How To Obtain A South African Importer Number

What exactly is an importer?

Anyone (local or foreign) who imports goods into South Africa must register as an importer, including those importing commodities with continuous transmission (CTC).

Any foreign importer (individual or legal entity) who wishes to import goods into South Africa must first register as an importer and appoint a registered agent in South Africa before being registered to import goods into South Africa.

A nominated registered agent’ must accept full liability for the acts of a foreign principal in relation to any Customs business activity. Click here for more information on how imports work. If the applicant is a foreign entity, the following rules apply:

He or she must use a DA 185 D to appoint a registered agent.

Not represented by a registered agent located in South Africa, the application must be suspended until an approved registered agent is nominated by the foreign entity; and

A certified copy of the founding document or any certificate issued in accordance with the laws of the country where the foreign licensee or registered person is incorporated, registered, or recognised certifying such incorporation must be submitted at the time of application.

Foreign entities clearing cargo for international transit through South Africa are exempt from Customs registration.

At the time of registration, no security is required. However, Customs reserves the right to impose security based on the applicant’s risk status.

A Registered Agent designated by a foreign principal must accept full responsibility for the acts of the foreign principal in connection with any Customs business activity.

Registered importers and/or must also register as an EDI users if they intend to submit their own CCD to Customs. An importer or exporter does not need to register as an EDI user if he or she uses a licensed Customs Clearing Agent or Registered Agent.

What is the process for becoming an importer?

If you are a prospective importer, you must complete forms DA185 and DA185.4A1 and submit them to the relevant Customs Offices, where you will be assigned a Customs and Excise client code. The following documents must be submitted with the application:

Proof of address, such as your municipal water and electricity bills.
A certified copy of your identification document
A certified copy of either of the following from the Registrar of Companies:

Company registration; close Corporation registration
Certified copies of the following documents are required:

SARS VAT, IT, PAYE, SDL, and UIF letters to confirm revenue registration details;

Resolution/consent or other appropriate authority;

To confirm contact details, you must have a Telkom and/or cellphone account that is no more than three months old.

To prove your bank details, you must provide one of the following:

A bank certified original bank statement or a legible bank certified copy of an original bank statement; a bank certified auto bank statement; or an original letter from the bank on official bank letterhead.
Account and branch codes:

An original bank letter on letterhead; or an original auto bank statement.

You must be over the age of 18 and have a permanent address in the Republic of South Africa.

If you are applying for a license as a warehouse, clearing agent, or remover of goods, the following rules apply:

Fees for application; and, if a warehouse is involved, a plan of the proposed warehouse.

How to register as a Local Importer

Fill out the necessary application forms and annexure(s):

DA 185 – Application Form – Customs and Excise Client Registration and Licensing – External Form

DA 185.4A1 – Registration Client Type 4A1 – Importer (Republican or non-Republican) – External Form

All forms and supporting documents should be submitted to the nearest Customs and Excise office.

If necessary, pay the security deposit.

How to register a Foreign Importer

Foreign importers/exporters and removers of bonded cargo by road, known as ‘foreign principals,’ must register or license directly with SARS as a ‘foreign principal.’ At the same time, they must name a’registered agent’ in South Africa. Foreign importers and exporters must be represented by a South African “registered agent” who accepts full responsibility for the acts of a foreign principal in relation to any Customs business activity. When approaching registered agents in South Africa, they should bring documentation to prove their identity.

Which forms and documents are required for Foreign Importer registration?

  • DA 185 – Application Form – Customs and Excise Client Registration and Licensing – External Form
  • DA 185.4A1 – Registration Client Type 4A1 – Importer (Republican or non-Republican) – External Form
  • DA 185.D – Registered Agent Disclosure – External Form

Where can I find the importer registration forms?

Application forms can be found below or at any Customs office.

 

Where should the forms be submitted?

Forms must be submitted to the closest Customs office.

Click on the links below to access this page in other languages:

  • Afrikaans
  • IsiZulu
  • Sepedi
  • Sesotho
  • Xitsonga
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