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Car Shipping To South Africa

Rules and Regulations For car Shipping To south Africa
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Importation of a motor vehicle by natural persons on change of permanent residence to South Africa


1. In terms of item 407.04 of Schedule number 4 to the Customs and Excise Act Immigrants;
and South African residents who originally emigrated from the Republic of South Africa obtained permanent residents status abroad, and thereafter return,
Being natural persons, may after obtaining permanent residence in South Africa/return to South Africa permanently, import ONE MOTOR VEHICLE PER FAMILY under full rebate of customs duties for his/her own personal use, provided that the vehicle so imported was the personal property of the importer, and was owned and used by him/her for a period of not less than 12 months prior to the Importer's departure for South Africa.

South African Residents, please note that unless you comply with all three elements, i.e.

01. you originally emigrated from South Africa;
02. you obtained permanent residents' status abroad; and
03. you again return to South Africa permanently,
you do not qualify for the rebate of duty.

*** Note:
a) Should the vehicle have been owned and used for a period of less than twelve months prior to departure, the amount of duty rebated will be reduced pro-rata, according to the number of days less than 12 months.

b) If the vehicle is second-hand, an application for an import permit must be made, prior to shipment of the vehicle to South Africa, to:

The Director: Import and Export Control
Att Rene van Vuuren

Private Bag X192
Tel.: +27(0)12 394 3610
Fax : +27(0)12 394 0157
More info:

c) All vehicles being imported into South Africa require an original Letter of Authority, which must be obtained prior to importation thereof, for which application can be made with:

The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS)

PO Box: NRCS Private Bag X25, Brooklyn 0075

Tel : +27(0)12 428 6534 OR +27(0)12 428 6891

Fax: +27(0)12 428 5199

More info:

Your attention is drawn to the fact that the importation of left-hand drive vehicles is generally prohibited if registered in the name of an importer on or after 1 January 2000.


2. Please note that the following persons do not qualify for the rebate South African citizens travelling abroad;
South African citizens taking up temporary residence in a foreign country, irrespective of the period involved, i.e. for study, work permit, contract work, etc.; and Foreign nationals taking up temporary residence in the Republic.
3. For any period that a vehicle may be registered in a company's name during the twelve months period prior to shipment, the rebate will be reduced on a pro-rata basis.


4. In support of the clearance of the vehicle in South Africa, the following documentation must be produced to your clearing agent/Customs Immigrants must produce their permanent residence permit issued by the Department
of Home Affairs (or a copy thereof); Returning South Africans must produce proof of emigration from South Africa, proof of permanent residence obtained abroad as well as evidence that such permanent residence has been withdrawn. If this permit has any limitations or restriction reflected thereon, it is not considered to be a permanent residence permit even if it states that it is.

There are returning South African residents who had residency in more than one country before they left the RSA. They are allowed to travel freely between these countries without having to obtain permits and visas. Emigration from the RSA can therefore not be proven with a permanent residence permit from the foreign country. In these instances proof must be produced that immovable property has been sold (letter from lawyer), that bank accounts have been closed (correspondence with bank), that policies were cancelled (letter from the insurance company), that the Receiver of Revenue was advised of the emigration (correspondence with SARS) etc. This must be proven in both the RSA and the foreign country. A duly completed form DA 304 A ( or available on the website of the South African Revenue Services at – all forms – customs)

Purchase documents;
Registration certificate/permit;

Documentary evidence of the date on which delivery of the vehicle was taken;
Documentary evidence of the date on which the vehicle was handed to the shipper
for shipment to South Africa
An import permit (used vehicles) ; and
An original Letter of Authority (all vehicles)


5. A vehicle shall not be deemed to be personally owned and used by an importer unless such importer was at all reasonable times personally present at the place where the vehicle was used. The period of use is deemed to be from the date on which the vehicle was registered in the name of the importer (whichever is the later), until the date on which the vehicle was delivered by the importer to the shipper or other agent for the purpose of shipment or dispatch to South Africa.

6. Vehicles imported under the provisions of item 407.04 may not be offered, advertised, lent, hired, leased, pledged, given away, exchanged, sold or otherwise disposed of within a period of 20 months from the date of it being cleared for Customs purposes in South Africa. Prior permission must be obtained, should an importer wish to dispose of the vehicle within the 20 month period after the date of clearance.

7. For the purposes of item 407.04, during the initial period of 20 months after the date of clearance in South Africa, an importer shall, if he or she is absent for a continuous period of longer than 3 months from the place where the vehicle is usually used in South Africa, be deemed not to have imported the vehicle for his/her own or personal use, and the duty determined by the Commissioner for the South African Revenue Service shall be payable as from the date of such

8. For the purpose of the concession in terms of rebate item 407.04, a motor cycle is considered to be a motor vehicle and includes a quad bike, motor cars, station wagons or similar dual purpose vehicles, campers and goods vehicles, may be imported for own use under rebate item 407.04. One of the vehicles mentioned above, and only one may qualify for the rebate of duty.


9. Due to the fact that the provisions of the rebate item and the rate of VAT may be subject to change and also to avoid any misunderstanding regarding the provisions of the rebate item, you are advised to confirm the above information prior to deciding to ship a vehicle to South Africa. Enquiries in this regard should be addressed to:

South African Revenue Service
Customs Commercial Services
Private Bag X923

Tel: +27 (0)12 422 45 68 OR +27 (0)12 422 67 90
Fax: +27 (0)12 422 69 78



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