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Customs and Excise

Accompanied Luggage Only:

1.0      Personal effects, supporting and recreational equipment, new or used.

a. Exported either as accompanied or unaccompanied passengers' baggage by non-residents of the Republic for their own use during their stay in the Republic.

b. Exported by residents of the Republic for their own use while abroad and subsequently re-imported either as accompanied or unaccompanied passengers'  baggage by such residents. Admission under this concession shall only be permitted provided the goods can be identified as being the same goods which were taken from the Republic.

c. The importation of goods not covered by this concession are dutiable unless they fall within the limits allowed in terms of paragraph 2.0 below.

The following articles in reasonable quantities may be imported in terms of the abovementioned notes (a) and (b), without any payment of duty, provided they are the personal property of the importer and are not for sale, gift or exchange:

Clothing, jewelry, travelling rugs, sporting equipment such as golf clubs, tennis racquets, cameras, binoculars, musical instruments, firearms, essential toilet requisites (excluding unopened bottles or packages), part packages of cigarettes or tobacco and exposed film and slides of personal interest.

Returning resident of the Republic must take note of the conditions of paragraphs (a) (b) and 2.00.

2.0 Goods Imported as Accompanied Passengers' Baggage

Items either by non-residents or residents of the Republic cleared at the place where such persons disembark or enter the Republic, other than personal effects and sporting or recreational equipment:

a)  The following concessions apply subject to the conditions stipulated in subparagraph (c)  and (d) below:

  • 1 liter of spirituous or other alcoholic beverage; (Beer is included in the Duty Free Goods of paragraph 2.0) (iii).
  • 2 liters of wine
  • 400 cigarettes; 40 cigars; 50 gm (80z) tobacco;
  • 50 ml perfumery and 250ml toilet water;

may be imported without payment of duty.

ii. Other new or used goods, excluding firearms, of a total value not exceeding R1,250 per person may be imported without payment of duty.

iii. Additional goods, new or used, excluding firearms, of a total value not exceeding R10,000, per person, (excluding goods of a class specified in paragraph (i). Provided the total value of the goods declared under this item does not exceed R10,000 the passenger may elect to pay the flat rate of 20% duty. Where a passenger import goods in excess of the total value mentioned, the flat rate of duty falls away and the full duty becomes payable.

b) The rebate of duty specified in paragraphs 2.0 (a) (ii) shall only be allowed once per person during a period of 330 days and shall not apply to goods imported:

i) by persons travelling only between places in the Republic;

ii) by persons returning after an absence of less than 48 hours.

The rebate mentioned may, with the exception of that in respect of tobacco and alcoholic products be claimed by children under 18 years of age, whether or not they are accompanied by their parents or guardians.

c) The above concessions are also subject to the following conditions:

i) The goods imported must actually accompany the passenger on the same ship or aircraft or vehicle.

ii) Goods carried on behalf of third parties are subject to full duty and production of an import permit at the time of importation.

iii) The rebate of duty specified in paragraph 2.0 shall not apply to firearms acquired abroad or at any duty free shop and imported by residents of the Republic returning after an absence of less than 6 months.

iv) When required by an officer to do so, any person entering the Republic shall unreservedly declare all goods in his possession which he brought with him into the Republic. Failing to do so or to declare prohibited or restricted goods may lead to the imposition of penalties, seizure of the goods and forfeiture of all concession.

3. Importation of Prohibited and Restricted Goods

3.1 Passengers in possession of prohibited or restricted goods, e.g. meat, live animals, dangerous drugs, firearms, ammunitions and explosives, indecent or obscene books, photographs, films and other articles, agricultural products, any plants, seeds, bulbs, etc. must declare such goods.

3.2 Live Animals, may only be imported against a permit issued by the Director, Division of Veterinary Services, Private Bag X138, Pretoria, 0001. Application forms for permits are obtainable from the Counselor (Agricultural Technical Services) at South African Missions.

3.3 Firearms and Ammunition, require police permits, but Customs Officers at South African ports of entry have authority to issue temporary permits which are valid for 180 days in the case of tourists visiting South Africa.  Temporary permits will not be issued in respect of firearms imported on behalf of other persons. With regards to people moving to South Africa on a temporary basis or otherwise, application for a license to possess a firearm must be made to the Officer Commanding, South African Police, in the immigrant's/returning South African's residential area before the firearm my be imported into South Africa. The importation of a firearm without a serial number, or other number by which it can be identified, stamped or engraved on the metal is prohibited. In respect of a returning resident or a person who enters the Republic for purposes of permanent residence or to remain temporarily therein, the importation will be subject to production of an import permit. Only after these procedures are completed, may the firearm be exported to South Africa.

3.4 Honey or any products or preparation containing honey may not be imported at all.

3.5. Plants, seeds, bulb etc. may only be imported against a permit issued by the Department of Agriculture and permits must be applied for prior to departure for the Republic, direct to the Division of Plant and Seed Control, Private Bag X179, Pretoria, 0001. A Phytosanitary Certificate issued by the Authority concerned in the country of export i.e. British Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (tel. (71) 216-6808, will also be required.

3.6 Medicine, in the normal course of events, are prohibited by private individuals, but by way of a concession immigrants and tourists visiting the Republic may bring with them for their personal use a supply for a month provided they are in possession of a prescription for such medicine or a certificate from a chemist to the effect that the medicine was duly prescribed by a physician.. This does not apply to small amounts of patent medicines, e.g. aspirin, which are carried for own use.

3.7 Rand bank note, in terms of the Exchange Control Regulations, may be imported by persons entering the Republic, but the amount is restricted to R5,000.00 per person.