Arrival in SA

Customs requirements for Travellers

The online declaration form (link coming soon) or the manual Traveller Card (also called a TC01 form), needs to be completed by travellers arriving in South Africa who have goods in their possession to declare. To have an overview of the process and requirements at ports of entry, kindly click here .

If you would like more detail about the arrival process and the various allowances, click here to read the Traveller’s Guide.

Red or Green channel?

Travellers are encouraged on voluntary basis to complete the online declaration form (link coming soon) or the manual Traveller Card to declare goods in their possession. After reporting to Immigration, travellers within an airport environment must collect  their baggage and  proceed to Customs’ red or green channel (or to the Customs counter if there is no red or green channel).

The following Customs channels must be followed, depending on your circumstances:

Travellers in possession of any goods to declare including prohibited/restricted goods, goods exceeding the duty-free allowance, or are unsure whether goods their possession falls within these categories, must please proceed to the red channel.

Travellers who were unable to declared online pre arrival, will still have an opportunity to declare through Customs through the online declaration form or the manual Traveller Card.

Traveller on arrival are also expected to declare currency in their possession. The following link provide more information with regards to  currency or cash SC-PA-01-06 – Excess Currency – External Policy.

Travellers may access the following link for more information about duty free allowance: Guide on Duty Free allowances for travellers.  

Prohibited Goods

The importation of the following goods into South Africa is strictly prohibited:

  • Narcotic and habit-forming drugs in any form
  • Fully automatic, military and unnumbered weapons
  • Explosives and fireworks
  • Poison and other toxic substances
  • Cigarettes with a mass of more than 2kg per 1 000
  • Goods to which a trade description or trademark is applied in contravention of any Act (for example, counterfeit goods)
  • Unlawful reproductions of any works subject to copyright
  • Penitentiary or prison-made goods

Restricted Goods

Certain goods may only be imported if you are in possession of approval from relevant authority. Such goods on approval will require permit, letter of authority etc.  Examples are:

  • Firearms / Weapons
  • Gold coins
  • Excess currency (cash, banknotes etc.)
  • Unprocessed minerals (e.g. gold, diamonds, etc.)
  • Animals, plants and their products (e.g. animal skins, dairy products, honey)
  • Medicine (excluding sufficient quantities for three months for own personal treatment accompanied by a letter or certified prescription from a registered physician)
  • Herbal products (Department of Health permit required)

Duty-free allowances

The following goods may be imported duty free as accompanied baggage duty free (without payment of applicable duties and VAT):

  • No more than 200 cigarettes and 20 cigars per person
  • No more than 250g of cigarette or pipe tobacco per person
  • No more than 50ml perfume and 250ml eau de toilette per person
  • No more than 2 litres of wine per person
  • No more than 1 litre in total of other alcoholic beverages per person

In addition to personal effects and the above consumable allowances, travellers are allowed new or used goods in his/her accompanied baggage to the value of R5 000 per person during a period of 30 days after the absence of 48 hours from South Africa.  The tobacco and alcohol allowance is not applicable to persons under the age of 18 years.

Crew members are not entitled to any consumable allowances.

Can I bring personal medication under the duty-free allowance?

Travellers may import their personal medicaments provided they are in possession of authorised letter from the medical doctor. 

Handmade articles for commercial purposes

Apart from penitentiary or prison-made goods, travellers from the South African Customs Union (SACU) or the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states are allowed to bring into South Africa handmade articles of leather, wood, plastic, or glass if the goods do not exceed 25 kg in total, without the payment of duties and taxes.

Flat-Rate Assessment

Over and above the duty-free allowance, you may choose to pay customs duty at a flat-rate of 20% on goods which you acquired abroad or in any duty-free shop.

The total value of these additional goods, new or used, may not exceed R20 000 per person or R2000 for crew members. Flat-rate goods are also exempted from payment of VAT.   Should the value of the additional goods in question exceed R20 000 or should you decide not to make use of this facility, the flat-rate assessment falls away and the appropriate rates of duty and VAT must be assessed and paid on each individual item.

 It should be kept in mind that in certain cases goods may be liable to rates of customs duty in excess of 20%; others could be subject to lower rates, while some goods may be free of duty. In addition, 15% value-added tax will be payable on the added-tax value (ATV) of goods assessed by tariff.   It must, however, be noted that the application of this provision is subject to the total value of goods declared under the entire rebate item not exceeding R25 000. In other words, all consumables, the duty-free allowance of R5000 and the items to be assessed on the flat rate must in value not exceed R25 000.  The flat rate allowance will be granted an unlimited number of times during the 30-day cycle after an absence of 48 hours or more from the country provided the goods do not exceed R20 000.


Customs duties and taxes are payable in South African Rand. Payment can be made in cash, by debit or credit card.  Travellers must ensure a receipt is issued for payment of applicable duties and VAT on goods in their possession.

Temporary Imports

Customs as part of risk-based approach may require travellers to lodge surety (deposit) to cover the potential duty/tax on goods temporarily imported into South Africa. Such surety amount is refundable on re-export of such goods after customs verification process.   

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