Both Import Permit and LOA required for car import in South Africa

Documents essential for Car Import in South Africa: Import Permit and LOA

Please note that you must have first obtain these two documents BEFORE you can import a vehicle in South Africa: (1) Import Permit (from the Department of Trade and Industry) and (2) Letter of Authority (from the South African Bureau of Standards).

Only one car or motorcycle is allowed per family and the said vehicle must have been registered in that person’s name for at least a year before car’s import.

The import permit is obtained from the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) Tel +27 12 3943610 Email [email protected] while the letter of authority is applied at the South African Bureau of Standards in Pretoria -Tel (012) 428-6276, e-mail [email protected]

Import Permit

To obtain the Import Permit, contact ITAC:

Telephone +27 (012) 394 3610 / 3617 or +27 (086) 184 3384
E-mail [email protected]

Application forms may be obtained from ITAC’s website. Visit

To qualify for the Import Permit, you need to prove to ITAC that you are either a returning resident, having owned and used the vehicle for 6 months or more prior to it’s importation into SA or that you are an immigrant in the country – your permanent residency has come through.

Letter of Authority

To obtain the Letter of Authority, contact SABS:

Telephone +27 (012) 428 6314 / 6534

Application forms may be obtained from SABS’ website. Visit

In order to qualify for a rebate of customs duty, a returning resident needs to prove to SARS that they have owned and used the vehicle for 12 months or more prior to it’s importation into South Africa (only one car per family may qualify for rebate of duties – 2nd and 3rd vehicles pay full duties) and that they gave up their residency in South Africa.

Invoice and insurance Certification

Purchase documentation (invoices) and insurance certification must be produced for validation of ownership and charges. In the event of purchase documentation not being available three valuations must be provided. Customs will look at the purchase price/valuations and check to see if the market value is in line with the market value in South Africa. The exchange rates to the foreign currency will be applied on date of shipment and then 10% will be added to the value. Based on the new inflated value, 14% VAT is raised and charged.

Once imported in the vehicle may not be sold or disposed of for two years. South Africa Customs will examine the motor vehicle and charge customs examination fees.

Importers must be in possession of a permanent residence permit prior to shipment otherwise SA Customs will require a Provisional Payment of 50% of the value of the car.

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