Here is everything you need to know to ensure your entry into South Africa is hassle-free.
When you enter South Africa, you must declare any goods that attract duties to a customs official and pay the relevant duties and VAT. Customs duty is levied on imported goods based on the value of the goods.
Visitors to South Africa: Personal effects, sporting and recreational equipment, new or used, imported either as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage, for your own use during your stay.
South African Residents: Personal effects and sporting and recreational equipment, new or used, exported for your own use while abroad and subsequently re-imported either as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage.
The following goods may be included in travellers’ baggage by residents or non-residents, up to the following limits:
- Wine: 2 litres per person
- Spirits and other alcoholic beverages: 1 litre per person
- Cigarettes: 200 cigarettes per person
- Cigars: 20 cigars per person
- Cigarette or pipe tobacco: 250g per person
- Perfume: 50ml per person
- Eau de toilette: 250ml per person
- Other new or used goods to a total value not exceeding R5 000 per person, excluding consumables.
- Allowances may not be pooled or transferred to other persons
Visitors may be required to pay a cash deposit to cover duties and tax on expensive articles such as video cameras. The deposit on the goods is refunded on departure from South Africa.
- Children under 18 may claim duty free allowances on goods used by them
- They may not claim allowances for tobacco and alcohol
- Parents may make a customs declaration on behalf of their children
- Select either the red or green channel upon arrival in South Africa.
- By selecting the red channel, a traveller indicates that he or she has goods to declare.
- The customs officer must ascertain the value of the goods declared and the duties payable according to duty free allowances.
- By selecting the green channel, a traveller indicates that he or she has no goods to declare.
- Random searches of travellers and baggage in the green channel are conducted.
Vegetables, groundnuts, firewood, honey, used pneumatic tyres, raw animal wool and hair, electric blankets, coins, video recorders and reproducers, revolvers and pistols.
(unless special permits are obtained from the relevant government department)
Human bodies or body parts; meat and edible portions from cattle, sheep, goats or pigs; meat and edible animal offal salted, in brine, dried or smoked; edible flours and meals of meat or offal; cane or beet sugar and chemicals; pure sucrose in solid form; raw hides and skins of bovine or equine animals (fresh or salted, dried, limed, pickled or otherwise preserved, but not tanned, parchment-dressed or further prepared), whether or not dehaired or split; bank notes, securities or foreign currency.
The exportation and importation of a wide variety of goods is either totally prohibited or is subject to inspection by other authorities and/or production of special permits and licences, issued by certain authorities only. A comprehensive list of prohibited and restricted imports and exports is available on the South African Revenue Service website (www.sars.gov.za)
The new online Traveller Declaration System will be introduced at all South African international airports, commencing with King Shaka International Airport on the 29th of November 2022. The system will be progressively implemented with other international airports planned during 2023. The system may be used on a voluntary basis during the pilot until further notice. The results of the pilot project will be used as we roll out the system in line with Customs legislation.
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