Goods arrive in the Republic by one of the following modes of transport: Air, Sea, Road, Rail or Post.  In order for Customs to safeguard any revenue due to the State and ensure compliance with national legislation, the importer must declare to Customs what they have brought into the country and the mode of transport used. If goods arrive in the country via the post, a different process is followed.
The importation of a variety of goods is either totally prohibited or may be subject to inspection by other authorities. See the Consolidated list of prohibited and restricted Imports.

Under what processes may goods be imported into the Republic?

Goods may enter the Republic and be declared through one of these processes:
  • home consumption i.e. direct entry into SACU countries (duty is paid on importation or under rebate / relief from duties under specific circumstances / conditions);
  • warehousing (pending payment of duty or re-export)
  • transit / in bond movements within the country or through South Africa beyond the borders of SACU;
  • temporary admission into SACU including inward processing (for manufacturing purposes and subsequent exportation).

How long will I be allowed to make a declaration?

National legislation gives an importer / agent seven days (an additional seven days in which to make due entry for loose or break bulk cargo, imported by sea, air or rail i.e. 14 days) or 28 days in the case of goods in a container depot, in which to clear goods from the time they have landed in the Republic.

What happens if goods are not declared on time?

These may be removed and detained in a State Warehouse. It must be noted that certain goods will require an import permit, which must be produced at the time of clearance. Application for Import Permits must be made to The Department of Trade and Industry (Contact Telephone Number 012 – 428 7000).

What is the clearance process?

The clearance process includes accepting and checking the goods declaration against the documents produced (invoice, bill of lading, certificate of origin, permits, etc.), examination of the goods if necessary and the assessment and collection of duty and VAT. Customs may require additional information and may also request samples.
Customs may also detain goods for other Government departments. The relevant Government department will then ensure compliance with their applicable laws, regulations and rules.

Import Control

If you want to import controlled or used and second-hand personal or individual goods into South Africa, you need permission from ITAC.

To import such goods, you have to apply to ITAC for an import permit.
In the administration of the relevant provisions of the ITA Act, by Import and Export Control a distinction is drawn between the importation of new goods and used goods, second-hand and waste and scrap.

Some of the products subject to import control include:

Radioactive chemical elements
Control is exercised to assist the Department of Health (radiation control) to control and monitoring the importation of radioactive isotapes and chemical elements for medical and industrial purposes.

New pneumatic tyres
Control is exercised to assist the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) in ensuring that all new pneumatic tyres comply with the safety/quality specification and that tyres have been subjected to a process of homolation.

Chemicals listed in the 1988 Convention
Control is exercised to assist the SAPS in ensuring that importers/exporters of listed chemicals are recorded and the movements of these chemicals are adequately monitored as required by the Convention.

Fossil fuels
Fossil fuels are controlled to assist the Department of Mineral Resources in regulating the industry for purposes of promoting efficient manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing of petroleum products, creating an environment for investment, and creating small business and employment opportunities in the industry.

Arms and ammunition
Arms and ammunition is controlled to assist the SAPS with maintaining safety and security.

Gambling devices
Gambling devices are controlled for social reasons and quality. It is also done to assist the National Gambling Board in the development of the industry with specific reference to manufacturing and Information Technology and to ensure compliance with NRCS specifications.

Used goods

  • Used electronic equipment
    Used electronic equipment is controlled to assist the Department of Environmental Affairs to address the problem of dumping electronic waste.
  • Used medical equipment
    Used medical equipment is controlled to assist the Department of Health to address the problem of inferior quality used medical equipment being imported, such as used x-ray machines.
  • Used aircraft
    The importation of used aircraft is controlled to assist the Civil Aviation Authority and ensuring that the requirements of airworthiness have been complied with.
  • Waste and scrap
    Waste and scrap is controlled as the generation of waste and scrap exceeds recycling programmes resulting in many developed countries paying developing countries for receiving waste and scrap for purpose of landfill. In many instances the importation of waste and scrap is allowed as a raw material for manufacturing purposes such as waste paper, glass, rubber and lead. In all these instances, the provisions of the Basel Convention must be complied with.


The following legislation and provisions applies to an importer or exporter only in cases where an import and export permit is required: International Trade Administration Act, 2002, (Act 71 of 2002).

Customs and Excise Act, 1964, (Act 91 of 1964).
Promotion to Administrative Justice Act, 2000, (Act 3 of 2000).
Promotion to Access to Information Act, 2000, (Act 2 of 2000).

How to apply and the processing procedures

Import Permits

The application forms for Import Permits are found below. The forms may be faxed to (012) 394 0517 or delivered directly to the office. The office address is found below.

The turnaround time for processing applications is, on average, three to five working days. In some instances, the applications require support documentation from other departments (DEA, Mineral Resources Energy, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, NRCS and SAPS), depending on the product in question.

IE230 Application to Register as an Importer 30KB
IE461 Application for Import Permit for Commercial purposes 35KB
IE461 Application for Import Permit for Commercial purposes Annexure 39KB
IE462 Application for Import of second hand or used Passenger vehicle 36KB
IE462 IE Information document to complete the IE462 form   9KB
IE463 Application for Permit to Import goods for Personal use 30KB
IE463 Application for Permit to Import goods for Personal use Annexure 39KB
IE464 Application for Permit to Import Chemicals 36KB
IE464 Application for Permit to Import Chemicals Annexure 31KB
Retreaders tyre casing sworn affidavit 244KB


Import Control Regulations                                                                                                                              10 Feb 2012
Import Control Amended Regulations                                                                                                          19 April 2013
Import Control Amended Regulations                                                                                                          31 Dec 2015
Import Control Amended Regulations                                                                                                          22 Dec 2016