South Africa firearm importation for hunters just got a bit more complicated. Hunters on their way to South Africa must be aware of several new requirements this year for the importation of their hunting firearms and ammunition.
First, hunters from the United States must have their US Customs Form 4457 stamped and dated for the year of importation. That means if you are hunting in South Africa in 2018, your Customs Form 4457 must be dated for 2018. US Customs will tell you the form does not expire and that you can use it multiple times from year to year. But the South African Police (SAPS), who handle South Africa firearm importation, is demanding that the form be renewed every year you travel to South Africa with firearms.
You can get a new form from the US Customs website. Complete the form with your firearm’s make, model and serial number, then take it the nearest Customs office to have it stamped and signed by an agent. Alternatively, you can do this at an international airport before leaving the US, but you will need to allot an extra hour or two between your flights.
Hunters from Non-English-Speaking Countries
The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) is warning hunters from non-English speaking countries that the South African Police at OR Tambo International Airport now require that all of the documentation for a temporary firearm importation permit be in English when applying upon arrival at the airport. You can avoid this issue by having an South Africa firearm importation permit issued to you in advance. You can fill out the application using PHASA’s SAPS520 Online Tool.
Application Services Simplify Importing Your Guns
Although you can apply and receive temporary South Africa firearm importation permits upon arrival, or apply online for a permit in advance, there is another hassle-free way to get your permit. PHASA offers an import permit application service. For $160 they will handle the application process for you, get your permit issued and have a representative from Go 2 Safari Concierge meet you at the airport with the permit. The representative will assist you with clearance of firearms as well. You can contact PHASA at +012-667-2048 (dial 011 first from the US) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember that all hunters transiting South Africa with firearms for a hunt elsewhere (whether in Africa or another continent) must also have a transit permit for their guns. If you do not have a transit permit your firearm will not be transferred on to your final destination. PHASA can assist with transit permits as well.
A Warning on Flying into Durban
If you are flying directly into Durban King Shaka International Airport, be aware that this airport does not have a permanent Designated Firearms Officer to issue temporary South Africa firearm importation permits. Hunters should have a pre-issued permit to present upon arrival. Otherwise your firearm may be impounded until your departure from South Africa.
Requirements for Carriage of Ammunition
When traveling to and within South Africa never pack ammunition in your gun case, even if your airline allows it. Air travel regulations in South Africa do not allow ammunition to be packed in gun cases, and some regional airports do not allow ammo packed in your luggage either. PHASA recommends packing all ammo in a lockable case that can be checked as a separate luggage item in addition to the firearms. This applies to flights within South Africa. Be prepared to remove your ammo from inside your baggage and check it as a separate item. Use a box that can be locked (US hunters should use a TSA accessible lock) and label or tag the box as you would other luggage. This will prevent delays during the bag screening process and ensure your ammo arrives at your final destination.