Country Customs Information

View Customs Rules


General Import Guidelines
  • The importer must have a valid importer code from Customs Authorities
  • Imported goods must conform to licensed activities of the importer
  • Imported goods must be accompanied with an International Waybill, an Original Commercial Invoice, a Certificate of Origin and a Packing List.
  • HS Codes must be stated clearly on Commercial Invoice. Where the HS Codes are not stated, Customs Authorities shall determine the proper HS Codes based on the goods and the stated description


Import Duties and Fees
  • The customs valuation is based on FOB (Free On Board) which means that the amount used to assess customs duty and VAT is the sum of the cost of goods and inland charges at origin up until on board a flight or vessel
  • Customs tariff applicable on imported goods depend on HS Codes
  • The standard rate of VAT imposed on imported goods into South Africa is 15%
  • Imports shipped under International Express (i.e. courier) with a declared value below ZAR 500, are generally treated as duty free. However, customs may at any stage request a formal customs clearance (SAD500) and in such cases, may attract Duties and VAT charges.
  • Goods with declared value of more than a ZAR 500 will be treated as normal cargo goods, and will require a formal customs clearance

The following are trade agreements with South Africa that can benefit from customs reduction rate. To benefit from customs reduction, Certificate of Origin accompanied with Commercial Invoice are required
  • European Union (EU)
  • Southern African Customs Union (SACU)
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC)


Duties Exemption

A number of goods are exempted from customs duties and VAT. Below are some of the applied exemptions:
  • Goods addressed to government or semi-government agencies
  • Diplomatic goods
  • Personal effects


Imports Required Documents

General Imports

Import Declaration is processed in the event of goods being imported into South Africa. The below documents are required:
  • Bill of entry
  • Original Waybill
  • Original Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List (detailed)


Import Declaration is processed in the event of importing goods into South Africa for purpose of re-exporting. The below documents are needed:
  • Bill of entry
  • Original Waybill
  • Original Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List (detailed)

Temporary Import - Exhibition / Repair and Return

Upon entry of goods into South Africa on temporary basis for the purpose of taking part in an exhibition or repairs / maintenance, a deposit amount equivalent to customs duties has to be made for the benefit of Customs Authorities. The deposit is refunded upon exporting the goods. If the goods are not being exported the deposit is forfeited. The below documents are needed:
  • Bill of entry
  • Original Waybill
  • Original Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List (detailed)
  • Registration of goods for re-importation Form (please refer to section of Useful Customs Forms)

When completing your Commercial Invoice, we recommend that you abide by Aramex guidelines to ensure timely and efficient clearance Read More



When exporting goods from South Africa some documents and regulations will be applied before the exit of goods to the destination. Failure to submit required documents may delay goods when exporting

Exporters need to include the following documents with their goods:
  1. Original Commercial Invoice
  2. Fee: ZAR 250 per shipment presented to customs authorities
  3. For certain goods, a strategic export license is required. Example where these licenses are needed include: military, dual-use, and chemicals
  4. Please contact Aramex South Africa in order to confirm shipments’ details
Other documents that could be required would depend on the specific requirements of the destinations. Aramex maintain a list of needed documents and customs information per country (please select country name on this page )

Important Notes
  • All exported goods might be inspected by Customs Authorities
  • Aramex will not transport goods that are prohibited by the laws or regulations of South Africa


Transiting Goods

Transiting Goods through South Africa can only remain for eight days from the date of arrival into the country

To process Transiting Goods, the following documents are needed:
  • Bill of entry
  • Original Waybill
  • Original Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List (detailed)


Prohibited / Restricted Goods

Aramex will not transport goods that are prohibited by the laws or regulations of South Africa

In accordance to Aramex Shipping Policy, the following items are not acceptable for transport by Aramex:
  • Monetary items including currency, fake money, and coins
  • Publications that are offensive to religions, morals, human rights or aims to cause corruption and disorder
  • Narcotics and drugs including heroin, opium, drugs raw material (powder, liquid), cannabis leaves, etc.
  • Counterfeit goods covering all brands of clothes, machinery, shoes, electronics, watches etc.
  • Fireworks
  • Ivory and ivory products*
  • Furs*
  • Jewelry, precious metals , stones, articles or antiques of exceptional high value*
  • Bullion
  • Chemical waste and nuclear waste
  • Hazardous as defined in IATA Regulations*
  • Ammunitions*
  • Human remains, including ashes*
  • Animals, plants, food items and perishable *
  • Pornographic related material

* Certain goods which are listed above as prohibited may be accepted by Aramex on a contractual basis, if exporters / importers are able to comply with all applicable regulations

Customs Authorities will direct importer to the designated authorities for goods that require approval. Some examples are shown below:

  • Live animals and plants
  • Cosmetics, Medicines
  • Chemicals and chemical products
  • Frozen and fresh meat, food products


Aramex Clearance Service

Aramex offers clearance service covering the following Customs Ports:

  • Port of Durban
  • Port of Cape Town
  • Johannesburg inland port
  • Port Elizabeth

Aramex offers a wide range of customs clearance services (starting with Delivery Order collection up to delivery of goods). In addition, Aramex offers storage in Aramex warehouses when needed.

In key locations, Aramex employees are certified and supported by a customer service team to keep customers updated, and address all inquiries. Please contact our Aramex Customer Service team for an offer



  1. South Africa Customs
  2. Customs Terminologies

Useful Customs Forms
  1. Registration of goods for re-importation Form