Travellers

What’s New?

  • 17 November 2022 – Webinar on South African Traveller Declaration

    If you missed the recent webinar on the online Traveller Declaration system, you can view it on the SARS TV channel. Or you can view the Traveller Declaration system presentation delivered during the webinar here. The webinar provided more information about the new traveller declaration system. SARS Customs intends running a pilot project at King Shaka International Airport starting 29 November 2022. The system will progressively be implemented at all South African ports of entry. Keep an eye on the Traveller Declaration webpage for more information.

  • 20 October 2022 – Media Release: SARS takes a further step toward implementing Smart Borders

    Travellers are required by law to make certain declarations of goods and cash on entering or leaving South Africa. The declaration process is in line with practices around the world and in compliance with the provision of the Customs and Excise Act No. 91 of 1964 which makes it mandatory for any person entering and leaving the Republic to declare any goods in their possession.

    During November 2022, SARS will launch a pilot implementation of an electronic online portal for travelers to make declarations on a voluntary basis, well ahead of their arrival or departure to/from South Africa. This pilot will initially be implemented at the King Shaka International Airport. The new system will allow travellers to pre-declare goods purchased, received, or otherwise acquired. For travellers who choose not to use the on-line portal on their mobile devices, SARS will make available a paper form as well self-service counters at our terminals. A number of our Customs Officers will also have hand-held devices to assist travellers, and facilitate passage. Travellers will be permitted to continue to use the travellers card if they so choose.

    See the full media statement here.

Customs’ responsibility with regard to travellers

Customs is responsible to facilitate legitimate trade and travel as well as protect the economy and society. This mandate is executed as part of whole of government approach. South Africa like other countries around the world has a responsibility to facilitate legitimate trade and travel in line with international standards by using risk management to manage the increasing number of trade and travel as South African ports of entry.  

Declaration of goods

On arrival into South Africa, the traveller must declare any goods: 

  • Purchased or acquired abroad on which duty has not been paid;
  • Remodelled processed or repaired abroad;
  • Prohibited or restricted or controlled under any law;
  • Re-imported by returning resident of South Africa who registered such goods at time of leaving South Africa; or
  • Temporary imported by non-resident of South Africa into South Africa with the intention to be re-exported in the same state when leaving South Africa.

See the manual Traveller Card (TC-01) here. An online declaration platform will be implemented soon accessible through any device with internet connectivity.  The system will enable travellers to predeclare goods in their possession.

Travellers entering or leaving South Africa must declare any goods including cash/ currency in their possession, this includes goods and vehicles:

  • Carried on behalf of another person;
  • Intended for remodel, process or repair abroad;
  • Prohibited or restricted or controlled under any law;
  • Temporary imported by non-resident of South Africa for use during his / her stay in South Africa.

Travellers who has goods in their possession must proceed to RED channel on arrival at ports of entry and declare:

  • Any prohibited and / or restricted goods;
  • Any goods intended for trade purposes; or
  • Foreign currency, South African bank notes or Kruger Rand coins that exceeds the exchange control regulations;
  • Any goods in excess of his / her duty free allowance (DFA);
  • Any valuable goods that need to be registered for temporary importation into or exportation from South Africa.

Traveller may proceed through to the GREEN channel if he / she:

  • Has nothing to declare;
  • Is in possession of goods that fall within his / her Duty Free Allowances; or
  • Is not in possession of any prohibited, restricted or controlled goods, gifts carried on behalf of others (e.g. those sent by a person overseas to another person in South Africa), or commercial goods (for trade purposes).

Customs may stop and search any person at Red or Green Channel to determine whether compliance with the provisions the Customs and Excise Act, 1964 (the Act). Failure to declare goods as required by customs law is an offence that results in the detention and forfeiture of the goods not declared and accompanying goods, imposition of an administrative penalty and/ or criminal prosecutions depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Payments of duties or taxes

The payments of any duties, taxes, deposits or penalties due to Customs can be made in cash, by debit or credit card: A person has two (2) options to make a payment to Customs: a) Pay Now Option; or b) Pay Later Option. When the person selects the Pay Later option, the goods in question will be detained by Customs pending proof of payment within thirty (30) days. The following restrictions apply regarding payments made at a Customs branch office:

  • Rules/limitations:
    • Payment must be made in South African Rand (R).
    • Payment can be made during office hours at any Customs branch office (8:00 to 15:00). Payments must be received no later than 15:00.
    • Where payments are received after 15:00, this will be deemed to have been received on the first following business day.
    • The number of coins that will be received at Customs branch offices are limited according to denominations:
      • A maximum amount of R50 in R5 coins;
      • A maximum amount of R20 in R2 coins;
      • A maximum amount of R20 in R1 coins;
      • A maximum amount of R5 in 10 cents – 50 cents coins;
      • A maximum amount of 50c in 5 cents coins; and
      • The amount of bank notes is limited to R2 000. 00 per transaction. This also applies to travellers.

                      Note: All cash payments are rounded off to the nearest 5 cents.

Excess Currency

Excess currency in terms of South African Reserve Bank (SARB), Exchange Control Regulation is any amount in excess of R25 000 or any foreign currency which is convertible to Rand in excess of R25 000. Travellers must obtain written permission from the SARB before entering or leaving South Africa with excess currency. Travellers may on voluntary basis declare currency in their possession through the online traveller declaration form (link coming soon) or the manual Traveller Card (TC-01).  The cash/ currency to be declared is South African bank notes as well  foreign currency, securities and gold. For more information about Excess currency, see SC-PA-01-06 – Excess Currency – External Policy.

For more information about tax and immigration you can refer to this link Tax and emigration.

Further information on the traveller declaration is in the SC-PA-01-11 – Traveller Processing – External Policy

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