Clearance Declaration

What’s New?

  • 2 December 2021Advance Import Payment information included in the Clearance Declaration Policy

    The SF-CF-55 – Clearance Declaration Policy was updated with AIP information. The importer receives a unique APN reference number assigned by SARS and communicates it to the authorised dealer and inserts it on the Customs Clearance Declaration (CCD) in the additional information field as prescribed in SC-CF-55-A01. See the ‘SC-CF-55-A01 – Completion of Goods Declarations – External Annexure.

What is Clearance Declaration?

Importers and exporters and their clearing or registered agents must be registered or licensed as prescribed in SC-CF-19 – Registration Licensing and Designation – External Policy, before submitting a Customs Clearance Declaration (CCD).  

Every importer or exporter of goods must lodge a CCD, except when exempted by specific rules before the goods are imported to or exported from South Africa. Clients make a self-assessment with the transaction documentation and submit the CCD to Customs either electronically or manually. Customs replies with a CUSRES message. The status codes and completion of the CCD are explained in the SC-CF-55-A01 – Completion of Declarations – External Annex as included in the SF-CF-55 – Clearance Declaration Policy.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) clients experiencing technical problems/difficulty, for example difficulty to insert the provisional payment (PP) requirements, must contact their Service Providers or the SARS Contact Centre to log a call to Customs on their behalf and on good cause shown may be allow/approve an alternative process for a specific period. Provisional payments on imports are completed on the CCD. If you are an EDI client who is not using servicer provide, you need to contact our Contact Centre.  

Customs can release the consignment or request supporting documents validation to check the correctness of the CCD by means of a documentary inspection. The client submits the supporting documents via e@syscan or hard copies, which are scanned at the Customs Office for attachment to the relevant case on the system. Clients are required to prove the origin of the goods when preferential rates of duty are applied. Once all the supporting documents as requested are received, the case is routed for an inspection.  

If the supporting documents are not on hand, the client may apply for a sight declaration (DA 22).  

Clients may request expedited clearances, conditional or embargo release if the set criteria are complied with.  

Once all the consignments have been released, the goods may either be imported into South Africa or be loaded onto the carrier which will remove it from South Africa. Goods may only enter or leave South Africa through ports of entry or exit designated for that purpose in the Rules. Goods may be imported or exported via rail, air, sea or road. Some imports or exports may require an import or export permit.  

Clients dealing with bonded goods or goods moved in transit with the temporary suspension of duties and VAT must retain the proof of export in order to acquit them of their liability for the duties and taxes.

Any goods that are being recovered from an abandoned wreck are regarded as imported goods and the local or non-local registered client (searcher) must submit a CCD bringing revenue to account.  

Export declarations where a drawback of duty and taxes are envisaged must at time of lodgement of the CCD contain the appropriate drawback item in terms of the applicable Schedule as well as the correct CPC. All the notes and specific requirements for the specific drawback item must also be adhered to. Exporters and clients who wish to claim a drawback in terms of Schedule 5 must be registered with Customs. Exportation of any goods under the provisions of a drawback item is subjected to the approval of the Commissioner.  

When it is a requirement of the applicable drawback item it is the responsibility of the client to apply for an examination without prejudice (EWP) in order for the container to be packed or sealed under Customs supervision.  

Drawback applications are submitted and processed as prescribed in terms of customs SC-DT-C-13 – Refunds and Drawbacks – External Policy.  

CCDs may be required to be amended or cancelled depending on the circumstances.  

Certain imported goods (Section 38) are cleared on a simplified clearance procedure (DA 306 – Application for release of goods in terms of Section 38 1 a of the Customs and Excise Act Act 91 of 1964) instead of a CCD if the Controller/Branch Manager grants permission.  

Any person whose rights have been adversely affected by administrative action has the right to be given written reasons, as contemplated in the Constitution of South Africa.  

You can refer to the SC-CF-55 – Clearance Declaration – External Policy document for more information.    

For more information on other customs processes related to clearance declaration you can access the links below:  

Related Documents

SAD 500 Customs Declaration Form – External Form

SAD 502 – Customs Declaration Form (TRANSIT CONTROL AND TRANSPORT FOR EXAMINATION) – External Form


SC-CF-19 – Registration Licensing and Accreditation – External Policy

SC-CF-19-A01 – Documentary Requirements – External Annexure

SC-CF-19-A02 – Facilities Code List – External Annexure

SC-CF-19-A03 – Exemption from Ad Valorem Excise Licence and Payment – External Annexure

SC-CF-19-A04 – Joint Ad Valorem Excise Licence – External Annexure

SC-CF-26 – Application to Submit Cargo Reports – External Manual

SC-CF-30 – Invoice Requirements for Customs – External Policy

SC-CF-36 – Use of DA 490 and DA 494 – External Policy

SC-CF-55 – Clearance Declaration – External Policy

SC-CF-55-A01 – Completion of Goods Declarations – External Annexure

SC-CF-55-A02 – Alphabetic District Office Codes – External Annexure

SC-CF-55-A03 – CPC Combination Matrix – External Annexure

SC-CF-55-A04 – Procedure Measure Matrix – External Annexure

SC-CF-55-A05 – Country and Currency Codes – External Annex

SC-CF-55-A06 – Supplementary Unit Codes – External Annexure

SC-CF-55-A07 – Countable Quantity Codes – External Annexure

SC-CF-55-A08 – Export Coding – External Annexure

SC-CF-55-A09 – Customs Status Response Messages – External Annexure

SC-CF-55-A10 – List of Acquittal and Proof of Export Requirements – External Annexure

SC-CF-55-A11 – Supporting Document Codes – External Annexure

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