All shipments arriving into South Africa should be accompanied by an original Commercial Invoice.
This requirement differs from other countries in the region. Shipment arriving without a commercial invoice will be stopped and not released until a commercial invoice is supplied.
Pro Forma invoices, Consignment Notes or hand written invoices are not suitable to clear a shipment through customs.
The person receiving the shipment who is stated on the Commercial Invoice and Airwaybill is considered the Importer of Record. The importer of record is responsible to ensure the statements on the paperwork are factual, accurate and in accordance to the law.
Any discrepancies on the paperwork (even though the sender completed the invoice) may result in penalties such as fines or even seizure of the shipment by customs. Please be aware to liaise with the sender of the item prior to sending to ensure a fully completed commercial invoice is sent with the shipment.
Individuals may import 6 shipments per calendar year into South Africa before registering as an importer.
It is the responsibility of the importer to track the number of imports and register themselves before this limit is reached.
Individuals may also receive gifts in limited quantities each year.