Moving to South Africa

Country Guide: South Africa

Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Customs Form DA 302 and P.1.160
  • Original Passport (including page with Entry Stamp)
  • Detailed inventory for attestation
  • Permanent residence documents / Temporary Residence Permit and Work Permit
  • Affidavit (stating reason for arrival in to South Africa)
  • Original Bill of Lading (OBL) / Air Waybill (AWB)
  • Diplomatic Clearance (Diplomats)
  • Certificate from Embassy, signed by South African Department of Foreign Affairs (Diplomats)

Specific Information

  • The shipper must be present for Customs clearance.
  • The shipper must possess required documents and forward a copy to agent prior to import.
  • The shipment of household items, new furniture, and precious metal objects are treated as a commercial import and subject to the payment of full duties.
  • The following household goods may be imported duty free if meeting the following requirements:
    • Works of art forming a part of a bona fide household shipment or are over 100 years old.
    • The articles have been in the use and possession for more than 12 months and are not for sale or other disposal.
  • Returning residents must have been abroad for a period of at least 6 consecutive months.
  • Diplomats may import items duty free.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

Automobiles / Motorcycles

  • Customs Form DA 304/A
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Document showing that vehicle has been in the owner’s use and possessions abroad for more than 1 year before the importation of the vehicle (e.g., original Purchase Invoice, Insurance Certificate, etc.).
  • Import Permit
  • OBL / AWB
  • Letter of Authority (LOA) issued by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in Pretoria (must be submitted at the time of clearance)

Mopeds / Power-Driven Boats with Inboard Engines

  • Document showing that vehicle has been in owner’s use and possession abroad for more than 1 year prior to importation of the vehicle (original Purchase Invoice, Insurance Certificate, etc.)
  • Import Permit
  • LOA / SABS in Pretoria

Caravans / Trailers

  • Import Permit
  • LOA / SABS in Pretoria

B. Specific Information

  • Only left-hand drive motor vehicles purchased after January 1, 2000, can be imported.
  • The transferee must be in possession of the Import Permit and LOA prior to the arrival of any motor vehicles, motorbikes, motor scooters, or motorcycles (anything motorized); delays related to the permit may result in demurrage charges.
  • The shipper must be in the country at least 10 business days prior to arrival of an ocean vessel.
  • A faxed copy of the LOA and the Import Permit must be received by the agent to avoid a delay of Customs clearance.
  • Motorized vehicles should not be shipped until transferee has proven possession of all required documents to Customs and has received written permission for import.
  • Temporary residents must pay in cash.
  • Vehicles cannot be sold for at least 2 years after the date of importation.
  • The rate of value added tax (VAT) is assessed on the import value of the vehicle.
  • A fee of R1800.00 per vehicle, payable to the SABS is required.
  • Incomplete or missing documents may result in the detainment or destruction of the shipment.
  • Returning residents must pay full duties and taxes.
  • Temporary residents must provide a Customs bond to cover full duties and taxes and do not need an Import Permit. A refund may be possible at the time of export; contact agent for details.
  • Foreign Diplomats pay no duties or taxes, subject to provisions of the Diplomatic Clearance Certificate, and proof of value.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Rabies Vaccination Certificate
  • Veterinary Health Certificate
  • Import Permit

Specific Information

  • An Import Permit may be granted after the owner has made arrangements for the period of quarantine required for pets travelling from most, but not all countries; check with agent.
  • Call agent for restrictions on the import of live animals.

Antiques, Artifacts, Carpets, Paintings

Inheritances:

Documents Required

  • Copy of Death Certificate
  • Copy of Will of deceased or certified relevant extract therefrom, or copy of Probate from the court if the deceased died intestate; English translation required.
  • Inventory with lawyer’s declaration that the imported goods are the legatee’s rightful share of the estate
  • SABS LOA in Pretoria
  • Import Permit
  • Declaration from the Legatee confirming permanent residency in South Africa and the right to share of the estate.

Specific Information

  • An inventory is required only if the copy of the deceased’s Will or other document does not specifically detail the goods to be imported.
  • Items of inheritance may be imported duty free if the legatee is permanently residing in South Africa.
  • Duty is payable on inherited motor cars, motorcycles, and mopeds.
  • Goods should not be shipped until Customs has authorized duty-free entry.

Note: Failure to comply with requirements may result in the destruction of goods by Customs or return of the entire consignment to the port of origin at shipper’s expense.

Wedding Trousseau / Gifts

Documents Required

  • Invoice
  • Import Permit (if requested by Customs – applies to second-hand goods)

Specific Information

  • Items are subject to the payment of duties.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Local currency of over $10,000; gold coins, coin and stamp collections and unprocessed gold must be declared.
  • Endangered species of plants or wildlife, alive or dead, including parts and articles made from them (require CITES Permit)
  • Animal and animal byproducts
  • Medicines for personal use (note from physician and prescription required)
  • Cigarettes (200), cigars (20), tobacco (250 g)
  • Perfume (50 ml)
  • Eau de toilette (250 ml)
  • Goods for personal use
  • Wine / Liquor / Alcohol
    • Import Permit and Liquor Removal Certificate required.
    • Items subject to payment of duties.
    • Documentation requirements must be met prior to the arrival of the shipment.
  • Dangerous Goods / Firearms
    • Import Permit and South African Police Firearm Registrar Certificate SAP 312 are required.
    • Items are subject to the payment of duties.

Note: Travelers may be asked to pay deposit on expensive items like laptops, which is refunded at re-exported. Returning residents are advised to register personal items (jewelry, watches, cameras, laptops, etc.) before leaving the country to avoid paying duty on these items upon re-importation.

Prohibited Items

  • Narcotics
  • Illegal drugs
  • Plants and vegetable products
  • Pornographic books and magazines
  • Walkie-talkies and radios (may include other prohibited communication devices)
  • Animal products (certain feathers, furs, skins, tusks, or animals identified under protected specifies regulations)

Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.

IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.

Helpful Website(s):

http://www.southafrica-newyork.net/consulate

Travel.State.Gov