Firearm Import Regulations For South Africa

As an overseas hunter wishing to bring your own firearm(s) into South Africa, you need to comply with the SA Firearms Control Act 2000.

Application can be made in advance by yourself or a third party (recommended) or you can apply on arrival in RSA.

There is no fee required to obtain a firearm permit in RSA. There will however be a charge if a third party is employed to obtain the firearm permit on your behalf.

  • You can temporarily import a maximum of 4 firearms per hunter but not more than 1 of the same calibre.

  • You may only bring ammunition applicable to the firearms that you will be bringing into South Africa.

  • A maximum of 200 rounds of ammunition per firearm is permitted.

  • No person under the age of 21 may bring firearms into South Africa or apply for a temporary import permit in his/her name.

  • The barrel, frame or action is to be marked with the same serial number.

  • Semi automatic shotguns or a custom-made handguns can be bought into South Africa for wingshooting/hunting purposes only.

  • No self-protection firearms are allowed.

  • In-transit permits are required by any passenger spending the night in South Africa or who do not have inter-airline firearm handling, while in transit to another destination country. The same pre-requisites apply as to obtain the normal temporary import permit.



Application Documents

  • Notarised copy of the photograph & signature page of your passport

  • Notarised copy of proof of ownership of the firearm(s) - US Customs Form 4457 or Firearm Licence/Permit from home country.

  • A letter of invitation from your outfitter confirming his outfitter licence number, the hunt dates, location of the hunt, species you will be hunting, and the firearms he suggests you bring for the hunt (appropriate calibres for the species).



Application for semi-automatic shotguns or handguns permit, in addition to the above:

  • A letter of motivation stating the reason for wanting to hunt in South Africa with these firearms. It must be an original request with a good reason otherwise consideration will not be granted.

  • If the handgun is custom-made and is not on the Central Firearms Registry computer, you will need to obtain a letter from the manufacturer stating that the firearm is manufactured for hunting purposes only. The Central Firearms Registry may also request additional information, specifications, pictures of the firearm. Your application can be delayed, so please allow plenty of time.



If a third party makes the application on your behalf, in addition to the above:

  • A letter or a form authorising the application for a permit on your behalf.

  • A copy of your flight itinerary.

SAPS520 Form

It is very important to complete this form accurately or it may be rejected.

  • Download SAPS520 Form.

  • Download SAPS520 Instructions.

  • Complete in BLACK ink only.

  • Date format is YYYY-MM-DD.

  • Not all sections are required to be completed but submit ALL 8 pages.

  • If you are applying on arrival but aim to complete the form in advance for the sake of efficiency, do NOT pre-sign Page 6 Section J - wait until you are in front of the firearms officer so he may witness your signature.



Only complete the following sections:

  • Page 2 Section D - Type of Permit - Tick 5 for temporary permit

  • Page 2 Section E - Particulars of Applicant - parts 1 to 25.4

  • Page 4 Section G - Import/Export Details - parts 1 to 9.2

  • Page 5 Section 1 - Details of Firearms - all parts. Note for 1.7 Barrel serial number is not necessary unless the barrel has a different serial number from the receiver or the only number is on the barrel and not the receiver.

  • Page 6 Section 1 - Declaration by person who is lawfully in possession of the firearm - parts 3 to 4.4

  • Page 6 Section J - Signature of Applicant - parts 1 to 4

Proof Of Firearm Ownership

  •  US hunters only. Notarised copy of US Customs Form 4457 OR a letter from your local sheriff in the form of an affidavit confirming ownership OR an invoice from the gun shop where you purchased the firearms.

  • Other nationality hunters. A copy of your firearms licence. In addition to this a notarised copy of the documentary proof of export of the firearms in the form of a letter from your local Police or Customs office confirming there is no objection to taking your firearms out of the country. Letter must be on a Police Department/Customs letterhead.



Please note, a notarised copy of a document must be stamped and signed by a notary, stating that the document is a true copy of the original.



At Johannesburg (Oliver Tambo) International Airport (Terminal 1):

  • On arrival, the firearms will be removed from the aircraft by security staff and brought to the baggage hall where you must identify them. The firearms officer will then carry it to the firearms office. There, the firearms will be kept under lock and key.

  • The hunter will first go through Immigration, then collect his luggage, proceed through customs and then move on into Terminal 1 and the firearm office. There the hunter will be issued with his firearms after a check to ensure that the serial numbers and make correlate with the personal data of the hunter. The final step is the issuing of the SAPS525 or temporary import permit.

  • On departure, the firearms are checked in at the check-in desk and tagged for the flight. You then carry them through to the firearms office which is located before the main security check area. You check the serial numbers and ammunition with the officer and leave them there. You then proceed through security and immigration into the departure hall.