Exporting South Africa – 6 Things You Need To Know

Exporting South Africa – 6 Things You Need To Know

  • Apply for an Export Permit
  • Understanding Exporting Custom Protocol
  • How long does it take to Register an Export Business
  • How much does it Cost
  • Forms to Complete for Exporting
  • Who to Contact to Start an Exporting Business

If you want to Export your products from South Africa you need to register with the South African Revenue Services (SARS).
In fact, you will actually register as an exporter with Customs and Excise; a division of SARS.


This is an easy process, but SARS/Customs and Excise have unfortunately managed to complicate the process with the use of a multitude of interconnected forms that you need to complete for different requirements, combined with the use of a somewhat confusing numbering system, and a website that does not make the process any easier.

There are six Registration Options to Export from South Africa

  1. You want to register as a general exporter and do not plan to take advantage of any of the trade agreements that South Africa has in place.
  2. You want to register as an exporter under the AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) trade agreement
  3. You want to register as an exporter of GSP (General System of Preferences) goods to the following countries; the European Community, Norway, Switzerland, Russia and Turkey
  4. You want to register as an approved exporter in terms of the TDCA (Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement) that exists between the European Community (EC) and South Africa
  5. You want to register as an approved exporter in terms of the SACU/EFTA (South African Customs Union/European Free Trade Agreement) trade agreement
  6. You want to register as an exporter in terms of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) trade agreement

Applying for an Export Permit

To export certain goods out of South Africa, you must have a permit ensuring that you comply with applicable export control measures.  

The export of some goods may be restricted to support beneficiation strategies or to assist local manufacturers to obtain raw materials before they are exported.

An export permit is required to ensure that goods exported by an individual or organisation comply with the provisions of international agreements. Export permits also help to control the outflow of goods of a strategic nature or smuggled and stolen goods.

The policy that applies to the export of goods differs from sector to sector. If you require policy information regarding the export of specific goods, you should provide the Import and Export Control office at the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) with details of the particular goods you want to export.

Not all goods or products are subject to export control measures. A list of goods that are subject to export control measures is available from ITAC. It can also be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to you on request.

What you should do

  1. Download and complete the applicable application form.
  2. Submit the forms to the Directorate: Import and Export Control.

How long does it take to Acquire an Export Permint

The turnaround time for processing an application is two working days on average, with an exception of Export Permits for scrap metals, which take 10 working days for circulation, plus time for processing and issuing.

How much does it cost

The service is free.

Forms to complete to Start an Export Business

Who to contact to Start an Export Business.

Export Control
Tel:0861 843 384 / 012 394 3590/1
Physical addressThe Import and Export Unit, International Trade Administration Commission, 77 Meintjies Street, Block D, Sunnyside, Pretoria, 0001
Postal addressImport and Export Control, Private Bag X192, Pretoria, 0001
Web addresshttp://www.itac.org.za

How to Start an Export Business in 6 Steps

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