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Firearms

Updated August 2004
Requirements from 1 July 2004
Temporary Importation of Firearms into South Africa
Latest Information Received from the South African Police Service

Importation of Firearms (Updated – August 2004)

Visitors bringing firearms into South Africa for hunting purposes, will be asked to fill in a SAP 520 – Temporary Import Application which is available from your outfitter, or which can be downloaded off the SAPS Website at www.saps.gov.za, or which can be filled out on arrival. We would suggest filling in the form beforehand to save the processing time at the Police Office. Applicant must be 21 years of age or over.

Instructions for Filling in SAP 520 Form

  1. Black ink must be used to fill in the form. 
  2. The form must be left unsigned until the document is finalized in front of the police official issuing the actual permit.
  3. Please note that not all sections of the form apply.

Visitors bringing their own firearms in for hunting purposes should concentrate on filling in the following:

  • Section D – (temporary import or export permit)
  • Section E – 1 – 25.4
  • Section G
  • Section I – (Must fill in all details requested)
  • Section J - (remember do not sign until in front of police officer at firearm office)

Additional Requirements along with the SAP 520 are the following:

1. Identity and Flight Details
a. Passport
b. Return Airline Ticket

2. Other Supporting Documentation
a. Proof of Ownership
Firearm licenses, documentary proof, etc. For USA Citizens, Customs Declaration Form 4457 (officially stamped) is acceptable

b. Proof of Export
Documentary proof of export from the country of origin

c. Motivation Letter from Client
This is a letter from the client stating that he is temporarily importing the referred to firearm/s for the purpose of hunting, to include that the firearm/s are required as he will be hunting
(list the species to be hunted), etc.

d. Invitation Letter from the Hunting Outfitter (*If invitation cannot be downloaded please contact Erik)
This is supporting documentation from the Hunting Outfitter/company with whom the client will be hunting, to include full name of company, full contact details and address, dates and location where the client will be hunting and confirming that the applicant will be using the specific firearms as applied for.

e. Any Other Supporting Documents
Firearms will be physically inspected to ensure the serial number(s) match those of the licenses (proof of ownership) and the application form. Ammunition will also be inspected.

For visitors clearing customs at the Johannesburg International Airport, please take note of the following procedure to be followed on arrival:

1. Clear passport control in the Terminal where your 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, then proceed to the respective Airline Help Desk to pick up firearm/s from the airline company and sign a receipt for the firearm/s. Ask the Airline Help Desk to direct you to the South African Police Firearm Office. Depending on the terminal where you arrive, they may need to escort you to the Office.

3. Proceed to the South African Police Firearm Office (Do not at this point proceed to customs)

4. On receipt of the temporary import permit at the SAPS Firearm Office, proceed to Customs, the Red Zone, where you declare the firearm/s and finish other custom clearance procedures.

For those visitors clearing customs at any of the other international points of entry, please take note of the relevant information made above which relates to documentation requirements, etc.

Please insure sufficient time is allowed to go through the temporary importation process and to clear customs. During the busy periods of the hunting season up to seventy clients may be needing permits at the same time. We would therefore recommend at least five (5) hours be set aside for this procedure and between connecting flights.

Firearm / Ammunition Allowances and Specifications

1. No more than one firearm per caliber and 200 rounds per firearm will be permitted. No ammunition for other rifle calibers will be permitted.

An exception to this may apply for shotguns where more than one of the same caliber may be allowed for bird hunting purposes if the client produces on arrival at the SAPS Gun Office an acceptable written motivation as to why more than one is required.

2. Firearms must bear the manufacturer’s serial number or any other mark by which the firearm can be identified. The identification number must be stamped and the mark affixed in the prescribed manner on the barrel or the frame or the receiver of the firearm.

3. Handguns will be allowed into the country, but only for hunting purposes. Any visitor wanting to bring in a handgun in this regard needs to have a letter from an association in the country of origin, stating the handgun will be used for hunting purposes.

4. Prohibited firearms which may NOT be imported into South Africa include:
a. Any fully automatic weapon
b. Any semi-automatic weapon
c. Handgun/s for self-defense
d. Weapons which fall under military categories

5. A semi-automatic shotgun for hunting purposes may be allowed if an application is made at least 21 days before arrival through the Central Firearms Register with a motivation letter as to why this type of firearm is required.

General Provisions:

1. Temporary Import Permits:
a. May only be issued to a foreign visitor for the purpose of hunting
b. Subject to the use of the firearm only for the purpose set out in the permit


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