Please note that rifle hiring is available from Cruiser Safaris in case you don’t want to go through the process of importing your own.
Importation of Firearms
Visitors bringing firearms into South Africa for hunting purposes will be asked to fill in a Temporary Import Application Form (SAP 520). This form may be downloaded from the SAPS Website, and can be completed before arrival in order to save precious time. Please remember to use black ink only and DO NOT sign it until you are in the presence of an official at the airport. Once issued a temporary import permit is for a particular person only and is not transferable. They issue for a period of 90 or 180 days.
- Import Application Form SAPS 520 (PDF – 106KB)
- Introduction To Complete SAPS 520 (PDF – 85KB)
- Identity and Flight Details
- Return Airline Ticket
- Other supporting documentation (see below)
Other Supporting Documentation
Proof of Ownership
Firearm licenses, documentary proof, etc. for Australian citizens, customs declaration form 4457 is acceptable.
Proof of Export
Documentary proof of export from an official institution from the country of origin. Must be written in English.
Motivational letter from client
This letter from the client stating that he is temporarily importing the referred 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.
Invitation letter from the Hunting Outfitter
This is a supporting document from the hunting outfitter/company with whom the client will be hunting, to include full names of company, full contact details
and address, dates and location where the client will be hunting and confirmation that the applicant will be using the specific firearms as applied for.
Instructions for filling in the SAP 520 form
- Black ink must be used to fill in the form.
- Please leave the form unsigned as it needs to be witnessed by the police official issuing the actual permit.
- Please note that not all sections of the form may be applicable. 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)
Firearm / Ammunition allowances and specifications
No more than one (1) firearm per calibre and two hundred (200) rounds per firearm will be permitted. No ammunition for other rifle calibres will be permitted.
Firearms must bear the manufacturer’s serial number or any other mark by which the firearm can be identified.
Handguns will be allowed into the country, BUT ONLY for hunting purposes. Any visitor wanting to bring in a handgun in this regard to have a letter from an association in the country of origin, stating the handgun will be used for hunting purposes.
Prohibited firearms which may NOT be imported into South Africa include: Any fully automatic weapon, Any semi-automatic weapon, Handguns for self-defence, Weapons which fall under military categories
Important Airport Information
Please endure that your firearm/s arrives on the same flight as you do. Your firearm/s may only sign for by you and will not be released to your outfitter or professional hunter should it/they arrive on a separate flight.
Please do not pay for any service regarding the handling of firearms at Johannesburg airport, or any Port of entry. The issuing of the SAP 520 is a free service and the South African Police Services asks clients no to pay anybody involved in handling firearms from the time of arrival in South Africa right through until you receive your firearms and the permit from the SAPS.
There is no permit, or any charge by the South African Police for a Bow. Although handling fees may be charge by the airline and/or security companies for bows.
Firearms information from Australian customs
To travel overseas with firearms and related goods there are a number of requirements that must be met. The information below is intended to assist Australian residents in understanding these requirements before leaving from, and returning to, Australia.
These requirements are specified under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 (PI Regulations) and the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 (PE Regulations).
To export firearms and related goods out of Australia, travellers must first obtain written permission from the Department of Defence or the Australian Border Force prior to exportation.
All exporters must also register as a client in the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) and lodge an export declaration to obtain an Export Declaration Number (EDN) with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Registering as a client
Register as a client with us using a Form B319 – Registering as a client in the Integrated Cargo System (PDF – 809KB) and receive a Customs Client Identification Number (CCID). The form can be submitted to our nearest Client Services Counter.
This step is not necessary if you have already applied for and received a CCID number.
Obtaining export permission
Apply for a Restricted Goods Permit (RGP) with the Australian Border Force.
Australian Border Force officers are authorised by the Minister for Defence to grant permission to export under a number of conditions and restrictions.
A Restricted Goods Permit can only be granted by the Australian Border Force for bona fide travellers who are taking with them a small quantity of (up to four) Category A, B or H firearms, along with their parts, accessories and a small quantity of ammunition, to participate in activities such as taking part in an overseas sporting event or a hunting activity.
The Australian Border Force cannot issue permission to export any other firearm types (such as semi-automatic rifles), commercial goods (for example dealer stock), and where the export is to any country subject to a United Nations Security Council or Australian Autonomous sanction (such as Iran, North Korea or Zimbabwe).
To apply for a Restricted Goods Permit, applicants must submit a completed DEC07 – Restricted Goods Permit Form (PDF – 210KB) available on the Defence Export Controls website and the relevant documentation, to our nearest Client Services Counter.
The Restricted Goods Permit can be authorised up to 28 days prior to departure.
The following documentation must also be available when submitting the form to the Australian Border Force:
- Current firearm licence
- Certificate(s) of Registration for all applicable firearms
- Evidence of identity (100 points) documentation.
If you are completing this process with the Australian Border Force on the day of departure at the International Terminal, allow for an additional two hours prior to the check-in time required by the airline.
More information about Restricted Goods Permit is available at Defence Export Controls website.
Lodge an export declaration
Lodge an Export Declaration using the Form B957 – Export Declaration (355KB PDF) and submit it to our nearest client service counter.
See Completing export declarations (617KB PDF) if you need help in filling the form.
On 15 December 2015, amendments were made to the PI Regulations to reduce the requirements for residents returning to Australia with firearms and related goods used in a lawful shooting competition or hunting activity overseas.
For these individuals, import permission will not be required where the following requirements are met upon return to Australia:
- the goods are Category A, B or H firearms, and their parts, magazines, and ammunition
- the importer is an Australian resident
- the importer presents to the Australian Border Force a valid firearm licence issued by the State or Territory Police where they reside
- the importer presents to the Australian Border Force the export permit used to export the goods
- the goods have not been modified (except for repair) since it was last exported from Australia.
In any other case, and for any additional controlled items that are purchased or otherwise obtained while overseas, travellers must obtain the written certification of the police firearms or weapons registry in their state or territory or written permission to import from the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.
Information on how to obtain written certification or permission to import is available on our website.
The maximum penalty for importing or exporting these goods without the relevant permission is a penalty not exceeding AUD 450,000, imprisonment for 10 years, or both.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Contact Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for further information regarding United Nations Security Council or Australian Autonomous sanctions.
Website: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Telephone: +61 2 626 11111
Firearms and sporting ammunition are designated as dangerous cargo by the transport industry. These items must be packaged, labelled and handled correctly. You must contact your Airline or Shipping carrier for specific information before your departure date (flying QANTAS? use the information given below). Ask your Outfitter for information regarding internal transport in the country/s you are hunting or transiting. Travellers should be aware that some airlines and sea-carriers refuse to carry sporting arms and ammunition as passenger luggage or impose significant handling fees to do so. Hunting knives must be carried as checked baggage and declared in some countries.
When travelling by QANTAS with Firearms and sporting ammunition
See Qantas dangerous good information page.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 02-9691 1070. Tel number: 02-9691 1061
For gaining approval to carry firearms and ammunition when flying QANTAS, the best procedure to follow is:
Email or fax the details of:
- Types of firearms and how they will be carried,
- The amount of ammunition, (maximum 5 kilos gross), and how it will be packed,
- Flight numbers and dates,
- Passenger’s Firearms Licence Number and,
- And /or a return fax number.
The above mentioned information is just from Qantas (Australia’s official airline) however should you do travel on any other airline, please refer to their own travel procedures
Australian residents wishing to travel abroad with firearms and ammunition are advised to consult with their Outfitter/s regarding permits and licences for their destination and any transit stops prior to travel. Useful firearm import export info here.
Import of animal trophies – information for Australian citizens wishing to import wildlife products. Please refer to the Taxidermy section on this page.
If in doubt, please contact Marinda Loots on +61 432 085 990