Sending or receiving goods in the post

What is it?

Postal articles include both ordinary and registered letters: 
  • Imported into South Africa:
    • For delivery in South Africa by the South African Postal Office (SAPO); or
    • In transit to another country through South Africa; and
  • Posted in South Africa for export from South Africa through SAPO.
The particulars reflected on the label shall be deemed a declaration for Customs purposes, however in certain circumstances Customs may request the importer or exporter to complete and submit the Customs clearance declaration (CCD) with the necessary supporting documents, such as a permit.

Certain items may be prohibited from being imported or exported into or from the Republic while others may be cleared under certain conditions only such as under a permit, certificate or licence.  Refer to the Consolidated List of Prohibited and Restricted Goods available on the SARS website.

In the event the goods or parcels have been stopped or detained, SAPO informs the sender or recipient of the outcome of inspection as well as the conditions or terms that must be met.
 
In some cases a full clearance is needed for more information, you can go to on either import or export. In South Africa, the Post Office acts on behalf of SARS when goods are sent by post.

Goods that must be entered at a Customs branch office includes but not limited to:
  • Goods for warehousing
  • Goods for removal in bond
  • Goods under a heading or item of Schedule No. 1 which requires a permit/certificate or condition to be complied with
  • Goods under any item of Schedule No. 3 , 4, or 6. The exceptions being:
    • used personal effects in terms of item 407.01
    • unsolicited gifts in terms of item 412.10
    • goods exported for processing / repair and registered for exportation / re-importation in terms of item 409.00 – On re-importation the SA Post Office collects tax on behalf of customs on the cost of processing /repair.
  • Where the exporter intends to claim a Drawback or a refund of duty in respect of the provision of Schedule no. 5 or 6, the goods must be entered for export on the prescribed form.

Unsolicited Gifts

  • Gift – A gift is classified as any item sent from a natural person abroad to another natural person in the Republic that is unsolicited by the recipient. These include but are not limited to weddings, birthdays, etc.
  • In terms of item 412.10 – A person can receive two gifts per calendar year, of which the value must not exceed R1 400 for each parcel on which the duty will be rebated.
  • Please note that the following consumables are excluded from the rebate:
    • Wines
    • Spirits
    • Tobacco (Including cigarettes and cigars)
    • Perfume
  • Customs Charges – Should the value of the parcel exceed R1 400, customs charges will be paid on the total price actually paid for the item. On gift parcels where the contents are intended for more than one person and the total declared is more than R1 400, customs charges will be paid by the recipients as the rebate cannot be split and the gifts cannot be linked to people other than the recipient.

Top tip:
 Some commodities are subject to inspections by the relevant government department before being cleared or dispatched to its intended destination:
    • All Medications (including prescriptions, vitamins, enhancers, skin lightening creams, etc.) are subject to inspection by Port Health
    • Plants, vegetables, etc are subject to inspection by the Department of Agriculture
    • Animals and their articles thereof are subject to inspection by the State Vet.
  • Please allow up to a period of 48 working hours for the inspection process to be finalised.

Need Help?

For further Customs queries, please call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 SARS (7277) or visit your nearest SARS Branch Office.

 Top FAQs

Origin - Do all products have an origin?
It is a requirement of Section 39 that importers and exporters must submit a Customs declarations for goods imported or exported in the prescribed form and providing the particulars as indicated thereon.

Origin - What are the requirements for a product to qualify for the benefits of preferential treatment under a trade agreement?
Trade agreements are reciprocal in nature and provide for imports in the respective markets of the parties to benefit from the arrangement.

SADC - Do goods manufactured in Madagascar and sold to a company in Mauritius qualify for preferences when imported into South Africa?
The company in Mauritius sells the goods to a company in South Africa and issues a certificate of origin stating the goods to be of Madagascar origin.

TDCA - What’s included under the Ex-Works price?
Reference is made to the definition of ex-works price in Protocol 1 to the TDCA and in Annex V to the SACU-EFTA FTA. The ex-work price of a product must include the value of all materials used,

TDCA - Would goods originating in an EU member country qualify for preferential treatment if the invoice therefore were issued in a third country?
The response to this question lies in Article 15 of Protocol 1 which provides for the procedure for the issue of an EUR.1 movement certificate.

Last Updated: 05/06/2018 10:52 AM     print this page
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