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Moving to South Africa

Afrique du Sud / Sudáfrica / África do Sul / Südafrika / Sydafrika

Want to move to Cape Town? Considering moving to Johannesburg? Or thinking about an international removal to Durban. Here’s the moving advice you’ll need for any international removal to South Africa…


Moving Household Goods And Personal Effects To South Africa

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning an international removal to South Africa:

  • Original Passport (Of the individual moving/importing the goods) (including page with entry stamp)
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB) - We will take care of this if completing the entire international removal to South Africa for you.
  • Detailed moving inventory - We will complete this if you want us to undertake a full packing service for your removal
  • Permanent residence documents / temporary residence permit / work permit
  • Affidavit
  • Diplomatic clearance (applicable only to diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)
  • Certificate from Embassy signed by South African Department of Foreign Affairs (applicable only to diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)
  • Customs form DA 302 and P.1.160

We recommend providing these as soon as possible to reduce delays with your removal to South Africa. Late receipt of documentation can lead to missed shipments, additional charges and penalties at South African Customs. For your own protection, we will almost never ship your goods without the above in place.

Additional Removal Advice

  • The owner of the goods must be present for Customs clearance.
  • The owner of the goods must possess required documents and forward a copy to agent prior to import.
  • The shipment of household items, new furniture, and precious metal objects are treated as a commercial import and subject to the payment of full duties.
  • The following household goods may be imported duty free if meeting the following requirements:
    • Works of art forming a part of a bona fide household shipment or are over 100 years old.
    • The articles have been in the use and possession for more than 12 months and are not for sale or other disposal.
  • Returning residents must have been abroad for a period of at least 6 consecutive months.
  • Diplomats may import items duty free.
  • Affidavit must state the reason for arrival in to South Africa.

Antiques, Artefacts, Carpets, Paintings

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning an international removal to South Africa:

  • Copy of death certificate
  • Copy of will of deceased or certified relevant extract, or copy of Probate from the court if the deceased died intestate; English translation required.
  • Moving inventory with lawyer's declaration that the imported goods are the legatee's rightful share of the estate
  • South Africa Bureau of Standards Letter of Authority in Pretoria
  • Declaration from the Legatee confirming permanent residency in South Africa and the right to share of the estate
  • Import permit

Additional Removal Advice

  • An moving inventory is required only if the copy of the deceased's will or other document does not specifically detail the goods to be imported.
  • Items of inheritance may be imported duty free if the legatee is permanently residing in South Africa.
  • Duty is payable on inherited motor cars, motorcycles, and mopeds.
  • Goods should not be shipped until Customs has authorized duty-free entry.

Note: Failure to comply with requirements may result in the destruction of goods by Customs or return of the entire consignment to the port of origin at the owner of the goods' expense.

Wedding Trousseau / Gifts

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning an international removal to South Africa:

  • Import permit (if requested by Customs - applies to second-hand goods)
  • Invoice

Additional Removal Advice

  • Items are subject to the payment of duties.

Helpful Downloads

Click on the links below to download useful documents:

  • My Move Checklist

    To help you keep on track with your international removal.

  • Removal Inventory / Packing List

    For use if you need to provide a removal packing list or moving inventory yourself for your international removal service.

  • Removal Survey Cubic Calculator

    For use if you need to find out the volume of your move before making an enquiry. Remember when doing an international move, to allow a little more space for loading volume.

  • Removal Survey Information Form

    For use for you to better describe the requirements of your move. This outlines all the things that a professional international removal company would need to know to physically move your goods.

  • International Removal Insurance Form

    If you're taking out insurance with us, download this form, complete it and email it back to your international relocation manager.

Popular Destinations in South Africa

Pearson is vastly experience in international removals to cities all over the globe. Their long history and detailed knowledge of different countries makes them the perfect choice for your move. Here are some of the most popular destinations we are asked to move people to in South Africa:

Johannesburg (Guateng), Cape Town (western Cape), Durban (KwaZulu Natal), Germiston (Guateng), Pretoria (Guateng), Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape), East London (Eastern Cape), Bloemfontein (Free State)


Need Help?

If you are unsure about what you need, one of our international move managers is always willing to help. Just call us on +44 (0)1827 873 773, or fill out an international removal enquiry, and we’ll ease you through the process.


Moving Your Money

If you’re moving to South Africa, it’s very likely you’ll have to exchange a large amount of currency. Many people waste thousands doing this through their bank as they think there is no alternative; but we partner with FC Exchange who specialise in doing just this. FC Exchange will offer all Pearson customers preferential rates when exchanging currency and guarantee to beat other rates you’re receiving. Ask one of our move managers about this, or click here to find out more...


Get Insurance

We always advise taking out an insurance policy with us on every move. Although we like to think we’re the best in the industry, the odd accident can occasionally happen. For added peace of mind, make sure to speak to one of our move managers about this.

If you have already contracted us for your international removal to South Africa, then you can download the insurance form and email the completed form back to your international relocation manager.


Moving Your Car or Motorcycle

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning to move your vehicle to South Africa:

  • Customs form DA 304/A (only needed for automobiles / motorcycles)
  • Vehicle registration (only needed for automobiles / motorcycles)
  • Original bill of lading / air waybill (only needed for automobiles / motorcycles)
  • Import permit
  • Letter of authority (LOA) issued by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in Pretoria (must be submitted at the time of clearance)
  • Document showing that vehicle has been in the owner of the goods' use and possessions abroad for more than 1 year before the importation of the vehicle (e.g., original purchase invoice, insurance certificate, etc.).

Additional Import Advice

  • No left-hand drive motor vehicles can be imported if registered on or after January 1, 2000.
  • The transferee must be in possession of the import permit and letter of authority prior to the arrival of any motor vehicles, motorbikes, motor scooters, or motorcycles (anything motorized); delays related to the permit may result in demurrage charges.
  • The owner of the goods must be in the country at least 10 business days prior to arrival of an ocean vessel.
  • A faxed copy of the letter of authority and the import permit must be received by the agent to avoid a delay of Customs clearance.
  • Motorized vehicles should not be shipped until transferee has proven possession of all required documents to Customs and has received written permission for import.
  • Temporary residents must pay in cash.
  • Vehicles cannot be sold for at least 2 years after the date of importation.
  • The rate of value added tax (VAT) is assessed on the import value of the vehicle.
  • A fee of R1800.00 per vehicle, payable to the South Africa Bureau of Standards is required.
  • Incomplete or missing documents may result in the detainment or destruction of the shipment.
  • Returning residents must pay full duties and taxes.
  • Temporary residents must provide a Customs bond to cover full duties / taxes.
    • Temporary residents do not need an import permit.
    • A refund may be possible at the time of export; contact agent for details.
  • Foreign diplomats pay no duties or taxes, subject to provisions of the diplomatic clearance certificate, and proof of value.

Relocating Your Pets

These documents will be required when planning to relocate your pet to South Africa:

  • Rabies vaccination certificate
  • Import permit
  • Veterinary health certificate

Additional Import Advice

  • An import permit may be granted after the owner of the goods has made arrangements for the period of quarantine required for pets travelling from most, but not all countries; check with agent.
  • Call agent for restrictions on the import of live animals.

Restricted & Dutiable/Taxable Items

Think very carefully before moving these items to South Africa. Items on this list will be taxed and/or require specific permission to import. In all cases they must be declared prior to you relocating to South Africa:

  • Local currency of over $10,000; gold coins, coin and stamp collections and unprocessed gold must be declared.
  • Endangered species of plants or wildlife, alive or dead, including parts and articles made from them (require CITES Permit)
  • Animal and animal byproducts
  • Medicines for personal use (note from physician and prescription required)
  • Cigarettes (200), cigars (20), tobacco (250g)
  • Perfume (50 ml)
  • Eau de toilette (250ml)
  • Goods for personal use
  • Wine / liquor / alcohol
  • Import permit and liquor removal certificate required.
  • Items subject to payment of duties.
  • Documentation requirements must be met prior to the arrival of the shipment.
  • Dangerous goods / firearms
  • Import permit and South African Police Firearm Registrar Certificate SAP 312 are required.
  • Items are subject to the payment of duties.

Note: Travelers may be asked to pay deposit on expensive items like laptops, which is refunded at re-exported. Returning residents are advised to register personal items (jewelry, watches, cameras, laptops, etc.) before leaving the country to avoid paying duty on these items upon re-importation.


Prohibited/Banned Items

Do not move any of these items to South Africa:

  • Narcotics
  • Plants and vegetable products
  • Walkie-talkies and radios (may include other prohibited communication devices)
  • Animal products (certain feathers, furs, skins, tusks, or animals identified under protected specifies regulations)
  • Pornographic books and magazines
  • Illegal drugs

Disclaimer: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This information is provided as a guide only. While Pearson has exercised reasonable care in publishing this information, Pearson makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.

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