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Importing Fire Arms

Limitations

The following limitations exist on firearms per person: 

  • two hunting rifles
  • one single or double barrel shotgun
  • one handgun of .45 or smaller caliber

Prohibitions

Prohibitions on firearms are:

  • automatic rifles and pistols or semi-automatic rifles
  • automatic or semi-automatic or pump action shotguns
  • hand carbines

A reasonable amount of ammunition per caliber is allowed. Any person importing firearms to South Africa must have proof of ownership, for example a license and export permit from the country of origin.

Note:  All firearms, including airguns, require 2 import permits, one from the South African Police and the other from the Director of Import and Export Control.

Temporary Import Permit for Visitors

Foreign nationals, irrespective of their nationality, traveling with firearms into South Africa are required to report to the South African Police Services (SAPS) Firearm office immediately after clearing immigration,  This office is situated before Customs in Terminal 2, at Johannesburg International Airport.

SAPS will issue the relevant temporary import permit to the owner accordingly.

It is up to the owner of the weapon to make sure what the requirements of their own country is before departing from home.

Permanent Importation (South African passport holders)

Returning South African Citizens who wish to import firearms for hunting, target practice, protection, etc., are advised to apply for an import permit six to eight weeks before their departure and address their application to:

or send a facsimile to : 011 27 (12) 353-6041

Once this permit (SAP312) has been issued application should be made directly to:

The Director of Import and Export Control
Department of Trade and Industry
Private Bag X192
Pretoria
0001   
SOUTH AFRICA

or a facsimile sent to : 011 27 (12) 428-7799
Telephone Numbers : 011 27 (12) 428-7793, -7796, -7786, -7788
Email : vvuuren@dti.pwv.gov.za

The following information is required

  • Owner's full name and address
  • Identity number (South African citizens only)
  • Passport number (Foreigners and permanent resident holders)
  • Type of fire-arm
  • Caliber of fire-arm
  • Manufacturer's serial number (It is illegal to import fire-arms without serial numbers stamped or engraved onto the metal)
  • Type of ammunition
  • Quantity of ammunition
  • Market value in Rand.

After producing the above permits the applicable import duties and VAT must be paid to Customs before the release of the firearms can be obtained.

The owner of the import permit will have to apply for the firearm license before the expiry date on the temporary permit (SAP 312) and the preceding documents (as well as proof of payment of tax) should be submitted with the application.

It is the responsibility of the passport holder to present the South African Police Service with a Certificate of Conduct (Police record) from the country of origin when he applies for a South African firearm license.

Contact the airline with which you are traveling to establish their requirements for shipping firearms and ammunition.