How To Get Started Importing Goods Into South Africa

Map of South Africa, with provinces, neighbouring countries and oceans labelled in English. Author: Htonl. Source: Wikipedia.

Many business owners across the world want to import goods into South Africa. Unfortunately, many of these business owners are discouraged by South Africa’s complex import process, rules and regulations. For this reason, new-to-market importers like yourself refrain from bringing goods into South Africa. In turn, you miss out on profitable business opportunities. If you want to take advantage of the business possibilities South Africa offers, read this post and learn how to import into South Africa.

Review Prohibited Items

In order to import into South Africa, you need to review prohibited items. The South African government forbids certain items from being shipped to their country. At the same time, they rely on importers to ensure that the goods coming in meet their standards. Popular items to avoid shipping include expensive jewelry, gold and metals. These items along with precious stones all need to be worth less than $2,000 USD. If your items fall under this category of products but do not exceed the $2,000 price limit, you can import them into South Africa. Review all of the prohibited items and limits to successfully import into South Africa.

Register As An Importer

Next, business owners looking to ship items into South Africa are required to register as importers. This needs to be done with the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Once you finish registering, you need to obtain an import permit. To do so, fill out an application from the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC). By registering as an importer and getting this required permit, you agree to comply with the safety, quality, environmental and health requirements set by South Africa. Without registering, you will not be able to ship items into South Africa. Thus, this step is crucial for importing into the country.

Develop A Commercial Invoice

Another necessary step to take entails developing a commercial invoice. Businesses are required to send commercial invoices so that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in South Africa can see what is being importing into their country. Your invoice should consist of a thorough description of what you are shipping. Write out what the products are, how many you are shipping and the financial value of them. This serves as a commercial invoice that is attached to the shipment, declaring the contents of the import. You will need to complete this step to import into South Africa without an issue.

Purchase Shipping Containers

Businesses looking to ship items into South Africa need to purchase shipping containers as well. To pick the best containers for your products, first determine how big you need them to be in order to fit your items. Some for the largest options include a 20 foot or 40 foot shipping container for sale. With enough room to store the goods, consider forms of travel. Typically, business owners who need to deliver packages quickly opt for air importing. However, all types of cargo and sizes of containers cannot be shipped via airplane. They must be shipped via ocean, which can take significantly longer. For this reason, you need to keep your needs and schedule in mind when choosing a shipping container. Then, you can send items to Africa efficiently.

Obtain A Certificate Of Origin

Finally, get a certificate of origin to import into South Africa. When the country receives shipments, they want to have validation of where they came from. Certificates of origin offer this validation. A shipment’s origin affects the customs tariff payable. The reason for this is that South Africa has different agreements with each country. Because of this, many business owners importing products into South Africa look into their country of origin’s agreements with the country to gain insight into the terms. Therefore, this document plays a major role in any shipment process into South Africa.

Many business owners want to send products into South Africa. Contrary to popular belief, the process is not too difficult to complete. Begin by reviewing the items South Africa prohibits so you can avoid sending restricted items into the country. Develop a commercial invoice that includes product descriptions, the quantity of products and the financial value of your products. Register as an importer with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and obtain an import permit from the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC). You also need to purchase shipping containers that meet your needs. Lastly, obtain a certificate of origin to provide the country with validation for where your packages came from. Complete these steps to import into South Africa.