Weapons Import Procedures

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South Africa Firearms Import Permit Process

  1. Sporting firearms may be readily imported into South Africa. You may bring up to three firearms per hunter (however most airlines limit you to 2) and 200 rounds of ammo per firearm but again airline regulations allow only 5 kg/11 lbs of ammo TOTAL per passenger. The average weight of a factory loaded ammo box of 20 shells per box runs from 1 lb 4 ounces to 2 lbs.
  2. Prior to the day of your flight you will need to take a trip down to the local Customs and Border Patrol Office (usually located at all international airports) and get a Form 4457 (Certificate of Registration of Personal Effects Taken Abroad). These Custom Offices are normally open 9 – 5, Monday – Friday, but it would be best to call before you go to ensure that there will be somebody available to assist you. When you go, take the guns that you will be taking to Africa with you, this is required for bows as well. The U.S. Customs Form 4457 must be completed and stamped by Customs in the USA before boarding your flight to Africa. It proves ownership of personal items, such as rifles, taken out of the country. *You will need this Form upon arrival in Africa, AND upon return to the US.
  3. This is a very easy procedure. They will sign and stamp a customs form that includes the manufacturer, model and serial number of each firearm. The reason for this form is to show the US Customs people when you return to the USA that you owned the guns prior to your departure and that you are bringing back the same guns that you took out of the country. Be sure to have that form available on your return. Since the United States does not require your sporting rifles to be registered you must have this form to show the South African police. This will suffice as proof of ownership for the required SAP Form 520 that will be discussed below.
  4. You need to get a letter of invitation to come on a hunt from your PH prior to traveling to South Africa. As a hunting outfitter, we can help with that. Also, check your passport and make sure it is current. Some countries have different expiration rules. For example, South Africian visitors are required to carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. So do your research!
  5. You will need proof of ownership for your guns as described above.
  6. Don’t book your flight online. There are seldom bargains and we recommend having someone to help you if there are problems. If you’re not really comfortable making your own reservations for international travel, contact a good, quality hunting consultant or booking agency to book your travel itinerary and help you with getting prepared for your upcoming hunt This is especially important if you are bringing your own weapons with you.
  7. Get trip insurance!
  8. Go to a US Customs office and get your Firearms listed on a Form 4457 called “Certificate Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad”. You will also need to fill out an application form (SAP Form 520) for the South African Police Service. This form has proof of ownership for your guns and a letter of invitation from your outfitter.
  9. There are multiple reputable weapons importing assistance companies we can recommend to you should you wish to use their services. We do highly recommend this as it virtually negates the possibility of “incorrect paperwork complications” upon arrival and departure.

Firearm Requirements

Form SAP520

  • We will send this to you upon receipt of booking deposit
  • Complete page 2 – E2.1 to E25.4 – Natural Persons details
  • Complete page 4 – G1 to G5 and G8 thru G9.2 – Import/Export Details
  • Complete page 5 – I1.1 to I5 – Details of Firearms and ammo
  • DO NOT SIGN! You do this in South Africa! Also, the date format is year/month/day
Please view this sample E520 for instructions on how to fill out your form

Proof of Ownership

  • USA: Custom Form 4457 – We will send this to you upon receipt of booking deposit). This must be filled out and signed by a US Customs Officer before your trip (take your gun to your local international airport’s customs office prior to your trip).
  • UK or Europe: Copy of your firearm license

Invitation Letter

  • This Invitation Letter will come from us. You will need to add your personal details and firearms details to the letter.

Airline Ticket

  • You will need to show your airline arrival and departure details at the South Africa Police Station upon arrival.


CONTACT: HENRY DURHEIM | EMAIL: henry@riflepermits.com