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South Africa Customs Information

Customs Information

Please take a moment to review the important customs information before shipping to South Africa.

Personal Effects Customs Clearance South Africa

Documents required for duty free clearance

Passport

  • The consignee will need to upload a colour copy of their passport details page to their Send My Bag account to assist with clearance.

Flight Ticket

  • The consignee will need to upload their flight ticket(s) confirming their travel to South Africa from the country they are shipping from.  Flight tickets must be dated within 6 months of the shipment's arrival in South Africa.

Entry Stamp

  • The consignee will need to provide a copy of their entry stamp showing their arrival in South Africa.  This must be dated within 6 months of the shipment's arrival in South Africa.

Exit Stamp and South African ID (South African residents only)

  • South African residents will also need to upload a copy of their South African ID Card and a copy of their exit stamp showing their original outbound journey from South Africa.

Personal Effects Form

  • The consignee will need to complete a short South African Customs Form and then upload images of the completed and signed form to their Send My Bag Account.

General Personal Effects Customs Information

Personal effects are typically defined as used items which have been in the sender's possession for 6 months or more. If your shipment is checked by  customs and is found to contain brand new or commercial items, you shipment may not be assessed as personal effects. Keep this in mind if you are sending Christmas gifts or other new items. Please check with customs so you are aware of potential customs duties, follow any advice given and attach all necessary documentation.

In order to demonstrate that your shipment consists of personal effects, you will be required to complete a brief non-generic packing list online, entries to be made in the format: "5 x Cotton Dresses, 2 x Jeans, 3 x Pair of Gloves", and so on, rather than as "10 x Used Clothing".

As customs processes and allowances vary by country, we advise all customers take 5 minutes to check how their personal circumstances and what they are sending will be assessed under the prevailing customs regulations of the destination.

More information is available on our customs information page.

Customs Clearance Time

When a bag is stopped by customs for any reason (missing documentation, impromptu inspection, prohibited contents, commercial contents or further information required) Send My Bag records how long customs hold it for. Our historical statistics for this route indicate that if the customs authority stops your bag they will on average take 6 working days to process it and release it back to us for delivery.

Shipping Gifts to South Africa

South Africa allows nationals a maximum of 2 ‘gift’ shipments per calendar year, provided the value does not exceed R1400.

A gift is classified as any item sent from a natural person abroad, to another natural person living in the Republic of South Africa (shipments cannot be sent from or to a business address) and is unsolicited. These include, but are not limited to, Birthdays, Weddings & Anniversaries etc.

South Africa does not allow a consignment containing multiple gifts for different people to have the duty relief split across different people. Therefore, if the declared value exceeds R1400 any applicable duty/tax will be applied to the entire shipment.

Any used or second hand items imported as gifts will require the consignee to apply directly to South African customs for an Import Permit which will result in delays clearing your shipment.  Send My Bag are unable to assist with this process. For further information please contact South African customs directly.

Personal Effects Customs Clearance South Africa

Documents required for duty free clearance

Passport

  • The consignee will need to upload a colour copy of their passport details page to their Send My Bag account to assist with clearance.

Flight Ticket

  • The consignee will need to upload their flight ticket(s) confirming their travel to South Africa from the country they are shipping from.  Flight tickets must be dated within 6 months of the shipment's arrival in South Africa.

Entry Stamp

  • The consignee will need to provide a copy of their entry stamp showing their arrival in South Africa.  This must be dated within 6 months of the shipment's arrival in South Africa.

Exit Stamp and South African ID (South African residents only)

  • South African residents will also need to upload a copy of their South African ID Card and a copy of their exit stamp showing their original outbound journey from South Africa.

Personal Effects Form

  • The consignee will need to complete a short South African Customs Form and then upload images of the completed and signed form to their Send My Bag Account.

General Personal Effects Customs Information

Personal effects are typically defined as used items which have been in the sender's possession for 6 months or more. If your shipment is checked by  customs and is found to contain brand new or commercial items, you shipment may not be assessed as personal effects. Keep this in mind if you are sending Christmas gifts or other new items. Please check with customs so you are aware of potential customs duties, follow any advice given and attach all necessary documentation.

In order to demonstrate that your shipment consists of personal effects, you will be required to complete a brief non-generic packing list online, entries to be made in the format: "5 x Cotton Dresses, 2 x Jeans, 3 x Pair of Gloves", and so on, rather than as "10 x Used Clothing".

As customs processes and allowances vary by country, we advise all customers take 5 minutes to check how their personal circumstances and what they are sending will be assessed under the prevailing customs regulations of the destination.

More information is available on our customs information page.

Customs Clearance Time

When a bag is stopped by customs for any reason (missing documentation, impromptu inspection, prohibited contents, commercial contents or further information required) Send My Bag records how long customs hold it for. Our historical statistics for this route indicate that if the customs authority stops your bag they will on average take 6 working days to process it and release it back to us for delivery.

Shipping Gifts to South Africa

South Africa allows nationals a maximum of 2 ‘gift’ shipments per calendar year, provided the value does not exceed R1400.

A gift is classified as any item sent from a natural person abroad, to another natural person living in the Republic of South Africa (shipments cannot be sent from or to a business address) and is unsolicited. These include, but are not limited to, Birthdays, Weddings & Anniversaries etc.

South Africa does not allow a consignment containing multiple gifts for different people to have the duty relief split across different people. Therefore, if the declared value exceeds R1400 any applicable duty/tax will be applied to the entire shipment.

Any used or second hand items imported as gifts will require the consignee to apply directly to South African customs for an Import Permit which will result in delays clearing your shipment.  Send My Bag are unable to assist with this process. For further information please contact South African customs directly.

Prohibited items

Prohibited Items

With Send My Bag™ you can travel with almost everything you would normally find in luggage, for security and customs reasons however certain items are prohibited, please find these listed below.

A maximum of 1 lithium battery is permitted per shipment (excludes to / from Australia) when it is contained within a working personal electronic device such as a mobile phone. Review our battery policy.

  • Aerosols or any other pressurised containers;
  • Liquids, Pastes and Gels of any type (including nail varnish and perfume);
  • Toner Cartridges;
  • Loose Batteries & Power Banks;
  • No more than ONE device containing a lithium battery in line with our battery policy OR when shipping to / from Australia or China, NO device containing any kind of battery;
  • Tracking devices such as AirTags;
  • Animals and Animal products;
  • Firearms and firearm parts, ammunition, explosives, weapons (including imitations and toys of same);
  • Flowers and plant products;
  • Human remains or ashes;
  • Medical samples;
  • Items that require a temperature controlled environment;
  • Pornography;
  • Prescription drugs and pharmaceutical products;
  • Tobacco and vaping products regardless of nicotine content;
  • Religious Artefacts
  • Foodstuffs, perishable, animal origin and controlled food articles and beverages including, but not limited to: Fruit & vegetables, dairy products (including dried products containing dairy such as milk chocolate and protein powder), meat, fish, nuts, seeds, wine, beer, spirits and champagne; or
  • Packages that are wet, leaking or emit an odour of any kind;
  • Valuables and high value items including but not limited to antiques, paintings, jewellery, precious stones and electrical equipment (low value electrical equipment is permitted but sent at the owner's risk);
  • Cash or other forms of tradeable currency;
  • Credit cards;
  • Passports or other confidential personal documentation;
  • Irreplaceable items;
  • Other Dangerous / hazardous goods;
  • Counterfeit goods;
  • Items from sanctioned countries;
  • Other illegal or restricted goods.

More information is available under section 11 of our terms of service.

Items excluded from cover

The following items will be accepted but are sent at your risk and are not included under complimentary cover:

  • Electrical Items, including but not limited to; Tablets, Mobile Phones, Computers, Hi-Fis, TVs.
  • Glass & Porcelain.
  • Any other non standard excess baggage items.

If you choose to send any of the above please ensure you package the item appropriately, for example a TV inside a suitcase is not appropriate.

A maximum of 1 lithium battery is permitted per shipment (excludes to / from Australia) when it is contained within a working personal electronic device such as a mobile phone. Review our battery policy.

  • Aerosols or any other pressurised containers;
  • Liquids, Pastes and Gels of any type (including nail varnish and perfume);
  • Toner Cartridges;
  • Loose Batteries & Power Banks;
  • No more than ONE device containing a lithium battery in line with our battery policy OR when shipping to / from Australia or China, NO device containing any kind of battery;
  • Tracking devices such as AirTags;
  • Animals and Animal products;
  • Firearms and firearm parts, ammunition, explosives, weapons (including imitations and toys of same);
  • Flowers and plant products;
  • Human remains or ashes;
  • Medical samples;
  • Items that require a temperature controlled environment;
  • Pornography;
  • Prescription drugs and pharmaceutical products;
  • Tobacco and vaping products regardless of nicotine content;
  • Religious Artefacts
  • Foodstuffs, perishable, animal origin and controlled food articles and beverages including, but not limited to: Fruit & vegetables, dairy products (including dried products containing dairy such as milk chocolate and protein powder), meat, fish, nuts, seeds, wine, beer, spirits and champagne; or
  • Packages that are wet, leaking or emit an odour of any kind;
  • Valuables and high value items including but not limited to antiques, paintings, jewellery, precious stones and electrical equipment (low value electrical equipment is permitted but sent at the owner's risk);
  • Cash or other forms of tradeable currency;
  • Credit cards;
  • Passports or other confidential personal documentation;
  • Irreplaceable items;
  • Other Dangerous / hazardous goods;
  • Counterfeit goods;
  • Items from sanctioned countries;
  • Other illegal or restricted goods.

More information is available under section 11 of our terms of service.

Items excluded from cover

The following items will be accepted but are sent at your risk and are not included under complimentary cover:

  • Electrical Items, including but not limited to; Tablets, Mobile Phones, Computers, Hi-Fis, TVs.
  • Glass & Porcelain.
  • Any other non standard excess baggage items.

If you choose to send any of the above please ensure you package the item appropriately, for example a TV inside a suitcase is not appropriate.

Prohibited items

Prohibited Items

With Send My Bag™ you can travel with almost everything you would normally find in luggage, for security and customs reasons however certain items are prohibited, please find these listed below.

On EU standard services (not express) and all UK and US domestic services you may send:

  • Shower gel.
  • Toothpaste.
  • Other non flammable and non alcohol based liquids, pastes & gels for use on holiday.

Nail varnish, perfume and aerosols are not permitted. If these items are included in your luggage it may be returned to you.

Whilst non alcohol based liquids are permitted, damage caused by leakage is not covered by complimentary cover and therefore only small amounts should be sent. If an x-ray shows liquids of any type security may stop your bag for inspection.

A maximum of 1 lithium battery is permitted per shipment (excludes to / from Australia) when it is contained within a working personal electronic device such as a mobile phone. Review our battery policy. The following items are prohibited at all times:

  • Aerosols or any other pressurised containers;
  • Alcohol based or Flammable Liquids, Pastes and Gels of any type including, but not limited to, nail varnish and perfume;
  • Toner Cartridges;
  • Loose Batteries & Power Banks;
  • No more than ONE device containing a lithium battery in line with our battery policy OR when shipping to / from Australia or China, NO device containing any kind of battery;
  • Tracking devices such as AirTags;
  • Animals and Animal products;
  • Firearms and firearm parts, ammunition, explosives, weapons (including imitations of same);
  • Flowers and plant products;
  • Human remains or ashes;
  • Medical samples;
  • Items that require a temperature controlled environment;
  • Pornography;
  • Prescription drugs and pharmaceutical products;
  • Tobacco and vaping products regardless of nicotine content;
  • Religious Artefacts
  • Foodstuffs, perishable, animal origin and controlled food articles and beverages including, but not limited to: Fruit & vegetables, dairy products (including dried products containing dairy such as milk chocolate and protein powder), meat, fish, nuts, seeds, wine, beer, spirits and champagne; or
  • Packages that are wet, leaking or emit an odour of any kind;
  • Valuables and high value items including but not limited to antiques, paintings, jewellery, precious stones and electrical equipment (low value electrical equipment is permitted but sent at the owner's risk);
  • Cash or other forms of tradeable currency;
  • Credit cards;
  • Passports or other confidential personal documentation;
  • Irreplaceable items;
  • Other Dangerous / hazardous goods;
  • Counterfeit goods;
  • Items from sanctioned countries;
  • Other illegal or restricted goods.

More information is available under section 11 of our terms of service.

Items Excluded From Cover

The following items will be accepted but are sent at your risk and are not included under complimentary cover:

  • Electrical Items, including but not limited to; Tablets, Mobile Phones, Computers, Hi-Fis, TVs.
  • Glass & Porcelain.
  • Any other non standard excess baggage items.

If you choose to send any of the above please ensure you package the item appropriately, for example a TV inside a suitcase is not appropriate.

On EU standard services (not express) and all UK and US domestic services you may send:

  • Shower gel.
  • Toothpaste.
  • Other non flammable and non alcohol based liquids, pastes & gels for use on holiday.

Nail varnish, perfume and aerosols are not permitted. If these items are included in your luggage it may be returned to you.

Whilst non alcohol based liquids are permitted, damage caused by leakage is not covered by complimentary cover and therefore only small amounts should be sent. If an x-ray shows liquids of any type security may stop your bag for inspection.

A maximum of 1 lithium battery is permitted per shipment (excludes to / from Australia) when it is contained within a working personal electronic device such as a mobile phone. Review our battery policy. The following items are prohibited at all times:

  • Aerosols or any other pressurised containers;
  • Alcohol based or Flammable Liquids, Pastes and Gels of any type including, but not limited to, nail varnish and perfume;
  • Toner Cartridges;
  • Loose Batteries & Power Banks;
  • No more than ONE device containing a lithium battery in line with our battery policy OR when shipping to / from Australia or China, NO device containing any kind of battery;
  • Tracking devices such as AirTags;
  • Animals and Animal products;
  • Firearms and firearm parts, ammunition, explosives, weapons (including imitations of same);
  • Flowers and plant products;
  • Human remains or ashes;
  • Medical samples;
  • Items that require a temperature controlled environment;
  • Pornography;
  • Prescription drugs and pharmaceutical products;
  • Tobacco and vaping products regardless of nicotine content;
  • Religious Artefacts
  • Foodstuffs, perishable, animal origin and controlled food articles and beverages including, but not limited to: Fruit & vegetables, dairy products (including dried products containing dairy such as milk chocolate and protein powder), meat, fish, nuts, seeds, wine, beer, spirits and champagne; or
  • Packages that are wet, leaking or emit an odour of any kind;
  • Valuables and high value items including but not limited to antiques, paintings, jewellery, precious stones and electrical equipment (low value electrical equipment is permitted but sent at the owner's risk);
  • Cash or other forms of tradeable currency;
  • Credit cards;
  • Passports or other confidential personal documentation;
  • Irreplaceable items;
  • Other Dangerous / hazardous goods;
  • Counterfeit goods;
  • Items from sanctioned countries;
  • Other illegal or restricted goods.

More information is available under section 11 of our terms of service.

Items Excluded From Cover

The following items will be accepted but are sent at your risk and are not included under complimentary cover:

  • Electrical Items, including but not limited to; Tablets, Mobile Phones, Computers, Hi-Fis, TVs.
  • Glass & Porcelain.
  • Any other non standard excess baggage items.

If you choose to send any of the above please ensure you package the item appropriately, for example a TV inside a suitcase is not appropriate.

Why Ship to South Africa?

Why Ship to South Africa?

Whether you’re staying in one of South Africa’s buzzing cosmopolitan cities, such as Johannesburg or Cape Town, taking a break on the coast, going on safari, or packing all of the above into one trip, you will have plenty of things that you need to take with you. Your suitcases will likely be packed to breaking point with clothes and sports equipment, and that’s not even to mention all the souvenirs you’ll want to bring home. Send My Bag offers a simple and reliable service to get your bags from point A to point B quickly, at an affordable price. Airlines are charging huge excess baggage fees nowadays if your bag is only a kilo or two overweight, and these charges are putting people off going where they want to go for as long as they want to. But we can get your bags from your home to your destination, even if it’s in the middle of a safari game reserve on the Garden Route, or just in Cape Town, for a smaller price and at your convenience.

Perhaps you are going to South Africa to study – in which case Send My Bag can be an enormous help, by shipping everything you need to your student accommodation to allow you to get stuck into your studies with all your home comforts around you. 

Send Luggage to South Africa

Send Luggage to South Africa

You can send your luggage to South Africa, in suitcases or boxes. You can do this with Send My Bag – a luggage courier service that picks up your items from your home or workplace and delivers them to your destination in South Africa on a speedy, affordable service. This takes the stress and physical effort out of travelling, as you won’t have to drag your luggage behind you. To read more about sending luggage to South Africa, take a look at our ‘How it works’ page, or our ‘FAQs’.

Removals to South Africa

Removals to South Africa

International removals to South Africa is probably something you have considered if you are relocating to South Africa permanently. If you decide to use a removal company, make sure you have researched them well before you hand over your precious possessions and always use suitable packaging for your items, and tape everything up well.

Student Shipping to South Africa

Student Shipping to South Africa

South Africa boasts many world-class universities, such as the University of Cape Town, the University of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch University. If you are an international student moving to South Africa to study or do research, Send My Bag could be a lifesaver, as it allows you to bring lots of home comforts, study materials and daily essentials with you to South Africa, so that you can turn your student room into a home from home. Send My Bag can ship your possessions for you and take the hassle out of your move. Read more about student shipping on our student removals page and find out how to receive your student discount.

Sending a Parcel to South Africa

Sending a Parcel to South Africa

Send My Bag can ship parcels to South Africa for you and for your friends or family members, allowing them to send you things while you are abroad, such as an item you may have left behind at home. It couldn’t be easier to send a parcel to South Africa with Send My Bag. Choose a sturdy box, pack up your items safely and tape the box up well so nothing gets damaged in transit. Find out more about sending a parcel and learn what you can send with Send My Bag and how to package your items.

Ways of Shipping to South Africa

Ways of Shipping to South Africa

Whether a city break, a safari holiday or your studies are bringing you to South Africa, or if you are moving there to live, you will need to bring a good number of your possessions with you. And you will no doubt need some help getting your items there. There are several different options for international shipping to South Africa. 

Send Golf Clubs to South Africa

Send Golf Clubs to South Africa

South Africa has plenty of golf clubs to choose from; hundreds in fact. But experts rate the following courses as some of the best in South Africa: Fancourt, Durban, Gary Player and Leopard Creek. If you would like to try out one of these excellent courses, or any others in South Africa, you can use your very own golf clubs if you send them to South Africa with Send My Bag. We will pick them up from your home or office and deliver them to your accommodation in South Africa, then pick them up again when you are heading home. See further information on how to send golf clubs with Send My Bag, including how best to package your golf clubs.

Send your Bike to South Africa

Send your Bike to South Africa

South Africa’s diverse terrain means there is plenty for the keen cyclist to enjoy. You can pedal through vineyards, along coastline, and through mountain passes. Don’t worry about having to rent a bike, though, as you can just send your own bike to South Africa with Send My Bag. As long as your bike is packaged securely, Send My Bag can send it to wherever you are staying in South Africa, and send it back home again when your holiday is over. Sending your bike to South Africa is a better option than checking it into the hold of your plane. You will avoid oversized baggage fees and won't have to carry the bike to and from the airport. Your bike will need to be taken apart and properly packaged before being sent to South Africa. Check out our information on bike shipping to learn more.

About South Africa

About South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is located on the very southern tip of the African continent. It has a long coastline of well over 3000 km and is surrounded on its northern borders by Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Mozambique and Swaziland border the country on the east and the country of Lesotho is enclosed within its borders. South Africa is a hugely diverse region with a multi-ethnic culture.

South Africa has a total of eleven official languages, of which two are European in origin: English, which is used in public and commercial life but only the fourth most spoken first language, and Afrikaans, which originates from Dutch. This is in addition to nine Bantu languages from ethnic groups of black African ancestry. The currency used is the South African Rand. The climate in South Africa is generally subtropical and the region is famed for its long hours of sun and dry days with little rainfall. The interior of the country is on a high plateau, which keeps it cooler than other areas on the same latitude, with summer temperatures staying generally below 30°C (86°F).

South Africa is a destination to suit all tastes, with active adventure breaks, city breaks and beach holidays to be enjoyed. You simply can’t visit the country without taking a safari and attempting to spot the “Big Five”: lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros. The Garden Route is the most popular place for safari and is home to several reserves, such as Kariega Game Reserve, where you can stay in a fabulous lodge and go out early in the morning and later in the evening to spot game but spend your days relaxing around the resort. Cape Town is a hugely popular destination for its modern lifestyle but traditional outlook. It is packed with markets and boutiques, but also offers paragliding off the Lion’s Head and abseiling from Table Mountain. South Africa is brimming with exciting activities for everyone to participate in, from river cruising and kayaking with crocodiles and hippos in St Lucia, to micro lighting and canopy tours in Durban, and even ostrich riding.

Please explore this page further to find out about Send My Bag’s shipping service to South Africa.

Other Ways of Shipping to South Africa

Other Ways of Shipping to South Africa

As well as sending parcels, baggage and luggage to South Africa you could look into the following alternatives for shipping items internationally, especially if you need to send large, bulky items like furniture.

Air Freight to South Africa

You may have considered using air freight to send some big items to South Africa. This is quite a fast service, requiring only one to two days to fly your items to their destination. This comes at a cost, however, with the service potentially being rather expensive. In addition to the cost of the service itself, you will probably also have to pay a customs agent to handle customs clearance for you. An additional expense to consider is getting your items to and from the airport. If you send internationally by air freight to South Africa your items will likely arrive at one of the international airports, such as Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban.

Sea Freight and Container Shipping to South Africa

Sea freight or container shipping is another option for getting your possessions to South Africa. Unlike air freight, sea freight requires several weeks to get your items to the port closest to your destination. It is normally less expensive than air freight but you will still need to pay for the services of a customs agent and will need to arrange how to get your items to and from the ports. If you choose container shipping to South Africa, your items will most likely arrive by ship at the Port of Durban, the Port of Cape Town or Port Elizabeth.

Shipping Goods to South Africa

When shipping goods to South Africa, you absolutely must research current customs rules so that you know about any duty and taxes that you need to pay and what items are allowed to be shipped to South Africa, which items are restricted, and which are entirely prohibited.  Take a look at the prohibited items and customs sections on this page for more information.