Get in Touch

Need to tell us more?
Ask us a question or
get a free quote here.
Or simply give us a call:

South Africa Customs Guide

Our Guide to Importing Your Car Into South Africa

Before you go

What Documents Do I Need?

  • A copy of the photo page of your Passport
  • A copy of the vehicles licence document (the V5)
  • A copy of the Import Permit

Letter of Authority

A Letter of Authority is required to import the following types of vehicles:

  • Passenger vehicles – Including: cars, 4x4s, motorcycles and busses
  • Goods Vehicles – Including vans and trucks
  • Trailers
  • Specialist vehicles – Such as agricultural vehicles, mobile cranes etc…

To obtain a Letter of Authority you will need to apply to the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) using an LA01 form

A non-refundable fee is payable to NRCS when applying for a letter of authority. This fee can vary dependent on both vehicle type and age. For passenger vehicles and motorcycles manufactured and registered outside of South Africa the application fee will be between ZAR300 - ZAR1800. Further instructions on how to pay this fee can be found on the LA01 form linked above.

Submitting Your LA01 Form

LA01 submissions should be sent to the following NRCS personnel according to the alphabetic allocation. The first letter of the applicant's surname or company name (whichever is applicable) denotes the designated NRCS contact person.

  1. Rosina: A , B , C , G , H , N , X , Y & Z
  2. Charlotte: D , E , F , M , O , P , Q ,T & U
  3. Vuyo: I, J , K , L , R , S, V & W

Hand delivered, postal and/or courier applications may be delivered to any of the following addresses as applicable:

Postal Address for Registered Mail & Postnet overnight delivery:
National Regulator for Compulsory Specification
Private Bag X25

Street address for personal or courier service:
National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS)
1 Dr lategan Road
Groenkloof Pretoria

Import Permit

In addition to a Letter of Authority you will also need an Import Permit for your vehicle if it is second hand or used. Import permits are available on application to the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) using application form IE462.

While completion of form IE462 is required in all instances, regulations and supporting documentation required varies depending on the status of the person who owns and is importing the vehicle:

Immigrants applying for an import permit must present the following documentation to ITAC along with a completed form IE462:

  • Copy South African permanent residency certificate
  • Copy foreign passport
  • A copy of the vehicle licence document (V5)

Returning South African residents wishing to import a vehicle must provide the following documentation along with their completed IE462 form to ITAC:

  • Copy identity document or passport
  • An employers letter confirming permanent employment reflective of the period of employment
  • A certified copy of the official vehicle registration document

This is a basic list of requirements and documentation that will be needed, however, additional supporting documentation may also be requested. Further information, contact details and application forms can be found on the ITAC website. Here are some useful links:

To successfully apply for an import permit, both returning South African residents and immigrants are required to have permanent residency in South Africa.

While it is against ITCA policy for them to post import permits to an address outside of South Africa, in the event that you are not physically in South Africa at time of applying for your import permit we can provide you with contact address details for our trusted agents in South Africa to whom your import permit can be posted. They will in turn be happy to forward your import permit by registered courier to you at your UK address. On successful application, import permits are normally issued within approximately four to five days.

Arriving in South Africa

Following departure from the UK we will provide you with a copy of the Bill of Lading covering shipment of your vehicle. Bills of lading are only issued after the ship carrying your vehicle has departed from the UK as this document is representative of evidence of export from the country. In addition to a copy of shipping documentation, we will also re-confirm anticipated arrival details for your car in South Africa and contact details for our receiving agent at the port.

Duty and Tax

Returning South African residents or immigrants changing their place of permanent residence to South Africa may import one motor vehicle free of Duty and are also granted exemption from VAT. On arrival, South African customs will require you to make a declaration to apply for exemption from Duty and VAT using form DA304A.

To be eligible to import your personal motor vehicle into South Africa under exemption from duty and VAT you must:

  • Be the registered owner of the vehicle for a period of no less than 12 months.
  • Be changing your permanent residency to South Africa.
  • On importation you must not sell, hire, exchange or otherwise dispose of the vehicle for a period of at least 2 years.

For vehicles or persons that do not qualify for exemption, the rate of duty payable is calculated based on the value of the vehicle.

  • For vehicles up to 20 years old may be applied at a rate of up to 36%
  • With vehicles in excess of 20 years old being subject to a rate of 20%.
  • An ad valorem duty rate may also be applied (based on a sliding scale) at a rate of between 0.75% and 20% of the vehicle dependent on the age and value of the vehicle.
  • VAT, if payable, is charged at a standard rate of 15%.
  • The South African VAT act sets the value on which VAT is calculated as being the value of goods plus customs duty levied plus a further 10% of that value.


Once your vehicle has been cleared through customs and any duty and tax levied have been paid to the South African Revenue Service you will be issued with a Customs Release Notification form. For your car to be registered for use on South African roads it must be registered at a vehicle licensing office and must pass a road worthiness test (similar to an MOT).

To register your vehicle you will be required to complete the application for motor vehicle licence form ALV (available here) and present it to a vehicle licencing office together with the Customs Release Notification form to register your car in South Africa.

A registered testing centre will complete a road worthiness test and issue you with a road worthy certificate for around ZAR200. If your vehicle does fail you will typically be entitled to one free re-test provided that any work needed is completed and your vehicle can be re-tested within 14 days. Further details on road worthiness certificates are available on the South Africa Government Services website here.

Essential links:

General car import guidelines from South African Customs
Download or Print our South Africa Car Shipping Guide Here.
NRCS Application for Letter of Authority Form LA01
ITAC Application for Import of Second Hand Passenger Vehicle Form IE462
ITAC Contact details
SARS Motor Vehicle Declaration Form DA304A

Back to top

Get a FREE car shipping quote!