Removals and Moving to South Africa

Moving to South Africa

At Irish Movers / Beazley Removals, we understand that shipping your belongings is one of the most complex and sensitive concerns, while moving worldwide. As you focus on upcoming overseas relocation issues – a new country with new customs and probably a new language, Beazley  Removals takes care of the actual international Removal of your household and personal effects for you, ensuring a completely effective, stress-free and seamless relocation.

Our goal is to assist our customer in creating a stress free international move customised to fit both operational and budgetary requirements. Beazley Removals provides customised international removals services and competitive pricing for Private & Corporate clients. It doesn’t matter whether you are moving to the USA or Australia  or you are looking for Intra European moving within the European Union, Beazley Removals gives you the opportunity to experience peaceful moving process and top quality services.

Our Removal services, door to door shipping, include clear planning for every aspect of the relocation process. Together with our international relocation experience, dedication and commitment we manage your entire moving, while guaranteeing you peace of mind.

Our door to door shipping services include:-

  • Assessing your moving requirements
  • Export packing your effects at residence and loading container at residence, we can also receive your goods delivered from different suppliers at our loading facility
  • Consolidation and container loading of your goods into a 20’ or 40’ containers for shipping
  • Documents preparation, including detailed inventory, customs requirements, insurance requirements and other required documents for international moving
  • Overseas shipping of your goods to anywhere in the world through airfreight or sea freight. We usually use sea freight shipping 90% of the time
  • Monitor and track progress of your shipment
  • Customs clearance and release of goods
  • Unloading, delivery and unpacking at your new destination
  • Door to door shipping is from origin to destination – including all ground services

For a free Quotation please call – Dublin 01 6166010 – Galway 090 9684636 – Email

Removals to South Africa – packing and shipping

Smoothing the journey to South Africa

What can transform a pretty daunting move into an experience you feel on top of? Emigrating to any new country has its own potential pitfalls, and South Africa is no exception. If you want to get on with contemplating the exciting prospect of a new life in the South African sunshine, getting the right professional help from people who know the ropes is vital.

What about duties, VAT and tax?

For example, what personal and household effects can take with you? Which ones might you have to pay duty or tax on, and which can’t you take into South Africa?

A peculiar feature of importing goods into South Africa is that the owner of the shipment must be in South Africa before customs clearance can take place. Provided that this is the case, household goods and personal effects can be imported duty-free. If you’re a returning resident, you must have been absent from South Africa for an unbroken period of at least 6 months, and to avoid paying duty and VAT, you will need to prove to South African Customs that when you departed from South Africa you had no intention of ever returning. This will include proving that all bank accounts in South Africa were closed and that no property was retained in South Africa. Also you will need to prove that you owned a home and obtained permanent status in your country of origin.

How long does it take to ship my belongings?

You will also want to know how long the removals process is going to take. For a Full Container Load, allow a door-to-door transit time of 6-8 weeks. A Shared Container Shipment – known as groupage – will almost certainly be cheaper, but will take longer, 10-12 weeks door-to-door.

Can I bring my car or motorbike?

AS far as your car or motor bike is concerned, if you’re a first-time migrant to South Africa, you can import one motor vehicle per family free of duty. First, before the vehicle is shipped to South Africa, you must get a letter of authority (LOA) issued by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). This LOA has to be submitted to customs at the time of clearance. You will also require an import permit issued by the department of trade and industry. Duties and VAT on importing a vehicle are calculated upon the value accepted by customs plus 10%, which is called the customs value. Duty is then charged at 58% of this customs value. To calculate the VAT, this duty amount is added to the customs value, then 14% VAT is applied to the combined customs value and duty.

To avoid paying duty and VAT on your car, you will need to prove to South African Customs that when you departed from South Africa you had no intention of ever returning. That will include proving that you closed all bank accounts in South Africa and retained no property in South Africa. Also you will need to prove that you owned a home and obtained permanent status in your country of origin.It’s also worth noting that no left hand drive vehicles purchased after January 1st 2000 will be allowed entry.

Don’t worry if it all sounds complicated, because your removals company will cover all of this. The important thing is to make sure the one you choose is reputable, and get them involved as early as possible. They know exactly what needs to be done, how and when. Look for a BAR Bonded company – it’s the international removals industry’s equivalent of ABTA or ATOL in the travel business, a sign that you’re covered.

The Beazleys Advantage

At Irish Movers / Beazleys, we are highly experienced in this field, and have a specialist dedicated international division on hand to advise you of everything you need to do, pack and fill in. We will appoint a dedicated Move Manager to you, who will look after your move from start to finish, right to your new South African front door!

Beazleys International only use members of FIDI and OMNI, international trade associations, which means that our overseas partners operate to the same high standards. It’s your reassurance that the quality of service provided in Ireland is matched by that provided by the agent at the other end in South Africa.

Whatever the particular demands of your move, it’s likely that we have come across them many times before! We’ve been asked most questions over the years, although there’s always something new.

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required                                          

  • Original passport (including page with entry stamp)
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / express or telex release / (copy of) air waybill (AWB)
  • Detailed inventory
  • Permanent residence documents / temporary residence permit / work permit
  • Affidavit (returning citizens only)
  • Customs form DA 302 and P.1.160
  • Diplomatic clearance (diplomats)
  • Certificate from Embassy signed by South African Department of Foreign Affairs (diplomats) 


Specific Information

  • The owner of the goods must possess required documents and forward a copy to agent prior to import.
  • The owner of the goods must be present for Customs clearance.
  • The shipment of household items, new furniture, and precious metal objects are treated as a commercial import and subject to the payment of full duties.
  • The following household goods may be imported duty free if meeting the following requirements:
    • Works of art forming a part of a bona fide household shipment or are over 100 years old.
    • The articles have been in the use and possession for more than 12 months and are not for sale or other disposal.
  • Returning residents must have been abroad for a period of at least 6 consecutive months.
  • Diplomats may import items duty free.
  • Embassy will require the following documents before diplomats can apply for the Certificate A or B:
    • Copy of detailed inventory
    • Copy of OBL / AWB
  • Affidavit must state the reason for arrival in to South Africa (returning citizens only).


Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Customs form DA 304/A (only needed for automobiles / motorcycles)
  • Vehicle registration (only needed for automobiles / motorcycles)
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / express or telex release / (copy of) air waybill (AWB) (only needed for automobiles / motorcycles)
  • Document showing that vehicle has been in the owner of the goods’ use and possessions abroad for more than 12 months prior to the importation of the vehicle (e.g., original purchase invoice, insurance certificate, etc.).
  • Valuation certificate (3 copies)
  • Import permit
  • Letter of authority (LOA) issued by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in Pretoria (must be submitted at the time of clearance)


Specific Information

  • No left-hand drive motor vehicles can be imported if registered on or after January 1, 2000.
  • The owner of the goods must be in possession of the import permit and letter of authority prior to the arrival of any motor vehicles, motorbikes, motor scooters, or motorcycles (anything motorized); delays related to the permit may result in demurrage charges (also applies to diplomats).
  • All motor cars, motor bikes, scooters, or any other motorized vehicles are subject to Customs exam.
    • Owner of the goods must be present for pickup of motorized vehicle at Customs warehouse.
  • The owner of the goods must be in the country at least 10 business days prior to arrival of an ocean vessel.
    • For air shipments the owner of the goods must arrive prior to the shipment in order to proceed with the Customs documentation.
    • The origin agent cannot send the shipment until the destination agent gives a “green light”.
    • If the shipment is sent prior to receiving a “green light” from the destination agent, Customs clearance charges are applicable.
  • A faxed copy of the letter of authority and the import permit must be received by the agent to avoid a delay of Customs clearance.
    • Originals of the documents will be required after the owner of the goods
  • Motorized vehicles should not be shipped until transferee has proven possession of all required documents to Customs and has received written permission for import.
  • Temporary residents must pay in cash.
  • Vehicles cannot be sold for at least 2 years after the date of importation.
  • The rate of value added tax (VAT) is assessed on the import value of the vehicle.
  • A fee is payable to the South Africa Bureau of Standards.
    • Contact agent for details.
  • Incomplete or missing documents may result in the detainment or destruction of the shipment.
  • Returning residents must pay full duties and taxes.
  • Temporary residents must provide a Customs bond to cover full duties / taxes.
    • Temporary residents do not need an import permit.
    • A refund may be possible at the time of export; contact agent for details.
  • Foreign diplomats pay no duties or taxes, subject to provisions of the diplomatic clearance certificate, and proof of value.



Documents Required

  • Rabies vaccination certificate
  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Import permit


Specific Information

  • An import permit may be granted after the owner of the goods has made arrangements for the period of quarantine required for pets travelling from most, but not all countries; check with agent.
  • Call agent for restrictions on the import of live animals.


Antiques, Artifacts, Carpets, Paintings


Documents Required

  • Copy of death certificate
  • Copy of will of deceased or certified relevant extract, or copy of Probate from the court if the deceased died intestate; English translation required.
  • Inventory with lawyer’s declaration that the imported goods are the legatee’s rightful share of the estate
  • South Africa Bureau of Standards Letter of Authority in Pretoria (not applicable for second-hand household effects unless motorized vehicles)
  • Import permit (not applicable for second-hand household effects unless motorized vehicles)
  • Declaration from the Legatee confirming permanent residency in South Africa and the right to share of the estate


Specific Information

  • An inventory is required only if the copy of the deceased’s will or other document does not specifically detail the goods to be imported.
  • Items of inheritance may be imported duty free if the legatee is permanently residing in South Africa.
  • Duty is payable on inherited motor cars, motorcycles, and mopeds.
  • Goods should not be shipped until Customs has authorized duty-free entry.


IAM Note:  Failure to comply with requirements may result in the destruction of goods by Customs or return of the entire consignment to the port of origin at the owner of the goods’ expense.


Wedding Trousseau / Gifts

Documents Required

  • Invoice
  • Import permit (if requested by Customs – applies to second-hand goods)


Specific Information

  • Items are subject to the payment of duties.


Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Local currency of over $10,000; gold coins, coin and stamp collections and unprocessed gold must be declared.
  • Endangered species of plants or wildlife, alive or dead, including parts and articles made from them (require CITES permit)
  • Animal and animal byproducts
  • Medicines for personal use (note from physician and prescription required)
  • Cigarettes (200), cigars (20), tobacco (250g)
  • Perfume (50 ml)
  • Eau de toilette  (250ml)
  • Goods for personal use
  • Wine / liquor / alcohol
    • Import permit and liquor removal certificate required.
      • If less than 15 L a liquor removal certificate is not required however, duties and taxes will be applicable.
    • A wine list is required and must be loaded last in the shipment.
      • Customs exam will be applicable.
    • Items subject to payment of duties.
    • Documentation requirements must be met prior to the arrival of the shipment.
  • Dangerous goods / firearms
    • Import permit and South African Police Firearm Registrar Certificate SAP 312 are required.
    • Firearms must be hand carried by the owner of the goods.
      • Shipment cannot be cleared if the firearms are included in the sea / air shipments
    • Items are subject to the payment of duties.


IAM Note:  Travelers may be asked to pay deposit on expensive items like laptops, which is refunded at re-exported.  Returning residents are advised to register personal items (jewelry, watches, cameras, laptops, etc.) before leaving the country to avoid paying duty on these items upon re-importation.


Prohibited Items

  • Narcotics
  • Illegal drugs
  • Plants and vegetable products
  • Pornographic books and magazines
  • Walkie-talkies and radios (may include other prohibited communication devices)
  • Animal products (certain feathers, furs, skins, tusks, or animals identified under protected specifies regulations)


Consignment Instructions

Recommended:  Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.


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