What are Imports?

Goods arrive in the Republic by one of the following modes of transport: Air, Sea, Road, Rail, Post including transmission commodities like crude oil, natural gas and their derivatives and other liquids and gases transported through cross-border pipelines as well as electricity transmitted through cross-border transmission line. 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. To see how to register as an Importer, click here.

Processes to import goods 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. For more information, you can refer to Consolidated list of Prohibited and Restricted Exports and Imports. Restricted goods permits can be obtained under ITAC.

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. Customs values are set by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) valuation code, which involves six valuation methods.
Last Updated: 02/07/2018 2:50 PM     print this page
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 Top FAQs

I want to import unpolished diamonds but I cannot wait for SADPMR to inspect the goods or the Kimberley Process Certificate. What can I do?
It is illegal to import rough diamonds without being accompanied by a KP Certificate. The regulator is mandated to verify and do the final inspection of all rough diamond import,

I wish to import unpolished diamonds which certificates or permits are required?
In terms of the Diamonds Act No. 56 of 1986, Regulations 6A and 6B, no unpolished diamond may be registered for export or import, unless the diamond is accompanied by a Kimberley Process Certificate.

Labelling - What communication has Gone out on the labelling regulation?
Regulation 6 and Annex D to Sections 24 and 26 of the Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008 was published in GNR. 293 of 1 April 2011. An external policy,

Labelling - What language is allowed on labels?
Only English.​

Labelling - Who can be contacted at the NCC?
Any queries relating to the detention of goods must be directed to the National Consumer Council for the attention: The National Consumer Council at,