Firearm import regulations

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is responsible for the issuing of temporary firearms import permits for visiting hunters at all ports of entry to South Africa.

You can either apply for your temporary firearm import at your arrival, with which we will assist you, or we can arrange that the temporary firearm import permit is issued before your arrival. There is a cost involved for this service, please refer to our price list for the cost.

Fill in the temporary firearm import permit application SAP520 (notes on completing SAPS520) in advance if possible and bring it with you. The SAP520 can be filled out on arrival at the SAPS Firearm Office. We do supply our clients with a copy of the form when booking with us. You can also download the form and the notes on completing the SAPS520 from our website.

Alternatively, we can complete all the necessary documentation and apply for the import licencese before you arrive, this does, however, have a cost attached, but resolves any issues before your arrival. If you prefer this method let us know at least one month before your intended date of departure and we will gladly arrange it for you.

Documents to have with you:

  • Your passport.
  • Your return airline ticket.
  • Firearms license and/or export permit from your country of origin. The officially stamped Customs form 4457 is acceptable for USA citizens. Please ensure that the date in the top right-hand corner did not expire.
  • Letter of invitation by us.
  • Proof of export.
  • A letter by yourself explaining that you will be hunting with the rifle (refer to all the rifles you are importing) including a list of the animals you will be hunting with the specific rifle. We will give you assistance on the animals once I know what calibers you will be using.
  • Other supporting documentation that you can provide. The better your motivation the quicker it goes.
  • A letter from a government organization (e.g.... Police) written in English stating that you have been authorized to temporary export the rifle, it must contain your name, make of rifle, the caliber, serial no of the rifle and the type of rifle.

Firearm regulations.

  • You may only import one rifle per caliber.
  • You may only import 200 rounds per caliber.
  • You may not import ammo for a caliber you do not import.
  • Handguns will only be allowed in the country for hunting purposes. You will need a letter from an association in your country that confirms that the handgun will be used and is suitable for hunting.
  • All firearms must have the manufacturers serial number or any mark with which the firearm can be identified, stamped in the prescribed manner, on the barrel or the frame or on the action. Please make sure that the number corresponds with the number on your license and the export permit issued to you. The number must be visible to the police inspector, or you will have to strip your rifle for them to check the number or mark.

Prohibited firearms.

  • The following firearms may not be imported into South Africa.
  • Fully automatic rifles.
  • Semi-automatic rifles.
  • Handguns for self-defense.
  • Weapons that falls under military categories.
  • Not prohibited, but you may not hunt with a .22lr. (Nature Conservation bylaw.)

Please note.

The SAPS do not provide safekeeping for rifles. If you bring in prohibited firearms, bring in more than what is allowed or are not in possession of the correct paperwork and the temporary import permit is not issued you must immediately export the firearm or voluntary surrender the firearm to the state, no compensation will be paid and the firearm will be destroyed.

General conditions for temporary import permits.

  • Although I will provide a safe for keeping the rifles in, you will be by law responsible for the safe carrying, storage, custody, and transport of firearms and ammunition.
  • You may only use the firearm for the purpose as set out in the permit.
  • You may not transfer the firearm to anybody in RSA without first obtaining the written consent from the Firearm Central Registry.
  • When you leave RSA the rifle for which you have the permit must accompany you.
  • The maximum period for which the permit will be issued is six months.
  • You must be over 21 to qualify for a permit.
  • You may not be in possession of more cartridges than determined by the Registrar or the amount that is on the permit.
  • If you did not get a permit to import your rifle upon entering RSA you will face serious consequences upon leaving RSA, including being arrested.


You may be granted a permit for more than one shotgun of the same caliber, subject to a written motivation by yourself on why you need more than one shotgun for bird hunting.p

A semi-automatic shotgun may be allowed for hunting purposes if you apply at least 21 days before arrival to the Central Firearms Registry with a motivation letter on why this type of weapon is required for hunting purposes.


The temporary import permit is issued free of charge. Do not pay any official for the issuing of the permit or the handling of your firearm. Check with your airline if they charge a handling fee for firearms.

Please check on your departure if your firearm(s) will be arriving on the same flight as yourself. Only you are allowed to sign for your firearms. It is a costly and time-consuming operation to get your firearms if they do arrive a day or two after you arrived.

No permit is necessary for a bow.


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