Importing cars to South Africa
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FREIGHT ADVISER

Importing cars to South Africa

Returning resident to South AfricaSavannah Freight Services' Guide To Importing A vehicle Into South Africa


·         You can only import a second-hand vehicle into South Africa if you have been granted a permit to do so.
·         The importation of used vehicles is restricted to protect the local motor vehicle manufacturing industry.
·         Permits are only issued under specifically defined circumstances.
·         Mainly returning South African nationals and immigrants who have permanent residence are permitted to bring vehicles registered in their names into the country.
·         Other cars that may be imported include racing cars, vintage passenger vehicles, specially designed vehicles and inherited vehicles.
What is to be done?
·         Before you import a used vehicle, goods vehicle or trailer you must first obtain a letter of authority from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) .
If you are a South African citizen, submit the following documents:
·         identity  document or passport
·         letter from employer confirming permanent employment abroad and reflecting period of employment (salary advices, payslips, job offers, job contracts, tax returns, work permits, etc. are not considered proof of employment)
·         a certified copy of the official foreign vehicle registration certificate
·         If you are a bona fide immigrant, submit the following documents:
·         a copy of your South African permanent residence certificate
·         a copy of your foreign passport (page with photo and details)
·         a copy of your foreign motor vehicle registration certificate
·         proof of study or research to be concluded where applicable.
It may take up to five days to complete the process once all required documents are received.
The  prevailing  import  control  policy  with  regard  to  the  different  categories  of goods is as follows:
(a) Used or second-hand motor vehicles for personal use.
Permits for the importation of used or second-hand passenger motor vehicles are issued in the following circumstances:
·         To immigrants for the importation of private passenger motor vehicles and LDV’S. Application form IE462 must be completed and applications can only be considered when permanent residence status has been issued by the Department of Home Affairs.
·         Attach a copy of the motor vehicle registration certificate, a copy of the applicant’s foreign passport and a copy of the permanent residence certificate to the duly completed application form for consideration.
·         Imported vehicles may not be disposed of within a period of 24 months from the date of importation. (In the event of permanent residence not being available, SARS, Customs and Excise must be approached for temporary clearance.)
(b) To returning South African residents and nationals
·         The returning resident or national may import his/her used or second-hand passenger vehicle or LDV for a maximum of three vehicles per person in possession of a valid driver’s license, if he/she returns permanently to the RSA after a minimum uninterrupted period of absence of no less than six months working, studying or conducting research abroad.
·         It is also required that the vehicle be registered in the name of the returning resident/national for the minimum uninterrupted corresponding period of six months (working etc.) referred to above, prior to the return.
·         Application form IE462 must be completed. Attach a copy of the foreign motor vehicle registration certificate in the name of the applicant, a copy of applicant’s South African identity document or passport (page with barcode and details) and proof of permanent employment abroad (this must be a typed, signed and dated letter on the company letterhead confirming that the applicant (full name) has been permanently employed and confirming the start and termination dates of employment. (Please note that salary advices, pay slips, job offers, job contracts, tax returns, work permits, etc are not considered as sufficient proof of employment.)
·         The imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years from the date of importation.
(c) To physically disabled 
·         South African citizens/nationals to import a specially designed motor vehicle which will suit the disabled person’s personal requirements.
·         Application form IE463 must be completed and proof in the form of a certificate, issued by a medical practitioner that the applicant is in fact disabled is required. A copy of the applicant’s South African passport or ID (page with barcode and details) and a copy of the relevant rebate permit must also be attached.
·         Full details of the vehicle must be submitted and the imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years from the date of importation.
(d) Inheritance
·         Permits are issued to South African citizens/nationals for the importation of inherited passenger motor vehicles and LDV’S. Form IE463 must be completed.  
·         The heir must submit a copy of his/her South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details), a copy of the will, a copy of the deceased’s ID or passport, a copy of the motor vehicle registration certificate in the name of the deceased and a copy of the death certificate.
·         The imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years from the date of importation.
(e) Vintage and Collector`s vehicles. 
·         To South African citizens/nationals for the importation of vintage passenger vehicles and vehicles that are regarded as collectors’ items. Vintage vehicles can be described as vehicles of 40 years old or older.
·         Application form IE463 must be completed.
·         Full details of the vintage vehicle must be provided and a copy of the applicant’s South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details) must be attached to the application form.
·         Vehicles regarded as collector’s items are not so easy to define.
·         All requests for the importation of such vehicles are, inter alia, discussed with the industry and the South African Veteran and Vintage Association, which organisation complies with international criteria.
·         Vehicles regarded as collector’s items must be considered collector’s items internationally.
·         Application form IE463 must be completed, full details of the vehicle must be submitted and the applicant must also attach a copy of his/her South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details).
·         An affidavit confirming where (which country) the vehicle will be imported from must also be provided.
·         The imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years from the date of importation.
(f) Racing cars
·         South African citizens/nationals for the importation of racing cars: Racing cars may be imported by a racing driver.
·         The proposed importer must submit a copy of his/her international, national or regional Motorsport South Africa (MSA) competition racing car driver’s license and a written confirmation that a copy of the import permits notification may be forwarded to MSA.
·         A copy of his South African identification document or passport (page with barcode and details) must also accompany the application.
·         An affidavit confirming where (which country) the vehicle will be imported from must also be provided.
·         Racing vehicles to be imported are those to be used for circuit or track racing events only.
·         Imported racing vehicles may not be registered locally and may not be used on SA national roads. The imported racing vehicle may not be disposed of for a period of two years from the date of importation.
Note:
·         No import permits are issued for the importation of used or second-hand motor vehicles for commercial/resale purposes or any other purpose falling outside of the specifically defined circumstances referred to herein above.
·         Please also note that used or second-hand vehicles may not be sent to South Africa from abroad by returning residents prior to their permanent return to South Africa.
·         All applications are considered on their own merits and ITAC may request that additional documentation/information be provided to supplement applications.
·         Please also note that no import permits will be granted for vehicles sourced in bonded warehouses.
(g) Specially designed vehicles
·         Permits are issued for the importation of specially designed vehicles, for instance mobile cranes and similar vehicles if the particular type of vehicle or a similar/substitute vehicle is not available locally.
·         Technical specifications of the specially designed vehicle may be required for consideration of the application.
·         Duly completed application forms IE230 (for first time importers) and form IE461 must be submitted for companies intending to import specially designed vehicles. (Note that a SARS VAT registration certificate is required on completion of form IE230.)
(h) Used or second-hand buses, trucks, taxis and coaches
·         Taxis, trucks, buses and coaches are available from local manufacturers. Import duties are not a suitable method of supporting local manufacturers and guarding against the disruptive importation of the above-mentioned used or second-hand vehicles, as well as supporting safety considerations.
·         Stringent import control measures are, therefore, maintained and no permits are issued for the importation of used or second-hand vehicles other than for vehicles mentioned in (a) and (b) above. The existing policies are reviewed from time to time.
·         New vehicles (passenger vehicles), trucks, taxis, buses and coaches are not subject to import control measures. The applicable duties are however payable.
(i) Used engines and gearboxes
·         Import permits for the importation of used petrol engines for passenger vehicles and LDVs of an engine capacity not exceeding 3 000 cc, used diesel engines for passenger vehicles and LDV’S of an engine capacity not exceeding 3 500 cc and gearboxes for passenger vehicles and LDV’S, are issued to a value of 50% of an importer’s previous years allocation as an initial issue for the current year.
·         Duly completed application forms IE230 (for first time importers) and form IE461 must be submitted for companies intending to import the above-mentioned engines and gearboxes. (Note that a SARS VAT registration certificate is required on completion of form IE230.)
·         New entrants or first time importers of used engines and gearboxes are issued a maximum amount of R500 000.00, in total, for proposed engine and gearbox imports, for a six month period, covering January to June and then July to December of a calendar year.
·         A 15% increase is normally allowed after each full calendar year of importing.
(j) Used differentials
·         Import permits for the importation of used differentials for passenger vehicles and LDVs are issued to bona-fide re-conditioners only. All imported differentials must be reconditioned prior to resale or use, by the importer on his own premises and with his own reconditioning equipment.
·         Duly completed application forms IE230 (for first time importers) and form IE461 must be submitted for companies intending to import the above-mentioned differentials. (Note that a SARS VAT registration certificate is required on completion of form IE230.)
(k) Used or second-hand spares for passenger vehicles and LDVs
·         Import permits for the importation of used or second hand motor vehicle mechanical and body parts (excluding engines, gearboxes and differentials referred to above) are issued to private individuals only for repair of privately owned, accident damaged vehicles on condition that such parts are not available from local sources and on receipt of documentary proof which includes the owner’s identity document, motor vehicle registration certificate, South African Police Service’s accident report and insurance report.
·         Application form IE463 must be completed for all spares and parts required for the repair of the vehicle, and must be submitted together with a copy of the applicant’s South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details), and the required documentation as indicated above.
(l) Used or second-hand spares for heavy duty commercial trucks
·         Import permits for the importation of used or second-hand heavy duty commercial truck spares and parts are issued on condition that similar or suitable substitute spares or parts are not available from local sources or suppliers.
·         The importation of used or second-hand commercial truck/bus chassis is not allowed.
·         Import permits for the importation of used parts such as diesel engines, gearboxes and differentials for commercial trucks are issued for the importation of that particular spare or part only, and may not include any other mechanical or body parts/components which are not integral parts of the spare or part mentioned in the permit.
·         Duly completed application forms IE230 (for first time importers) and form IE461 must be submitted for companies intending to import the above-mentioned used or second-hand commercial truck spares or parts. (Note that a SARS VAT registration certificate is required on completion of form IE230.)
(m) General information
·         Persons/firms that wish to or intend importing a used or second-hand vehicle and/or used or second-hand spares and parts described in sections (a) through (g) are strongly advised, before placing an order or buying/shipping a vehicle or vehicle spares/parts to South Africa, to first apply for and obtain an import permit.
·         In cases where the applicant clearly qualifies in terms of the above guidelines, and the correct documentation is submitted, permits are issued within an average of four to five working days. In other cases where the merits of the specific application have to be evaluated, it takes longer, depending on the nature of the particular case.
·         Import permit application forms are available from the Director: Import and Export Control, Private Bag X 192, Pretoria, 0001.
·         Application forms are also available and can be downloaded from the International Trade Administration Commission website on www.itac.org.za (knowledge management centre> documents> application forms> import).
·         Further information can be obtained from the above address or by phoning Mr Marius Collins or Ms Rene van Vuuren.
NOTE: All imported vehicles are subject to the issuing of a Letter of Authority by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), www.nrcs.org.za or telephone number (012) 428-5000.

Legislation changed from 27 May 2009 with regard to left hand drive vehicles stating that such vehicles which were not registered in the Republic before 23 July 2004 may not be registered, licensed, roadworthied and operated on a public road in South Africa.

Savannah Freight Services Disclaimer:
Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While Savannah Freight Services has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, Savannah Freight Services makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.

Updated 1 August 2013   Copyright © 2011 Savannah Freight Services
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30 Comments to Importing cars to South Africa:

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Tahoe for sale on 22 October 2011 06:10
Thanks, useful information. Is the value of the vehicle based on the market value in the UK or the market value in South Africa? With the second hand car market in the UK being very weak or weaker than South Africa, this value differs considerably, even if one converts the UK market value in rands.
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Godfrey on 23 October 2011 20:35
Thanks very much for your post. The value of the car is based on what the South African Customs determines. When you submit your original copy of the purchase receipt, the Customs Assessor will consider the information in line with the South African government's car price index. There are not able to determine the price solely based on your receipt. The best solution will be for you to contact us at Savannah Freight Services-UK prior to purchasing the car. We have experience and contacts to assist you in determining the possible price to be used. Our information is usually not far from what you will be charged at the port of entry. Please give us a call on 442070960264 if you need any more information.


thabang moikangoe on 22 October 2011 12:21
Hi, I am currently in south africa and would like to know if is it possible to buy a car in the uk over the internet and ship it to south africa without owning it 6 months. I'm a south african citizen
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Godfrey on 23 October 2011 20:49
Thank you Thabang. Please refer to point number 7 on this article. The point states that: 'Regardless of your circumstances you need to have owned the car for a minimum of 6 months to obtain an import permit if you are a South African citizen. It will take between 10 – 20 working days to obtain the permits' This rule applies to people who want to import the car into South Africa using the rebate rule. If you want to import a car while you are in South Africa and you are willing to pay the duty, you are not subject to this regulation. You will need to process the importation of the car after you obtain a valid import permit and letter of Authority. This can be done for you by our South African desk; dedicated team at Savannah Freight Services-UK. Please contact us on 442070960264. or email your request to: info@savannahfreight.com
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Yumna Haffajee on 28 August 2012 08:59
Hello Godfrey Please clarify. I have quoted what you said above. My understanding is if i am willing to pay the 65% tax i can import the car is this correct? Are you saying that point number 7 only applies to people who want to use the rebate rule? Please advise. Thanks Thank you Thabang. Please refer to point number 7 on this article. The point states that: 'Regardless of your circumstances you need to have owned the car for a minimum of 6 months to obtain an import permit if you are a South African citizen. It will take between 10 – 20 working days to obtain the permits' This rule applies to people who want to import the car into South Africa using the rebate rule. If you want to import a car while you are in South Africa and you are willing to pay the duty, you are not subject to this regulation. You will need to process the importation of the car after you obtain a valid import permit and letter of Authority.


Used cars on 25 November 2011 12:34
Nice post..Thanks for sharing this post...
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graeme houghton on 03 January 2012 13:21
im looking at moving back home to south africa i have an eu passport i am south african. i have a range rover that would like to take back with me can u please help
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Godfrey Mushandu on 03 July 2012 23:12
If you meet the criteria stated in this article then you qualify for importing a car into South Africa.


martin mutara on 12 January 2012 01:07
I am buying a 2003 mercedes benz e240 for 4000 euro here in ireland, would like to ship it to south africa around september october and would like to find out all the clearing costs that will be involved. Kind regards Martin Mutara 353 871 457 567
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diana on 24 January 2012 16:56
My sister wants to buy and send me a car from UK. Is it possible and how much duty will I pay
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Anwar Kalam on 13 February 2012 14:27
I am operating a small funeral business and want to buy a used Hearse in the UK over the internet and ship it to Cape Town South Africa. I want to know what I'm in for regarding Customs Duties and clearing costs etc. Kind Regards Anwar Kalam
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Godfrey Mushandu on 03 July 2012 23:16
Anwar Kalam; Thanks for your question. Before you import your funeral Hearse; you need to know whether you will be allowed to bring it into South Africa.A letter of Authority and import permits are needed prior to even buying the car. Thanks


online writing jobs on 03 March 2012 14:34
I wonder, are there any countries that refuse to import cars to South Africa? Do you have any information on this?
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cameron on 29 May 2012 07:46
Hi there, please could someone advise me on importing a car from Zimbabwe as we have been given this car as a gift and would like to bring it over the border. It is a 1981 golf that is only worth about R15 000. The only thing is it is in UK plates and not in zim plates. My wife is originally Zimbabwean and has been a south African citizen for about 10 years. please let me know the process of bringing it to South Africa and licencing it here. Approx costs etc would help. Thanks
Reply to comment
 
Godfrey Mushandu on 03 July 2012 23:25
Thanks Cameron, this is a frequently asked question. Let me attempt to reply it again, for the benefit of everyone: (1) Before getting into expenses, you first need to see if you qualify to import a car into south Africa as started here:>>>>>> Having dual citizenship does not mean you automatically qualify for duty free importation to South Africa, it means you can apply for it. You will need to prove to customs that you are returning to South Africa. permanently i.e. closure of bank accounts, sale of a house, resignation letters or Inland Revenue confirmation.<<<<< When you see that you qualify then, you can start the process of looking for how to ship it. Thanks


Mlu on 08 July 2012 07:28
This info is so helping, I am currently SUDAN, but i want to buy and ship a car from UK to SA. 2007 Golf 5 and it cost 7.989 British pounds. Can you get back to me with details on where to start Applying to permits and so on?.
Reply to comment
 
Godfrey Mushandu on 09 July 2012 01:59
Thank you for contacting us Mlu. Before you consider to spend your £7000 on a car, please make sure you qualify to import a car into South Africa according to the conditions stated in this article.If you do not fit in any of those categories of people allowed to import cars, the chances are that you will not get the import permit and letter of Authority. If you are unsure, please send us your phone number by email-(NOT ON THE BLOG) so that one of our Advisers will contact and discuss with you. Thanks Godfrey


Godfrey Mushandu on 09 July 2012 01:55
Thank you for contacting us Mlu. Before you consider to spend your £7000 on a car, please make sure you qualify to import a car into South Africa according to the conditions stated in this article.If you do not fit in any of those categories of people allowed to import cars, the chances are that you will not get the import permit and letter of Authority. If you are unsure, please send us your phone number by email-(NOT ON THE BLOG) so that one of our Advisers will contact and discuss with you. Thanks Godfrey
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Paul on 12 July 2012 11:59
Hi, I'm from South Africa and I want to import a Ford Mustang from the USA. The price in Dollars is $42,000. I would just like to know what it would cost to import it. Or can I maybe let Ford SA import it for me?
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evelyn nthoiwa on 25 July 2012 16:57
I m in Botswana ( a motswana) i want to know if it is possible to buy a car in uk and ship it to Botswana please give me the whole process and garages to contact if possible
Reply to comment
 
Godfrey Mushandu (Savannah Freight Services) on 31 July 2012 11:41
It is possible to buy cars from UK to Botswana. The process we use at Savannah Freight may be different from other companies or individuals. Our process is outline here on our website:http://www.savannahfreight.com/Vehicle----Mining-Spares.html. Other people prefer to have their friends and trusted relatives who leave in UK to buy cars for them.They then contact a shipping company to ship the car to their destination. Others prefer to buy directly from Dealers or individuals then appoint a shipping company. At Savannah Freight Services we always recommend that you take the best option that suits you. You can buy cars from www.autotrader.co.uk; www.gumtree.co.uk; www.ebay and other independent dealers. We just advise you that you or someone else must see the car before buying it. What you seen on the picture may not necessarily reflect the actual condition of the car.


damjee on 13 August 2012 09:56
Hi I want to start buying cars from the uk .I'm based in south africa nd want to sell them to african countries can u help me thankx
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ebrahiim on 28 August 2012 20:33
i want to buy a 4x4 from a uk dealer... what route should i follow? i am only a SA citizen
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Bianca on 04 September 2012 12:28
Hi thank you for such an informative site! I would like to know which option you would recommend for me. I want to buy a car in the UK. I am a Zimbabwean but I stay in South Africa. Is it easier for me to ship the car via Walvis Bay or South Africa. And also which sites would you recommend I can browse through which sell cars?
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Ruthy on 04 September 2012 23:44
Hi. Just a word of warning about importing cars! I'm Irish and I imported my 3 year old car from UK to SA last August when i emigrated to Cape Town. Was charged R55,000 on duty by SARS, and will only get it back when I get my permanent residency. Car was worth about £10,000 in UK. Worth about R180,000 in SA. Currently have temporary permit which I have to keep renewing. Bit of a pain, but it's ok. You just have to remember to do it. Home Affairs inform me that I must be married for five years before I can get permanent residency, so I have to wait four years from now approx. to get my money back. Unless i have a baby, and then that sorts that one out! But at 46...ummmm! My immigration lawyer told me that there is no way around this. This also means that I can't sell it until I get my perm res. (Luckily I don't want to). I also can't license it or insure it here. In retrospect, I'm glad I brought it here, but there is a lot of paperwork and you need a really good clearing agent in SA. Also, when my car got to CT I was on honeymoon and they charged me money for every day they had to hold it in storage. So, clear it as soon as you can. I ended up paying about R3000. These are silly little things no one tells you about or you don't think about..... I am now wondering.......! My husband is an SA citizen and would like to buy and import a car for his business here. Can he do it since I have already done it? Or are we only allowed to import one car per family? I have an EU and British passport. He has an SA passport. Thanks, Ruthy.
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Zacharias Esterhuizen on 20 September 2012 02:39
Goodday, Please advice me what I need I have got a Jaguar XK8 model 1999 left hand drive inQatar and I want to import it to South Africa is it allowed for left hand drive and what will be the costs for doing it.
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Faye on 20 September 2012 13:47
I brought in a Ferrari from UK September 2011. I need to sell it because I need the money. I won't make any profit on car. What are the consequences given I haven't owned it for 2 years?
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cheslyn on 26 September 2012 12:01
hi im a south africa citizen.i want to buy a car in england for about £4275 .i do not have a permit i would just like to know what are the procedures and cost in total incl. Shipping and VAT...thanx so much
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collen reddy on 01 October 2012 14:51
please can you advsie as i never travelled abroad but want to buy a car from the uk . i am purely south african
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khan on 06 October 2012 16:15
l want to import a trucks from dubai to south africa and want to a transport business there, so can u help me to send me all the paper requirmen how old truks ; can import in south africa? can l port a left handed truck? l will be thanfull to u if u send me the full detail of that.
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