How to get an Import License or an Export License in SA?
On this page, we will show you the simplest way to get your license for international trade and we will also answer the most frequently asked questions on imports and export licenses (also known as customs codes).
We will show you why and how to get an Import License or an Export License in SA as fast as possible.
Please note this page does not serve as legal advice and it’s important to check for any regulation changes at the relevant authorities.
We know you’re a busy entrepreneur, so before we dive into more detailed questions about export and import licenses in South Africa, here are 3 simple ways you can get your license ASAP.
We have three Specialized Export and Import service options that you can order online from wherever you are in South Africa.
What does the License process look like?
To get your License can be quite complex. Firstly, you have to fill out the relevant forms to register at South African Revenue Service (SARS) as an importer or an exporter
Secondly, if you import goods that are on the regulated list, you need to fill out a new set of documents to register at the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) or other government regulating body.
It’s important to keep yourself up to date on import and export regulation, because it’s constantly changing in South Africa and in other countries.
Our service simplifies all the paperwork into a three-step process. Here’s how it works.
Our License process is really simple:
STEP 1. Fill out the online application form above. One of our dedicated consultants will connect with you shortly after. Your dedicated consultant will send you all the relevant paperwork and walk you through the entire process step-by-step. Our sophisticated online system will keep you up-to-date with your order via SMS and / or email every step of the way.
STEP 2. We represent your business at SARS. Your dedicated import/export will make sure you get your License in the fastest time frame possible.
STEP 3. Get your License directly in your email. It’s as simple as that.
What is an Importer’s / Exporter’s License?
Various authorities regulate the movement of goods across national borders. A lot of paperwork is needed to regulate your goods at the multiple checks at multiple authorities before it’s approved.
A License is a specific number, almost like an ID number, which is connected to businesses that import or export goods from or into South Africa.
If you import/export more than R50 000 or more than 3 times a year or for resale purposes a Licence is compulsory. Your goods cannot clear without it.
How does a License work?
After you’ve completed the necessary registration process, you will receive a unique code. This code is your Customs Code.
This Code allows you to import/export goods, by sharing specific pre-approved information about your business and your goods with border authorities. This helps authorities simplify the import and export process.
To get a License a once-off registration. You may need to renew your License, but the time is not set and it may be as long as 10 years.
What is the benefit of an Importer’s / Exporter’s License?
The benefit of having a license is the ability to import or export multiple units of one commodity from or into South Africa for resale purposes more than 3 times a year, or to the value of more than R50 000.
If you don’t have a license, in these cases, your goods will be stopped or delayed.
How long does it take to get an Import or an Export License?
The timeline depends on how far you are within the process. It could take between 5 and 25 working days. However, when you sign up for our services we can guarantee record-breaking timeframes. You can sign up here.
What are the requirements for an Importer or an Exporter’s License?
If you sign up using our services, you only need (1) a South African address, (2) an Income Tax Number and (3) a Bank Account. No need for VAT registration! If you don’t have these things, our consultants can help you get them ASAP.
What is an ITAC permit and how is it different to an Import / Export License?
An ITAC Permit is a requirement when you import or export goods that are regulated.
It’s important to make sure you are aware of what is legally allowed before you start an import or export business.
Generally, when you are importing or exporting used goods you require an ITAC permit. Also, importing stones like Tiger’s Eye and Sugilite; raw and manufacturing materials like ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap and used motor vehicles are always subject to limitations – and they are often prohibited.
Can you use someone else’s Custom Code for imports of Exports in South Africa?
No. Using your friend or family members’ License is not allowed. Your License needs to match the name on your Commercial Invoice and the Customer Code legally registered in your name.
South Africans who live abroad are still also allowed to import or export items. All you need is an RSA address and bank account. Alternatively, if you cannot get the address and bank account, you can nominate a South African agent, a middleman, for your import/export business.
When do you have to have an Importer’s / Exporter’s License?
When you import / export for resale purposes and it exceeds a certain value or quantity.
If the Commercial Invoice of the new goods you are exporting/importing exceeds R50 000, SARS & Customs would expect you to have an Exporter’s / Importer’s code.
Also, when you import or export new goods more than three times within one calendar year, SARS and Customs require you to have an Importer’s or an Exporter’s License for clearance.
Why use our Import / Export Services?
Getting an Import / Export License is quite a complicated process with various application forms that need to be filled out in detail.
You also have to do two completely different processes for both an Import or an Export License.
We will guarantee you a designated Import / Export License expert who will help and guide you through every step of the way.
The best part is, it’s all online and you never have to come into our offices. You’re welcome to come in if you’d like, but it’s by no means necessary to get your license.
Our service is extremely fast, and we’ve been helping many South African businesses get their Export and Import Licenses over the years.
Nexsus Business team is a diverse network of consultants and industry professionals with a global mindset and a collaborative culture. We work to understand your issues and are driven to ask better questions in the pursuit of making your business work better.