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Buying A Car And Importing To South Africa

Whether you are a foreigner or a citizen of the beautiful land of South Africa, there are certain important facts you need to know if you want to buy a car overseas and import it to South Africa. Ignoring these vital facts might be the difference between you successfully buying your car and riding it in South Africa; or having it impounded by the customs and being seen as a lawbreaker. In this article, we have covered the salient points you need to be aware of when buying a car overseas and importing it to South Africa.

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Who Can Buy Cars Overseas And Import To South Africa

  • You can only import a second-hand vehicle into South Africa if you have been granted a permit to do so.
  • South Africa has a motor vehicle manufacturing industry within its borders, hence, importation of vehicles is restricted to protect their cause.
  • Permits are only issued under specifically defined circumstances.
  • Mainly returning South African nationals and immigrants who have permanent residence are permitted to bring vehicles registered in their names into the country.

Which Cars Can I Buy And Import To South Africa

Usually, only cars in limited production are allowed to enter South Africa borders. Here a list of cars to buy and import;

  •  racing cars can be imported by a driver or racing drivers’ club with a valid racing driver’s license.
  • vintage passenger vehicles, older than 40  subject to a check by the South African Veteran and Vintage Association
  • specially designed vehicles such as bulletproof cars, ambulances, fire trucks, mobile cranes, and others which are not available locally.
  • inherited vehicles.
  • Only right-hand drive vehicles are allowed in South Africa

Documents to Import Your Vehicle From Overseas

You will be required to submit the following documents to import your vehicle from overseas;

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If you are a South African citizen;

  • identity  document or passport
  • letter from employer confirming permanent employment abroad and reflecting period of employment (salary advices, payslips, job offers, job contracts, tax returns, work permits, etc. are not considered proof of employment)
  • a certified copy of the official foreign vehicle registration certificate

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If you are a bona fide immigrant,

  • a copy of your South African permanent residence certificate
  • a copy of your foreign passport (page with photo and details)
  • a copy of your foreign motor vehicle registration certificate
  • proof of study or research to be concluded where applicable.

If you are buying and importing a used car, you will need to obtain and complete the following forms;

  • obtain a letter of authority from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).
  • Complete the Application for the importation of a second-hand or used vehicle form (IE462). This form is available on the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) website.

Although ITAC may not charge any direct fees for their service, you will need to pay the customs duty to the South African Revenue Service (SARS). The exact amount owed is calculated as a percentage of the value of the car, as stipulated in the ‘Customs and Excise Act. Customs costs are made up of a fixed percentage of the car’s value (40%) and VAT (15%), as well as an ad valorem component for cars valued over ZAR130,000 (from 0.78% to 20%). All this can add up to a whopping 70% of your car’s value as customs tax.

Once all the documents have been completed and submitted, processing of these documents should normally be completed within 5 working days. You can avoid the hassle and stress involved in doing this paper work by just employing the services of an car-import agency.

If you are an immigrant, you will only be issued a permit to bring in a second-hand/ used car when you fulfil these conditions;

  • Application form IE462 must be completed and applications can only be considered when permanent residence status has been issued by the Department of Home Affairs.
  • Attach a copy of the motor vehicle registration certificate, a copy of the applicant’s foreign passport and a copy of the permanent residence certificate to the duly completed application form for consideration.
  • Imported vehicles may not be disposed of within a period of 24 months from the date of importation.
  • In the event of permanent residence not being available, SARS, Customs and Excise must be approached for temporary clearance.

If you are a physically disabled person, and you need to import a specially designed vehicle; you need to meet the following criteria before you can be issued a permit;

  • Application form IE463 must be completed and proof in the form of a certificate, issued by a medical practitioner that the applicant is in fact disabled as required.
  •  A copy of the applicant’s South African passport or ID (page with barcode and details) and a copy of the relevant rebate permit must also be attached.
  • Full details of the vehicle must be submitted and the imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years from the date of importation.

To import an inherited vehicle, as a South African citizen/national, the following conditions must be met before a permit can be granted

  • Form IE463 must be completed.
  • The heir must submit a copy of his/her South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details), a copy of the will, a copy of the deceased’s ID or passport, a copy of the motor vehicle registration certificate in the name of the deceased and a copy of the death certificate.
  • The imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years from the date of importation.

As a South African citizen/national, you can only import a racing car under the following conditions

  • A racing car can only be imported by a racing driver or a racing Association.
  • The proposed importer must submit a copy of his/her international, national, or regional Motorsport South Africa (MSA) competition racing car driver’s license and a written confirmation that a copy of the import permits notification may be forwarded to MSA.
  • A copy of his South African identification document or passport (page with barcode and details) must also accompany the application.
  • An affidavit confirming where (which country) the vehicle will be imported from must also be provided.
  • Racing vehicles to be imported are those to be used for circuit or track racing events only.
  • Imported racing vehicles may not be registered locally and may not be used on SA national roads. The imported racing vehicle may not be disposed of for a period of two years from the date of importation.

If your dream car is a vintage car, there are certain requirements you have to submit to successfully import it to South Africa.

  • Vintage cars are also regarded as collector’s items, and they are usually cars older than 40 years.
  • Application form IE463 must be completed.
  • Full details of the vintage vehicle importation must be provided and a copy of the applicant’s South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details) must be attached to the application form..
  • All requests for such vehicles are, inter alia, discussed with the industry and the South African Veteran and Vintage Association, which organisation complies with international criteria.
  • Vehicles regarded as collector’s items must be considered collector’s items internationally.
  • Application form IE463 must be completed, full details of the vehicle must be submitted and the applicant must also attach a copy of his/her South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details).
  • An affidavit confirming where (which country) the vehicle will be imported from must also be provided.
  • The imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years from the date of importation.

CONCLUSION

Buying and importing a car from overseas is quite straightforward if you have all the required documents and eligibility. The services of a clearing/ import agent will make it easier to import your dream ride. All imported vehicles are subject to the issuing of a Letter of Authority by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), www.nrcs.org.za

Blessing Afolabi

Blessing Afolabi is a writing enthusiast. She enjoys reading about science, leadership, and any other edifying materials. She's willing to go the extra mile in curating the right kind of content. When she's not writing, she's busy reading, chatting, or just hanging out with friends.

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