Temporary Importation of Firearms

Steps involved when temporarily importing a rifle into South Africa for hunting purposes.

A hunting rifle.

Complete the temporary firearm import permit application (SAP520) in advance (if possible) and bring it with you. It is important to note that the form must be completed in black ink and must remain unsigned until the document is finalized in front of the police official issuing the actual permit at the airport.

If you do not wish to travel with your own firearms, you are welcome to make use of one of the rifles of the professional hunter accompanying you. They have a selection of appropriate calibers available. There is no cost involved other than the replacement cost of ammunition.

You will need

  • Valid passport
  • Return airline ticket
  • Letter of invitation from your hunting outfitter(s)
  • Completed SAP 520 Form (Not signed - must be signed in front of the official)
  • Proof of ownership (CBP Form 4457- Certificate of Registration for personal effects taken abroad)
  • Proof of export from country of origin (CBP Form 4457- Certificate of Registration for personal effects take abroad)
  • Letter of motivation (A letter written by yourself to motivate why you wish to import rifles)

Important information

The following firearms and ammunition will not be allowed to enter South Africa:

  • Any automatic or semi-automatic firearms
  • More than one firearm per calibre per person
  • More than 200 rounds of ammunition per person per firearm
  • Any pistol or revolver (unless specified for hunting)

Reasons why your application may not be approved

  • If you have any of the above-mentioned firearms and/or ammunition
  • If any of the supporting documents as required cannot be produced
  • If you are less than 21 years of age

Your application for a temporary import permit will be refused and your firearms and ammunition will be confiscated and will only be handed back to you when you depart back to your country of residence.

Please take note that only the Central Firearm Registrar in Pretoria, South Africa can authorize special applications for the above restrictions. These applications have to be made in advance and must reach them no later than 3 (three) weeks before your arrival. You will need a special motivation letter for this. Please contact the PHASA office for more information and assistance.

On arrival at OR Tambo International in Johannesburg

  1. Disembark from aircraft and clear passport control in whichever terminal the flight arrives. (Generally SAA and its co-partners at Terminal 2, and all other airlines at Terminal 1)

  2. Proceed to baggage claim at the respective carousel. Pick up general baggage. Your firearms will be delivered directly to the SAPS firearms office.

  3. For visitors with firearms arriving at Terminal 2:
    Proceed to the SAPS Firearms Office. Look for office signs. Location of the SAPS Firearms Office in Terminal 2 - in front of the Post Office.
    For visitors with firearms arriving at Terminal 1:
    Proceed to the firearm office that is situated in Terminal 2 in front of the Post Office.

  4. On arrival at the SAPS Firearm Office, collect your issued temporary import permit at the PHASA desk or have the necessary documentation available for inspection.

  5. Your firearms and ammunition will be physically inspected to ensure that the serial numbers match those of the licenses and the application forms. You will then be asked to wait while your application is being processed - if you are not already in possession of an issued temporary importation permit.

  6. When your application has been processed and your permit has been issued, you will have to sign for the permit. If you are connecting to other flights, please make sure that you allow ample time for this process (at least 3 hours).

REMEMBER THE ISSUING OF THE TEMPORARY IMPORT PERMITS AT THE PORT OF ENTRY IS FREE OF CHARGE. DO NOT TIP OR PAY ANY SAPS OFFICER FOR THIS SERVICE. YOU SHOULD KEEP THE PERMIT WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES WHILE IN SOUTH AFRICA AND WHEN THE FIREARMS ARE IN YOUR POSSESSION.

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