Travelling with Firearms

Temporary Importing of Firearms in South Africa

First you must have a CSB Form 4457 signed and sealed listing the correct serial numbers of your firearms.

You are then required to complete the SAP 520 form when applying for the temporary importation of firearms. You can download the SAPS 520 form here.  Instructions on how to complete the SAPS 520 form can be downloaded here.

Instructions on Completing the Form

  • Use black ink on the form.
  • Fill in form in BLOCK letters
  • Leave the form unsigned until finalized in front of a police officer.
  • The following documents must accompany the SAP 520 form:
    • Passport
    • Return airline ticket
    • Proof of ownership
    • Firearm licenses, documentary proof etc. For USA citizens, an officially stamped Customs
    • Declaration Form 4457 is essential.
    • Proof of export
  • Note: You must obtain documentation for the legal export of firearms from an official government institution (police or customs). This must be written in English and state the following: "It is hereby certified that the owner of the firearm(s) M (state particulars) with caliber (state caliber), serial number (state the serial number) and type (state type of weapon) is hereby authorized to temporarily export the above firearm(s) from country (state country)."
  • Invitation letter from the hunting outfitter.
  • Note: Firearms will be physically inspected to ensure that the serial number(s) match those of the licenses (proof of ownership) and the application form. Ammunition will also be inspected.

How to travel with your firearm

Your firearms should be packed in a padded lockable rifle case.  DO NOT PUT YOUR AMMUNITION IN THE CASE WITH YOUR FIREARMS!  You must declare that you are traveling with firearms when checking in your luggage at the airport.

You may be asked to open the rifle case it at the airport for inspection. Make sure your firearm is unloaded and you have removed the bolt. Have the breach open and face up for easy inspection. 

You may NOT carry ammunition in your carry-on luggage. Check each of the airlines websites that you will be flying on for their luggage weight and firearm policies.  They may differ from your international flight and it is better to find out before flying. You may be able to pack your binoculars, rangefinder and a few other items in your rifle case.

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