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Vehicle import restrictions South Africa

The importation of motor vehicles and motor cycles into South Africa is subject to very severe regulations, thus it is essential to secure an import permit from the Department of Trade and Industry and a letter of authority from the South African Bureau of Standards before shipping. Each family is limited to one motor vehicle, which must have been registered in the shipper’s name for at least a year prior to shipment to South Africa.

Our Guide for Car Importing into South Africa:

You can use this information to better understand the documentation needs that may arise before and after shipping your vehicle, as well as the customs regulations. Discover helpful details on import permits, duty and tax, vehicle registration, and more.
You must adhere to a number of stringent rules in order to export an automobile from the UK or any other country to South Africa. Here is a list of the paperwork needed to bring any vehicles into South Africa as well as the steps involved in obtaining these import papers.

What paperwork/documents do I require?

-> A copy of your passport’s photo page
-> A copy of the V5 car registration paperwork
-> A copy of the letter of authority
-> A copy of the import permit

Authority letter

The following categories of cars must be imported with a letter of authorization:

  • Vehicles used for transporting people (passenger vehicle) such as cars, 4x4s, motorcycles, and buses
  • Goods vehicles, such as trucks and vans
  • Trailers
  • Vehicles with specialized uses, such as mobile cranes and agricultural vehicles

You must submit a LA01 form to the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) in order to request a Letter of Authority. When requesting a letter of authority, applicants must pay a non-refundable fee to the NRCS. Depending on the type of car and its age, this cost may change. Application fees for motorbikes and passenger cars that were made and registered outside of South Africa range from ZAR300 to ZAR1800. On the LA01 form, which is linked above, are additional instructions on how to pay this fee.

LA01 Form Submission

According to their alphabetical order, the NRCS employees listed below should receive LA01 submissions. The authorized NRCS contact is identified by the initial letter of either the applicant’s last name or the name of the corporation (as appropriate).

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

Any of the following addresses, if appropriate, may accept hand delivery, postal mail, and/or courier applications:

  • Registered mail should be sent to the following address:

    National Regulator for Compulsory Specification Private Bag X25 Brooklyn 0075 is the postal address for overnight delivery by Postnet and Registered Mail.

  • National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS)

    Dr. Lategan Road Groenkloof Pretoria 0181 is the street address for personal or courier services.

Permit to Import/Import permit

If your vehicle is pre-owned or used, in addition to a letter of authority, you will also need an import permit. On request to the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) using application form IE462, import permits are offered.

Although the completion of form IE462 is always required, the rules and the supporting paperwork depend on the status of the person importing and owning the vehicle:
The following paperwork, along with a completed copy of form IE462, must be sent to ITAC by immigrants requesting an import permit:

  • Certified copy of permanent residency in South Africa
  • Duplicate foreign passport
  • A copy of the V5 car registration document

The following paperwork must be submitted to ITAC with the completed IE462 form by returning South African residents who want to import a vehicle:

  • A duplicate of an ID or passport
  • An employer’s letter confirming long-term employment that includes the duration of the employment
  • A certified copy of the title for the vehicle’s registration

This is a rough rundown of the prerequisites and supporting documents that will be required; further proof may also be needed. On the ITAC website, you may find further data, contact information, and application forms. The following links are helpful:

Norms regarding the importing of secondhand or second-hand cars:

Contact info for ITAC

Both returning South African citizens and foreign nationals need to be citizens of South Africa permanently in order to submit an application for an import permit.

Although it is against ITCA policy for them to mail import permits to addresses outside of South Africa, in the event that you are not physically present in South Africa when you apply for your import permit, we can give you the contact information for our dependable agents in South Africa to whom your import permit can be sent. Their response will be to happily send your import permit to you at your UK address through registered courier. Import licenses are typically granted after a successful application within four to five days.

While there is no cost associated with applying for an import permit with ITAC, there will be a courier fee of about ZAR450 to send your permit to the UK address you specify if you choose to list our South African agents as the address for ITAC to send your permit to.

What is the time frame?

Once all necessary documents have been received, the process could take up to five days to finish.

Entering South Africa

You will receive a copy of the Bill of Lading for the transportation of your vehicle once depart. Due to the fact that a bill of lading serves as proof of an export from the UK, they are only produced after the ship carrying your car has left the country. It will also be re-confirmed the expected arrival time for your automobile in South Africa and the phone number for the receiving agent at the port in addition to a copy of the shipping papers.

Before the ship is scheduled to arrive, one of the agents will get in touch with you in South Africa to start making plans with you for completing local arrival and customs clearance/import formalities.

Duty and Tax

You must pay customs duty at the South African Revenue Service (SARS), although ITAC does not charge a service fee. The Customs and Excise Act’s schedules specify the proportion of the items’ worth that must be used to compute the customs duty.

Residents of South Africa who are moving back or immigrants who are changing their country of residence permanently are allowed to import one vehicle duty- and VAT-free. South African customs will ask you to fill out form DA304A when you arrive to declare your intent to get a duty and VAT exemption.

You must meet the following requirements in order to import your personal motor vehicle into South Africa duty- and VAT-free:

  • Possess the vehicle for a minimum of 12 months as the registered owner.
  • Change South Africa to be your permanent residence.
  • After importation, you have at least two years to not sell, rent, trade, or otherwise dispose of the vehicle.

The rate of duty that must be paid is determined based on the worth of the vehicle for those people or things that do not qualify for an exemption.

  • A rate of up to 36% may be used for automobiles that are under 20 years old.
  • With a 20% rate applied to automobiles that are 20 years or older.
  • In addition, depending on the age and value of the vehicle, an ad valorem duty rate (based on a sliding scale) may be levied at a rate of 0.75 to 20 percent of the vehicle.
  • The standard rate of VAT, if applicable, is 15%.
  • According to the South African VAT Act, the value on which VAT is computed is equal to the value of the products plus any applicable customs duties plus an additional 10% of that value.


You will be provided with a Customs Release Notification form once your car has been released from customs and all applicable duties and taxes have been paid to the South African Revenue Service. Your car must be registered at a vehicle licensing office and pass a road worthiness test (akin to a MOT) in order to be registered for usage on South African roads.
If you want to register your automobile in South Africa, you must fill out the Customs Release Notification form and the Application for Motor Vehicle License form ALV (both of which are accessible here) and take them to a vehicle licensing office.

A registered testing facility will conduct a roadworthiness test and provide you with a roadworthy certificate for about ZAR200. Assuming that all necessary repairs have been made and that a new test can be conducted on your vehicle within 14 days, you will typically be entitled to one free retest if your car fails.

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