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Firearms Importation

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Firearms Importation


Safari Guides - Trophy Hunts - Adventures -Tours. There is nothing in the world better than going on safari in the open lands of Africa.

PHASA would like to provide the following information and suggestions to visiting hunters to facilitate the importing and exporting of Firearms through JHB International.
1. There are three (3) different options available for obtaining the Temporary Importation Permits:

1. Yourself as client and foreign hunter
2. Via your Hunting Outfitter
3. Through PHASA. (recommended) We render this service at a cost of $110 USD (incl. VAT) per application.  Payment can be made by credit card on submission of the completed application. Please contact us on :
Please note: PHASA does not accept any money orders.

PHASA recommends that where possible the actual temporary import permits is obtained prior to your arrival.   When you make use of our service and your application(s) are successful, your Temporary Importation Permits will be available for collection at the SAPS Office on arrival at Johannesburg International Airport.

1. Should you wish to make the application  yourself:

Complete the temporary firearm import permit application (SAP520) in advance if possible and bring it with you.  The SAP520 can be completed on arrival at the SAPS Firearm Office.  NB!  It is important to note that the form must be completed in black ink and must remain unsigned until the document is finalized in front of the police official issuing the actual permit at the airport.  Your hunting outfitter should be able to assist you with a copy of the SAP520 form, or you can download a copy on the PHASA website.

(Please refer to number 3 (a) – (f) to have the necessary documentation ready on arrival).

2. Should you require your Outfitter to obtain the temporary import permit prior to your arrival please ensure you provide him all the  necessary documentation.  (Please refer to number 3 (a) – (f) for necessary documentation).

3. Should you wish PHASA to obtain the temporary import permit prior to your arrival, please send the following certified/notarized documentation to the PHASA Office by registered mail/courier to reach the PHASA Office at least 25 days prior to your arrival in the RSA.  See last page for contact details. Please note that these documents have to be couriered or posted to us, as no fax or email copies will be accepted.

a. A SAP520 form – completed in black ink
Complete page 2 – E – Natural person’s details
Complete page 4 – G – Import/Export details
Complete page 5 –  I –  Details of firearms and ammunition
Complete page 6 – J – Signature of applicant or
Complete page 8 – N – Signature of nominee/authorized person.  [Client should give an original written mandate (appointment letter) for this if they are not filling in the SAP520 themselves].

b. Certified / Notarized copy of passport

c. Copy of airline tickets or itinerary

d. Certified / Notarized copy of proof of export
This is proof that your firearms have been legally exported from your country of residence. If your country does not have an official export permit the SAPS require a letter from a government agency of your country of residence stating this.  For USA citizens the 4457 form is acceptable.

e. Certified / Notarized copy of firearm licenses.
The SAPS realizes that some countries, eg. the US do not issue gun licenses.  In this event the USA form 4457 is acceptable for USA citizens.

f. Original Invitation letter of Hunting Outfitter to include:
Letter to be on Outfitter’s official letterhead -
Name of person being invited;
Duration of the hunter’s stay;
PH’s details – name, surname, license number and the province he is licensed in;
Hunting Outfitter Details – same as above;
The physical address(s) and telephone number(s) of the farm(s) where the hunt(s) will take place;
Type of animals being hunted eg. big game, birdshooting etc.;
The recommended calibers required for hunt(s);
State that firearms will only be used for hunting purposes on mentioned properties;
Date and signature of Outfitter.

Important information:
2. The following firearms and ammunition will not be allowed to enter South Africa:
• Any automatic or semi-automatic firearms,
• More than one firearm per calibre per person,
• More than 200 rounds of ammunition per person per firearm,
• Any pistol or revolver.
(Unless specified for hunting)

Reasons why your application will not be approved:
• If you have any of the abovementioned 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,

Your application for a temporary import permit will be refused and your firearms and ammunition will be confiscated and will only be handed back to you when you depart back to your country of residence.

Please take note that only the Central Firearm Registrar in Pretoria, South Africa can authorize special applications for the above restrictions. These applications have to be made in advance and must reach them not later than 3 (three) weeks before arrival. Please contact the PHASA office for more info and assistance.


Should a firearm not be declared and a temporary import permit not issued, and you proceed through customs without declaring a firearm, you will face severe penalties and possible arrest on departure from South Africa.

Also, please ensure that your firearms 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 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 licence 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 the firearms, it must be locked in a safe.

4. On arrival at the Johannesburg International Airport: (This does not apply for passengers in-transit)

a. Disembark from aircraft and clear passport control in whichever Terminal  the flight arrives.  (Generally, SAA and its co-partners at Terminal 2, and all other airlines in Terminal 1).

b. Proceed to baggage claim at the respective carousel.  Pick up general baggage.

c. For visitors with firearms arriving at Terminal 2:
Proceed to the SAPS Firearms Office.  Look for office signage.  Location of the SAPS Firearms Office – in Terminal 2 – in front of the Post Office. 
For visitors with firearms arriving at Terminal 1:
Proceed to the firearm office that is situated in Terminal 2 in front of the Post Office.

d. On arrival at the SAPS Firearm Office collect your issued temporary import permit at the PHASA desk or have the necessary documentation (refer to number 3 (a) – (f)) available for inspection.

e.  Your firearms and ammunition will be physically inspected to ensure the serial numbers match those of the licenses and the application forms.  You will then be asked to wait while your application is being processed – if you are not in the possession of an already issued temporary importation permit.

f. When your application has been processed and your permit has been issued you will have to sign for the permit.  If you are connecting to other flights, please make sure that you allow ample time for this process.


g.  The actual firearms and ammunition will be physically inspected to verify details against the already issued temporary importation permit and those of the licenses. 

h. Once this is established you are free to leave with your weapons.


5. Domestic flight connections at Johannesburg International Airport:
(PHASA recommends a minimum of 3 hours connection times between flights)

a. Exit the international terminal building;
b. Turn left.  The domestic terminal is +- 500 meters away on the left-hand side;
c. At the domestic terminal, go to the second floor – domestic departures.  Check in for your domestic flight;
d. 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;
e. The airline security will check the serial number on your firearms and your temporary import permit.


f. Keep your import permit in your possession;
g. Your firearm will be placed on the aircraft by the airline security;
h. Collect your firearm from the airline security desk at your domestic destination.

6. International flight connections at Johannesburg International Airport:

If you have an international connecting flight you will have to do the following:

a. Use the elevator to go to the international departure hall;
b. Check in for your international flight;
c. 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;
d. The airline security will check the serial no. of your firearms and your temporary import permit.
e. Your firearm will be placed on the aircraft by the airline security.

7. Other ports of entry:

For those clearing customs at any of the other international ports of entry, please take note of the relevant suggestions made above which relate to documentation, requirements, etc.


8. On your final departure from South Africa:

On your final departure you will have to do the following:

a. Check in for your international flight;
b. 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 no. of your firearms and your import permit.


9. Report Corruption:

If anybody involved in the above-mentioned process asks you for money that person is trying to solicit a bribe from you.  This is a criminal offence!! Every person involved in the firearms handling process is in possession of an ACSA access card with his/her name and photograph. If a person tries to bribe you, ask them for their ACSA permit and make a note of their name.

Report it immediately to the South African Police Service. If it is a South African Police Service member that asks for money, report it immediately or as soon as possible to the Client Service Centre in the multi storey parking area or any other SA Police Station. If any SA Police Service member refuses to take down your complaint or does not give you a case reference no. contact the SAPS commander at Johannesburg Internationl Airport Director B. M. Zuma at 0827789639 or  Superintendent SB Mhlangu at 0835894220. 

Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA)
Postal address:
Courier address:
P. O. Box 10264                                       71 Lobelia Lane
Centurion 0046                                        Irene, 1675
South Africa                                              South Africa

Tel: +27 – (0)12 - 667 2048
Fax: +27 – (0)12 - 667 2049
Contact person: Tersia Du Plooy

In Transit Passengers (Transiting in South Africa)

It is critical that you check with and confirm with the airline/s involved before departure to make sure what their procedure is for the transfer of baggage and/or firearms.

Hunters travelling in a group:

Please note that if only some of the people in a group get temporary importation permits in advance, everyone in the group can expect to be delayed at Johannesburg International Airport for up to 3 hours.

If the airline does transfer your baggage/firearms, and you have booked them through to the final destination, and you stay in the in-transit area and do not clear South African customs, then you do not need to go through the temporary import process.

If your airline company will not transfer your baggage/guns to your connecting airline/flight, then you must collect your baggage/firearm/s and go through the entire entry process. If this is the case, the South African limitations, requirements, etc. will apply.

This also applies if you overnight in South Africa before flying on to your country of destination.

Please note:
1. PHASA only offers this service to hunters entering South Africa at Johannesburg International Airport (OR Thambo Airport).
2. PHASA can only meet hunters in the SA Police office and not at the airplane.
3. PHASA can not be held responsible for any connection flights missed when there is not enough time left for connections (at least three hours)
4. In-transit passengers (passengers not clearing customs in Johannesburg, connecting to other countries), can not be met by PHASA. Passengers must make sure with their airline whether their luggage and firearm(s) will be checked through to their final destination.


Safari Guides - Trophy Hunts - Adventures - Tours
J. Scott / Safari & Tour Coordinator
Office: (855) 473-2875

African Feather, Fur & Scale Safaris cc
Willie Vermaak
Hunting Outfitter, Professional Hunter & THETA National Tourist Guide
Tel/Fax - Landline: +27(0)57 357 4656
Mobile: +27(0)73 162 8657

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