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 lines. 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 Exports 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 cleared through one of these processes:

  • home consumption i.e. direct entry into South African Customs Union (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).

What is the timeframe for due entry of goods? 

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. Permits for restricted goods can be obtained from the International Trade Administration Commission (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.   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

Customs-G002 – Guide on Importation of unaccompanied goods – External Guide

Customs-G004 – Customs Statement of Account – External Guide

DA 189 – Customs Inspection Report – External Form

DA 304 – Household effects on permanent change of residence – External Form

DA 304A – Motor vehicle declaration on permanent change of residence – External Form

DA 306 – Application for release of goods in terms of Section 38 1 a of the Customs and Excise Act Act 91 of 1964 – Externa

DA 306A – Export of goods ito section 38(3)(a) read with rule 38

DA 55 – Customs and Excise Valuation Questionnaire – External Form

DA 73 – Application for Special or Extra Attendance – External Form

DA 74 – Application Release of Detained Stopped Goods – External Form

LAPD-CE-G01 – Understanding the Customs and Excise Transitional Provisions

SAD 500 Customs Declaration Form – External Form

SAD 503 – Customs Declaration Query Notification – External Form

SAD 504 – Voucher of Correction – External Form

SAD 506 – Continuation Sheet – External Form

SAD 507 – Customs Declaration Additional Info Produced Documents – External Form

SAD 514 – Voucher of Correction Transfer of Liability – External Form

SAD 601 – Continuation Sheet Ex Warehouse Imported Goods – External Form

SAD 604 – Voucher of Correction Ex Warehouse Imported Goods – External Form

SAD 611 – Continuation Sheet Ex Warehouse or fuel levy goods ex duty paid stocks – External Form

SAD 614 – Voucher of Correction SA products Ex warehouse or fuel levy goods ex duty paid stocks – External Form

SC-CC-32 – Prohibited and Restricted Goods – External Policy

SC-CC-35 – Customs Scanner Operations – External Policy

SC-CF-13 – Use of Non Designated Ports – External Policy

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-32 – Completion of DA 70 – External Manual

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

SC-CF-41 – Formalities for Unpolished Diamonds – External Policy

SC-CF-48 – Staged Consignment – External Policy

SC-CF-49 – Samples – 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

SC-CF-58 – Clearance of Continuous Transmission Commodities – External Policy

SC-CR-A-03 – Valuation of Imports – External Directive

SC-CR-A-05 – Method 1 Valuation of Imports – External Directive

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