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Importing personal items

Article provided by DHL Express

The import or export of personal effects takes various forms which is discussed further in this page.

The export of personal effects is not as burdensome on the shipper simply because there are no payment of duty implications. However, on import, the goods (excluding motor vehicles, cigarettes, alcohol) that fall under this category are permitted to be entered into the country free of any duties or taxes provided the importer meets the following criteria:

Please keep in mind that an importer may only import personal effects 6 times in one calendar year if they do not have an importers (ITAC) permit. If you wish to import more than 6 times, please click here for information how to apply for an ITAC permit.

Customs inspect all items described as personal effects. Therefore delays in delivery must be expected for at least 3-7 working days which is beyond DHL’s control.

  • Goods imported by Diplomats, Heads of State, Consular Officials, Diplomatic Missions, etc
  • Firstly, the country from which the diplomat hails must afford the same privileges to South African diplomats
  • The person is a listed in a register maintained by the Dept. of International Relation (hence the need for a Certificate A)
  • Goods imported by Returning Residents (407.06)
  • Certain goods are not permissible for example cigarettes and alcohol
  • Must be the bona-fide property of the importer
  • For returning residents, it must be after an absence of 6 months or more
  • Applicable to members of their family
  • Imported for own use
  • Cannot be sold within a period of 6 months from entry
  • In addition to the inventory (or packing list), a DA304 and P1.160 forms must be produced
  • Temporary residents will be allowed to import used household goods and personal effects duty-free if they are in possession of a valid temporary Work Permit and goods have been in their possession for at least one year prior to import and their work permit is valid for more than 6 months.

It is important to note that goods ‘left behind’ by travellers and subsequently imported at a later date are subject to the requirement for the DA304 and P1.160 documents.

  • Goods imported by tourists and residents returning after a holiday (407.01)
  • Residents returning an absence of less than 6 months must prove that the goods taken on departure are the same goods that they are arriving with
  • Excludes firearms
  • Once per person in a 30-day period but no less than after an absence of less than 48 hours
  • Dutiable / Restricted Items
  • Perfume and tobacco products
  • New items, including new furniture, are subject to duties and taxes
  • Alcohol is dutiable and taxable
  • Firearms require an Import Permit, Form SAP311 in addition to the DA304 and P1.160
  • A SAP312 will be issued by Customs allowing the importer 60 days to officially license the firearm with the South African police
  • Inherited goods may be imported duty-free provided the inheritor is in possession of a certified copy of the Last Will and Testament and a copy of the Death Certificate wherein the specific items are bequeathed
  • An Import Permit is also required
  • Antiques (Import Permit and Antique Dealers Certificate is required)

Prohibited Items

  • Drugs and narcotics
  • Pornographic or objectionable materials
  • Plants, seeds, bulbs, raw cotton
  • Uncooked meat/poultry
  • Honey, beeswax, bees and their larvae or eggs, used beehive appliances
  • Uncut diamonds
  • Unwrought gold
  • Ammunition

DHL Express is a proud Partner of the NSBC.