For an archive on RLA updates, click here.
What’s New ?
- 7 December 2022 – RLA Trader/Taxpayer Representative (TTR) Solution System rollout
SARS launched a new self-service automated system in 2020 to make it easier for stakeholders and intermediaries to register and/or license for Customs purposes. The Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system has undergone various enhancements since its launch. Currently customs clients have been able to capture and submit their Registration and Licensing (RLA) applications on the electronic RLA platform through eFiling.
For more information see our letter to Trade.
1 November 2022 – Update on the RLA roadshows
SARS is conducting roadshows in the regions to assist traders to onboard onto the electronic Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) eFiling system. Onboarding to the RLA system will reduce manual processing that would, at times, cause delays. The regional roadshows will provide traders the opportunity to have physical interactions with SARS’ Registration, Licensing and Accreditation officers, who will support traders to activate their eFiling profiles and navigate the RLA eFiling system by submitting an application themselves.
Traders in the Free State are now invited to visit the SARS Maseru office any day from 14 – 18 November 2022. Slots are daily from 9:00 – 10:00, 11:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 14:00. This will be the last leg of regional roadshows for 2022, and traders are encouraged to continue using the self-registration option on eFiling.
SARS Maseru Bridge Boardroom
19 October 2022 – Update on the RLA roadshows
SARS is conducting roadshows in the regions to assist traders to onboard onto the electronic Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) eFiling system. Onboarding to the RLA system will lessen manual processing that would, at times, cause delays. The regional roadshows will provide traders the opportunity to have physical interactions with SARS’ Registration, Licensing and Accreditation officers, who will support traders to activate their eFiling profiles and navigate the RLA eFiling system by submitting an application themselves.
Traders in KwaZulu-Natal are now invited to visit the SARS Durban offices on any day from 17 – 28 October 2022. Slots are daily 9:00 – 10:00, 11:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 14:00.
- PC Room 1
- 201 Dr Pixley Kaseme Street
- Trescon Building – 2nd Floor
- -29.85768, 31.02905
No parking facilities at Trescon Building. Delegates may utilise the pay parkade, Liberty Building which is opposite the SARS Building.
- 6 October 2022 – Reminder of the required supporting documents when applying for a Customs client type
In the SC-CF-19 – Registration, Licensing and Designation Policy is an Annexure document called SC-CF-19-A01 – Documentary Requirements – External Annex. Open the Policy and click on the Annex opening in the left panel:
- 26 August 2022 – Updating of registration or licensing details of existing customs clients on RLA System
It is a legislative requirement that all Customs and Excise registrants and licencees update their company or individual details, whichever the case may be, captured on the South African Revenue Service’s (SARS) Customs and Excise register. As you may be aware, SARS launched a new self-service automated system in 2020 to make it easier for stakeholders and intermediaries to register or license for Customs and Excise purposes. The Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system has undergone various enhancements since its launch and SARS is now able to migrate all clients, previously registered or licensed on through the manual process, to the RLA system. This will ensure that the Customs and Excise register is electronic and that these client types have access to a fully automated self-service facility. For more information see our letter to Trade.
- 18 July 2022 – Onboarding of Cargo Reporters on Registration Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system
Cargo reporters have historically registered for cargo reporting purposes using the manual (DA8) process.
On 20 April 2020, SARS launched a secure online Customs Trader Portal (CTP) to submit registration and licensing applications to Customs through eFiling. Initially, due to anticipated volumes, the use of this channel was restricted to new applications only.
For more information, see our letter to Trade.
- 18 July 2022 – Onboarding of traders to Registration Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system
As previously communicated, SARS’ Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) team have embarked on an on-boarding process to re-register and re-licence existing clients into a new Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) System. To migrate your existing client types into the new updated RLA system, SARS requires your participation in the on-boarding process.
For more information, see our letter to Trade.
- 24 February 2022 – On-boarding of existing Customs clients to the new Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA) system
The implementation of the new RLA system was initially designed to cater only to clients submitting new applications. Clients who were already registered on the old system, i.e. via a DA185 application were not required to re-register on the new RLA system. The system was designed on a first-in-first-out principle and clients that required re-registering on the new RLA system would severely impact the turnaround times (TAT) of new applications due to operational capacity constraints. For more information, see our letter to Trade.
What is RLA?
Registration, Licensing and Accreditation (RLA), which is part of the New Customs Acts Programme (NCAP), is the new electronic platform for the management of registration/licensing applications. The new electronic registration/licensing process is being implemented under the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act, no 64 of 1964. This will allow for easier transition into the Customs Control and Duty Acts of 2014.
For a full list of all client types who are able to submit new applications via eFiling using the RLA system, click here.
Client types that are not impacted will continue to submit their applications for registration/licensing/reporting according to the current process at Customs branches.
Existing Customs clients can therefore continue trading and will not be affected. Only new client type applications (for the RLA-enabled client types) will be processed on the new system until further notice.
The first category of existing clients who were able to migrate to the new system are Clearing Agents. This is to allow Clearing Agents to register relationships with their clients on the Relationship Management component on RLA. All other existing clients are being notified when they should migrate to the new system.
Steps for Registration and licensing
Before goods can be imported or exported, a number of steps need to take place. If you want to perform any Customs related activities, SARS may require that you register in terms of Section 59A and / or get a license in terms of Section 60.
The person who must or may apply for registration and licensing:
Any natural person, juristic person, Association, partnership, Executor of an estate, Trustee, Organ of the State, Institution including foreign principals not located in South Africa may register and / or license to perform any act / activity regulated by the Act, except person who import or export goods in terms of the provisions of Rule 15.01.
The Commissioner may impose conditions that relate to:
- The protection of potential tax revenue on goods received, stored, handled, transported or in any way dealt with, managed or controlled by the licensee in terms of the licence;
- The inspection of such goods by Customs Officers;
- Assistance that the licensee must provide to Customs Officers to detained, seized or confiscated goods; or
- Compliance by the licensee with this Act or a tax levying Act in relation to such goods.
The Commissioner may also require an applicant to furnish security at any time, see Bonds external policy.
For all the info you need in order to get registered, licenced and accredited, see the Quick Links:
- Authorised Economic Operator Programme
- Clearing Agents
- Customs Storage Warehouse
- Drawback Registration
- EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)
- Rebate Users
- Registered Agents
- Remover of Goods
- Special Economic Zones
RLA webinar & presentation
SARS hosted a webinar with the theme of the onboarding of all existing Customs clients including cargo reporters (RCG). If you have missed the webinar, see the recorded session here or see the presentation: RLA – Onboarding of Customs Clients.
Need help with Registration and Licensing applications?
The DA 185 – Application form – Registration and licensing of Customs and Excise Clients – External Form, the relevant annexes and the supporting documents listed in the application form must be submitted to the nearest Customs office for processing. For more information on the required supporting documents, see Legal Entity – External Standard. The applicant or the applicant’s representative (Public Officer) as per the application form must also provide his / her ID book, proof of address and contact details to the Branch Front End agent. Other application forms (e.g. DA 64G.01; SC-CF-05-A23) must be submitted or forwarded to:
- Alberton Office
49 New Quay road
- Pretoria CBD Office
C/o Schoeman and Van Der Walt streets
SARS Main building
- For enquiries please forward an email to the following email address, for:
For enquiries and submissions:
If clients are experiencing technical issues to access RLA on eFiling or submitting an application, please call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277.
Take note that as from 1 April 2022 the Customs Branch offices are no longer accepting DA185 applications via email.
Alternatively, clients can submit applications for a Customs client number in person at the following Customs Branch offices:
Alberton: 49 New Quay Road, New Redruth, Alberton
Cape Town: 22 Hans Strijdom Avenue, Central, Cape Town
Durban: Albany House, 61-62 Margaret Mncadi Avenue, Corner of Albany Grove & Margaret Mncadi Avenue, Durban
ORTIA: 1st Floor Agents Building, Cargo Section, OR Tambo International Airport
Port Elizabeth: SARS Customs Branch, 3 Winston Ntshona Street, Sanlam building, Port Elizabeth.
Pretoria: 136 Francis Baard Street, Customs House, Pretoria
- For queries on applications already submitted, you can email the following addresses. However, do not send applications (DA185) to the email addresses below as they do not capture applications:
- For applications submitted via the RLA system and the case has passed the acceptable turnaround time, please email [email protected] with the case number and name of the company in the subject line. These are cases starting with the 1000 number.
- For applications submitted via the manual DA185 form and the case is out of the turnaround time, please email [email protected] with the case number and name of company in the subject line. These are for cases starting with the 3 number.
Q: Where are the registration and licensing forms available?
A: Application forms are available on this website or from any Customs office.
Q: Where do you send the forms?
A: Application forms must be sent to the nearest Customs office.
Q: How long is the registration valid?
A: The registration validity period is indefinite. For licensing you can refer to Schedule No 8.
Q: What is the cost of registration?
A: No cost.
Q: How long does it take for approval?
A: For Customs registrations, we will process and finalise the application within 5 business days, where no inspection is required. Where an inspection is required, we will process and finalise the application within 21 business days.