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A guide to moving to South Africa: What can I take?

Jul 14. 2015

If you are planning on moving to South Africa, you know this will be a serious undertaking that requires a lot of organisation before you move. One of the main things you will need to consider is exactly what personal effects and household goods you wish to take. International removals to South Africa will be more complicated than a normal move due to the Customs and Excise regulations applied when importing your belonging.

Here at Burke Bros we have years and years of experience moving people and their possessions to South Africa and all around the world. That is why we have compiled this guide on Customs & Excise regulations that apply when shipping to South Africa.

Please note this information was correct at time of publishing but is subject to change at any time, our International Department will be more than happy to guide you through Customs when moving to South Africa.

South African Customs Information
If you are shipping to South Africa and intend on becoming a new resident, you will be entitled to duty free entry for used household and personal items. South African citizens arranging removals from the UK to South Africa need to have been out of the country for a continuous period of at least 6 months to be able to gain duty free entry.

In both instances you will need to already be in South Africa prior to your shipment arriving at port in order to clear your goods through customs and to produce your original passport. It is therefore important to coordinate the dates of your removals to South Africa and your personal travel plans in advance, any international moving company should be able to assist you with delivery schedules, tracking of your consignment etc.

Customs checks may be made on all consignments undergoing shipping to South Africa, and the cost will need to be paid to the local customs authorities.

Prohibited Items
The following items are restricted from being imported into South Africa:
• Skins, feathers, furs and tusks from endangered species are all prohibited
• Walkie-talkie radios
Prior Authorisation Required
The following items may be imported into South Africa as long as they have provided the necessary permits and conditions are met:
• Wines, spirits and beer will require an import permit from the Director of Imports and Exports in Pretoria and this must be in place prior to shipping. Duty and tax will be payable based on the alcohol content and percentage.
• Firearms require a South African Police Firearm Registrar Certificate and import permit to be issued by the local police authority at destination. We would recommend that they are contacted prior to shipping
• First time residents can import vehicles duty free providing it has been used by yourself for at least 12 months prior to arrival in South Africa and is for your own personal use.

Required Documentation
For shipping to South Africa the following personal documentation will be required to clear your goods through customs
• Photocopy of passport – photo page
• Copy of permanent residence form or temporary residence permit and work permit
• Inventory list (this will be completed by our removal crew)
• You will need to complete a South African Customs Form DA304 & P1.160 on arrival (both supplied at destination)

For more information on your international removals to South Africa please contact our international department! Please call 01902 714555.

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