Procedure to import Firearms

  1. Requirements
  2. Ammunition transportation
  3. Basic Regulations and Restrictions for the issuing of a Temporary Import Permits
  4. Special applications
  5. Important information
  6. Arriving at OR Tambo (Johannesburg) Airport
  7. Temporary Firearm Import Permits through PHASA  at US$ 140 per firearm


You will need the following document:
SAP520, Notarized copy of Passport, Notarized copy of proof of ownership, proof of Export, Airline ticket and a letter of invitation

1.Form SAP520 (download)
Fill in the following sections in black ink only:

Complete page 2 – E 2.1 to E 25.4 – Natural person’s details
Complete page 4 – G 1 to G 5 & G 8 to G 9.2 – Import/Export details
Complete page 5 – I 1.1 to I 5 – Details of firearms etc.
Complete page 6 – J – Signature of applicant

Please note: The date format is: year/month/day
Page 6: Date – when signing the form. Place - where signing
Leave the document unsigned until you are finalising your permit with the SAP official.

2. Notarized copy of passport (photo & signature page)

3. Notarized copy of Proof of ownership of your firearm(s) in the form of any off the following:

  • US Custom Form 4457 (contact your nearest airport for this), or
  • Copy of your firearm License or Certificate, or
  • Firearms Possession Licence (Waffenbesitzkarte), or
  • European Firearms Pass (Eoropaeischer Feuerwaffenpass), or
  • A letter from your local sheriff in the form of an affidavit confirming ownership, or
  • Invoice from a gun shop where you have purchased the firearm

4. Proof of export from country of origin in the form of: US Custom Form 4457, or Copy of firearm certificates    ( for UK hunters), or Waffenbesitzkarte, or Eoropaeischer Feuerwaffenpass, ( some of the above forms are used for proof of ownership and export where the country of origin do not have an export form}

5. Copy of itinerary or airline tickets
6. Letter of invitation from your Hunting Outfitter (Download)

Ammunition transportation

  • All ammunition must be packed and transported in a lockable ammo box.
  • This must be placed within your checked luggage. A manufacturer's carton is no longer sufficient.
  • There is also a limit of five kilograms (11lbs) of ammo per passenger. That includes the weight of your ammo box.
  • Do not store any lose rounds in your checked luggage or any in your curry on!
  • There is also a limit of 200 rounds per person per firearm.
  • You must declare your ammo at check in

Basic Regulations and Restrictions for the issuing of a Temporary Import Permits

  • Maximum of four (4) firearms or shotguns, not more than one of the same calibre or gauge.
  • No automatic or semi-automatic firearms can be imported,
  • No pistol or revolver. (Unless a special hunting permit is obtained)
  • Only 200 rounds for each permitted firearm or shotgun will be allowed.
  • Only ammunition for firearms accompanying you is permitted.
  • 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, the frame or the receiver of the firearm.
  • Issuing of a temporary Firearm permit is free of charge.

Reasons why your application will not be approved

  • If you have any of the above mentioned firearms and/or ammunition,
  • If any of the supporting documents as required in # 3 (a) – (f) cannot be produced,
  • If you are less than 21 years of age,

Special applications: (Subject to pre-approval only)

  • Handguns will be allowed into the country, but only for hunting purposes. You will need:
    A letter of invitation from the outfitter stating the handgun will be used for hunting purposes only;
    A motivational letter from you stating that you will be using the handgun for hunting purposes and any other relevant motivation.
  • For Semi-Automatic shotguns, you must supply a letter of motivation stating the reason for wanting to bring it into the country.
  • Any person under the age of 21 have to apply for a temporary import permit, including a motivational letter with the application proving that he/she is a capable hunter. Any additional motivational letters from 3rd parties will help with the application.


  • Ensure that your firearms arrive on the same flight as you do. This must be done with the airline company on departure.
  • Contact your airline company for their regulations on the number of firearms allowed and packing of ammunition. Certain airlines require the ammo to be packed in a separate locked container.
  • Your firearm/s may only be signed for by you and will not be released to your outfitter or professional hunter should it arrive on a separate flight. In this case, the firearm/s will be held by the SAPS until such time as you claim ownership in person.
  • The temporary import permit serves as your firearm license in South Africa and enables you to buy ammunition in South Africa for the calibres noted on the permit.
  • At all times while you are in possession of your firearms, you must have the temporary import permit on your person.
  • When you are not using your firearm, it must be locked in a safe.
  • In-Transit Permits are required for any person spending the night in South Africa while in-transit to a third country. The same pre-requisites apply as to obtain the normal Temporary Import permit.
  • Check with your airline company on departure that your luggage and firearm(s) will be checked through to your final destination, when you are connecting to a third country on the same day.
  • Should a firearm not be declared on arrival and a temporary import permit not issued, you will face severe penalties and will be arrested.

Arriving at OR Tambo (Johannesburg) Airport

  • Go through passport control
  • Go to the Import/Export Office. Next to it is an area marked: “Firearms and Security Items”.
  • Go there to identify your rifle case and sign for it, if required.
  • Collect your normal luggage at the appropriate conveyer belt.
  • Proceed on the GREEN line through customs.
  • For passengers arriving in Terminal A1 or A2, please exit the arrivals hall and turn right. Look out for the SAP office.
  • Your firearm(s) and ammo will be checked against your pre-issued temporary import permit after which you will be free to leave.
  • Please note that the procedure regarding your firearm at customs depends on the airline used. The speed, in which your permit will be handled, depends upon the speed in which the rifle case is handled before arriving at the SA Police Office. Please be patient when waiting for your rifle case.
  • Please note that the issuing of a temporary firearm Import Permit is free of charge. Please report any officers who attempt to charge you for this service.
  • We recommend that there is at least 3 hours between landing and your connecting flight.

Departure from OR Tambo airport South Africa

  • Check in for your international flight.
  • All remaining ammunition must be packed in a lockable ammo box in your checked luggage.
  • Declare any ammo when checking in.
  • Your rifle case will be tagged and you will be required to take it to the airline security desk that is situated just before the security checkpoint;
  • On your final departure from South Africa the temporary import permit must be handed back when you check in your rifle case.
  • The airline security will check the serial numbers of your firearms and your import permit.
  • If you have any questions please let us know in order for us to assist you.

Temporary Firearm Import Permits - Through PHASA

As a service to professional hunting in South Africa, PHASA wishes to assist in providing all international hunters a trouble-free arrival in South Africa.

Phasa is able to obtain your temporary importation permit prior to your arrival. This service is for rifle permits, shotgun permits and handgun for the use of hunting, permits. A representative will meet you in the SA Police office at OR Thambo (Johannesburg) Airport with your permit.
The cost of this service for 2010 is USD140. They accept card payments or Bank Transfers. A credit card authorization, or Bank Account Details form, can be requested from the PHASA office. Proof of Bank Transfer Payment or the Credit Card Authorization must accompany your application.

If PHASA is to obtain the temporary import permit prior to your arrival, please send the following documentation SAP520, Notarized copy of Passport, Notarized copy of prove of ownership, Export permit, copy of airline ticket and letter of invitation to the PHASA Office no later than 25 days prior to your arrival.

Please contact PHSA or
Tel: +27 12 667 2048
Fax: +27 12 667 2049

Important Documents to download