Firearms Import Info:
Importation of Firearms:
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.
Instructions for Filling in SAP 520 Form (Download the form here SAP 520)
Please do not pay for any fee regarding the handling of firearms at Johannesburg International Airport, or any port of entry. The issuing of the SAP 520 is a free service.
- Black ink must be used to fill in the form.
- The form must be left unsigned until the document is finalized in front of the police official issuing the actual permit.
- 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)
- Both Firearms and Ammunition will be physically inspected to ensure the serial number(s) match those of the licenses (proof of ownership) and the application form.
Firearm / Ammunition Allowances and Specifications:
- No more than one firearm per calibre and 200 rounds per firearm will be permitted. No ammunition for other rifle calibres will be permitted.
- An exception to this may apply for shotguns where more than one of the same calibre 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prohibited firearms such as any fully automatic weapons, semi-automatic weapons, handgun/s for self-defence and firearms which fall under military categories which may NOT be imported into South Africa.
- 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. Please also submit a motivation letter as to why this type of firearm is required.
General Provisions - Temporary Import Permits:
- May only be issued to a foreign visitor for the purpose of hunting
- Will be issued subject to the requirements of the Act with regard to the carrying, storage, safe custody and transport of a firearm and ammunition
- Subject to the use of the firearm only for the purpose set out in the permit
- Subject to the fact that no person who holds a temporary import permit is allowed to transfer the firearm to another person in South Africa without prior written permission having been obtained from the Central Firearm Register.
- Whenever the holder of a temporary import permit leaves the Republic of South Africa, the firearm in respect of which the permit is issued must accompany the holder of the permit
- Possession of no more than the quantity of cartridges determined by the Registrar and specified on the permit for each firearm in respect of which the temporary import permit applies
- A Temporary Import Permit shall not be issued for a period exceeding six months at a time
- Applicant must be 21 or over
- Should a firearm not be declared on arrival and a temporary import permit not issued, you will face severe penalties and possible arrest on departure from South Africa.
- Applications for Temporary Import Permits can be made in advance to the Central Firearm Register. Ask your Hunting Outfitter to assist you in this regard.
Please ensure that your firearm/s arrive on the same flight as you do. This must be done with the airline company on departure. Your firearm/s may only be signed for by you and will not be released to your outfitter or professional hunter should it/they arrive on a separate flight. If the firearm/s do not arrive with the passenger, the passenger must proceed to his final destination in South Africa and apply at the closest Police Station for a Temporary Import Permit. When the Temporary Import Permit has been issued, the original permit with the keys to the rifle case must be couriered to the Border Post of entry. A Transport Agent with transport permit must be appointed by the passenger. This Transport Agent must have a letter from the passenger instructing him/her to transport the firearm/s to the passenger in person. The firearm/s will be inspected by the Police at the Port of entry and the firearm/s and permit will be handed to the transporter to be transported to the passenger.
Please note that NO firearms will be held for safekeeping by the SAPS. If a client brings in a prohibited firearm, brings in more than what is allowed, or lacks the necessary documentation and his request for a temporary import permit is denied, the involved firearms must be exported immediately by the client or voluntarily surrendered to the State.