documents in Kinyarwanda or English. I chose Kinyarwanda because I knew I could translate it. Honestly, the notary guy looked relieved because he was MUCH stronger in Kinyarwanda than English.

The notary document is basic and easy to understand. It lists the seller, then it lists the owner. They will check to make sure his ID matches this YELLOW registration permit. This proves he is the owner and can sell the car. Then they put your information, and then the car information. Then there is a small statement that authorizes the sale of the car and that it is legal and binding. Then they stamp all the documents like a dozen times, with a lot of force and authority.

Then they look at you, ask you to sign the papers and then you pay. I used a bank transfer straight from my Bank of Kigali account.

And we were done.

Almost. You walk over together to an Irembo and you schedule an official appointment for transfer of ownership. The Irembo people know how to do it. You have to go to RRA together and sign another document and get the license and official paperwork transferred to you. But my appointment was six weeks out. You just save the date and time.

Here is what is important to know. You MUST have a TIN number. You can register for a personal TIN number. I didn’t know that and that was the biggest hold up, I didn’t have a TIN number. I ended up using my business account TIN number so my car is technically registered to my business, which honestly was okay for me as I basically bought the car for the business anyway.

Once you get your appointment time, you can go home…with your car. Yep. You are really done. Just make sure you show up at RRA for the transfer of ownership appointment and you are done. The yellow card gets handed over to you and the notary proves the sale as legal. You are the owner.

And the insurance follows the car. So you really are good to go. You can officially ride the streets.

Yeah, like I said….easy….

Easy like Sunday morning!


Based upon the RRA website….this is what is needed once you go to do your transfer of ownership…


What are the requirements of motor vehicle/cycle ownership transfer?

  • Contract of sale
  • 1 passport size photo for the buyer
  • Photocopy of the ID card or passport (for foreigners) for the buyer
  • TIN for the buyer
  • Motor vehicle/cycle physical verification
  • Original log book


The motor vehicle/cycle must be free from tax liabilities Presence of the buyer and the seller at RRA offices for signature completed and signed transfer ownership form; Transfer fees for vehicles; 10000frw and 5000frw for motor cycles

Similar Posts


    1. At this time Tony Africa, we do not have a company we can recommend as we haven’t built relationships regarding best practices for our needs. If there is a good one…let us know and we will develop a stronger relationship to research.

  1. Thank you for this vital information. I will be visiting soon to prepare for my transition from the US. These are things that I will need to know! ????????

Comments are closed.