Gun Importation South Africa

Gun importation South Africa does require pre-hunt planning. When planning your big game hunting trip to South Africa, you need to obtain a temporary firearm (gun) importation permit, and be sure that you adhere to certain rules.

Temporary permits can be obtained on arrival in South Africa. Bringing guns into South Africa is very easy as long as you have the correct paperwork. Therefore we suggest that you obtain pre-clearance of your firearm using one of the supported agents. Below is a list of documentation you will require. Once you have put together the documentation, we will then put you in contact with our preferred clearing agent. PLEASE NOTE: The paperwork is required by the agent NO LESS than 6 weeks prior to your arrival in South Africa.

  • The completed SAPS 520 Form - provided below
  • Proof of Ownership - as laid out below
  • A copy of your passport - in the format as listed below

The rest of the requirements are handled by us and/or the agency. The information listed below is for your information only. Got questions? Ask Us. For a quick link, click on topics of interest below.


Use of An Agency

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We recommend that before you embark on your African hunting safari with Mkhamba Safaris, you have all the necessary requirements for the importation of your guns into South Africa prepared ahead of arrival. To assist with this it is recommended that you use an agent.

Mkhamba Safaris will assist you with this, and make recommendations on which agents to use, once your booking with us is confirmed. Here is an idea of the documents etc you will need to facilitate the gun importation South Africa.

The Requirements

In order to successfully complete your task of gun importation South Africa you need to fulfill the following requirements:

The SAPS 520 Form

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Necessary for gun importation South Africa, this form will be sent to you when you book a big game rifle hunting safari. Here are instructions on what to fill in and how to fill it in.

q Completion of Sections D, (Type of Permit – temporary Import or Export Permit) E 1 to E25.4, G, I and J (After signing BOTH I and J sections) of the South African Police Service SAPS 520 form – Click Here

q      Please complete the SAPS 520 IN BLACK INK No other colour will be accepted.

Problems accessing the download? E-mail us and we will gladly send it on to you. Please note that you will need AdobeAcrobat Reader 5 or more to read it.

 Along with the completed copy of the SAPS 520 form you will also require the following:

Proof of Ownership

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In order to achieve your gun importation South Africa, you need to prove ownership of your firearms. To do this you must provide:

q An original notarised copy of proof of ownership of your firearms in the form of:

o       A notarised copy of your firearms license OR

o       An invoice from the gun shop where you purchased the firearms OR

In the case of U.S. Citizens

o       A letter from your local sheriff in the form of an affidavit confirming ownership OR

o       The US Customs form 4457

Passport Copy

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q An original notarised copy of your passport, which must have a minimum of four months validity after the termination of the hunt as well as a minimum of two free pages.

Documentary Proof of Export of Firearms

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q An original notarised copy of documentary proof of export of the firearms, from an official government institution from the country of origin, written in English. This can be in the form of:

o       For US citizens only, US Customs form 4457 is ESSENTIAL (one copy is sufficient)

o       For GERMAN citizens only, an original notarised copy of the documentary proof of export of the firearms in the form of INF3 customs certificate. To obtain this certificate please go to your nearest Customs office (Zoll Amt) with your firearms and any other documentation the customs house might request.

o       For UK citizens only, an original notarised copy of the Proof of Ownership and passport must be signed and stamped as true copies of the original document by a Public Notary.

A Letter of Invitation

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For gun importation South Africa you require the following:

q A letter of invitation from your hunting outfitter on their official letterhead. It must include:

1.     The Professional Hunter and Outfitters full names

2.     License numbers

3.     Province they are registered in

4.     The type of hunt

5.     The dates of your safari

6.     Where you are hunting

7.     What species you are hunting

8.     What firearms (calibres) the outfitter suggests you bringthat is applicable to your hunt.

9.     The outfitter is also required to inform you the client that you the hunter/client must be aware of the South African Firearm Regulations and that you the client/ hunter must adhere to the storage, transportation, handling and use of the firearms as laid down in the regulations, namely the Firearms Control Act 2000 (Act 60 of 2000).

10.  This letter must be signed and dated.

Firearm/Ammunition Allowances and Specifications

The firearms control laws in South Africa are very tight, therefore please take note of the following specifications and allowances for gun importation South Africa:

Airline Firearm Allowances

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Check with your airline as to the number of firearms they allow per passenger as many airlines are now specifying a maximum of two / three firearms.

Your firearms must arrive on the same flight as you. They may only be signed for by you and may not be received by any third person.


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You are allowed a maximum of four firearms, not more than one of the same caliber. (An exception to thismay apply in the case of shotguns where more than one of the same caliber may be allowed for bird hunting if an acceptable letter of motivation accompanies it).

The frame, barrel or action must be marked with a serial number.


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You may only bring ammunition applicable to the firearms that you will be bringing to South Africa, and may not bring more than 200 rounds per firearm.

Semi Automatic Shotguns or Handguns

For Semi-Automatic shotguns or handguns, you must supply a letter of motivation stating the reason for wanting to bring a semi-automatic/handgun to hunt in South Africa. It must be an original request; with an acceptably good reason otherwise consideration will not be granted. If you wish to bring a Semi-Automatic shotgun for bird shooting, or a custom made handgun the application should arrive 35 days prior to arrival at the Agents office.

Handgun Hunting

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For handgun applications: The outfitter must supply a letter confirming that the handgun will be used for hunting purposes only. If required by Central Firearms the outfitter must supply a letter of confirmation from the province where you are hunting that Nature Conservation have no objection to you hunting with a handgun.

Custom Made Firearms

In many cases if the firearm is custom made and it is not on the Central Firearms computer, you will be requested to obtain from the manufacturer a letter stating that the firearm is used solely for hunting purposes. Central Firearms may request pictures of the firearm. In this instance consideration of your application can take longer then the specified period.

In Transit Permits

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These are required to be obtained by any passenger spending the night in South Africa while in transit to a third country. The same pre-requsites apply as to obtain the normal gun importation South Africa permit.

Gun importation South Africa is not as daunting as it seems. We assure you that if you follow all these guidelines and employ a clearing agent, it will make the gun importation South Africa easier.