When traveling to South Africa, the law about importing and exporting weapons can be confusing. You need to gather very important documentation and there are important ways to complete the permit forms (SAPS 520). Umdende Hunting Safaris would like you to do this application trouble-free, so we have put together the 3 easiest ways…

  1. Complete the application yourself
  2. Make use PHASA’s highly reliable permit service or;
  3. RENT a firearm


If you want to do it yourself;


  1. SAPS 520 – DO NOT SIGN YET – Signing gets done on arrival, in front of the Fire arms border police.


DO NOT SIGN THE FORM YET – Signing gets done on arrival, in front of the Firearms border police, when you go through the RED ZONE “Goods to declare” section of the airport.

  1. Certified copy of Applicant’s passport – this must be the page on which the photo and passport details are reflected.
  1. Certified proof of ownership of firearm, e.g. Legal Licence, Permit, Certificate, Authorization or any other documentary proof confirming lawful possession of the firearm.

Examples of Documentation to prove ownership:

  • USA: Custom Form 4457 – contact your nearest airport for this
  • UK: Copy of your firearm License or Certificate
  • Europe: Firearms Possession Licence (Waffenbesitzkarte)
  • European: Firearms Pass (Europaeischer Feuerwaffenpass)
  • Other: A letter from your local sheriff in the form of an affidavit confirming ownership or invoice from a gun shop where you have purchased the firearm.
  1. Copy of your flight itinerary.
  1. Copy of Invitation Letter from your Hunting Outfitter.

To avoid unnecessary delays at the South African Police Station, please make sure to have all your paperwork ready at arrival. The booking in of weapons takes about twenty minutes, even if papers have been filled in before the time. This should be taken into account when travelling in Groups and for connecting flights.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at


  1. All firearms are to be transported in lockable hard cases.
  1. All ammunition to be transported in a separate lockable case/box in your carry luggage weighing no more than 5kg (11lbs) in total including the box. (Confirm these details with your specific airline). The box must have a key or a TSA approved combination lock and must be placed in the checked luggage. A maximum of 5kgs (11lbs) is allowed per firearm carrying passenger.
  1. All sporting weapons must be packed and transported in an IATA approved lockable hard firearm case. (Confirm these details with your specific airline).
  1. All firearms must be declared at the time of check in and must be handled via the designated firearm handling process.
  1. No more than two rifles per case per passenger keeping in mind the firearms must be of a different calibre.
  1. Only 200 rounds in total per calibre, with a firearm license that they are in possession of, can be brought into South Africa.
  1. The 200 rounds cannot weigh more than 5kg as the airlines will not accept this. Should the 200 rounds weigh more than 5kg, less than 5kg of ammo will have to be brought into the country.
  1. Firearms must bear the manufacturer’s serial number or any other mark by which the firearm can be identified. The identification number must be stamped and the mark affixed in the prescribed manner on the barrel, the frame or the receiver of the firearm.
  1. Handguns are allowed into the country for hunting purposes only and therefore you need to submit the following additional documentation:

–  An Invitation Letter from your Hunting Outfitter stating the handgun will be used for hunting purposes only;

–  A motivational letter from you stating that you will be using the handgun for hunting purposes only and any other relevant motivation.

  1. Semi-Automatic shotguns need additional documentation – A letter of motivation from you must be submitted, stating the reason/s for bringing it into the country.
  1. Any person under the age of 21 that wishes to apply for a temporary import permit has to include a motivational letter with the application proving that he/she is a capable hunter. Any additional motivational letters from third parties will help with the application.
  1. In case of the import of a Handgun or Semi-Automatic shotgun, a letter of motivation from you must be submitted, stating the reason/s for bringing it into the country. The firearm owner must apply for the forms from The Central Firearms Registry offices well in advance (at least 6 weeks) Office number +27 12 353 6111.
  1. Not more than one of the same calibre or gauge.
  1. If you are travelling with Lufthansa you will have to pay an additional 50 Euro weapon handling fee on their flight back. This is payable in Rand or by Credit Card.
  1. Should a firearm not be declared on arrival and a temporary import permit not issued, you will face severe penalties and possible arrest if detected.
  1. Ensure that your firearms arrive on the same flight as you do. Contact all airline companies for the different sectors of your flight before making reservations, for their specific regulations regarding transport of firearms and ammunition. In the event of the firearm arriving on a separate flight, the firearm/s will be held by the SAPS until such time as you claim ownership in person.
  1. Your firearms may only be signed for by yourself. It will not be released to any other person.
  1. The temporary import permit serves as your firearm license in South Africa. It enables you to buy ammunition in South Africa for the calibre noted on the permit.
  1. You must have the temporary import permit on you at all times while you are in possession of your firearms.
  1. The firearms MUST be locked in a firearm safe when you are not using it.

We at Umdende Hunting Safaris, however suggest you use South Africa’s reliable permit service offered by PHASA (Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa). PHASA will help you complete the papers correctly and assist with special requirements, ensuring you have a trouble-free arrival in South Africa with your firearms.

The service includes a Bangy Travel member meeting you at the SAPS office at OR Tambo International with your permits. The representative will assist you with the clearance of your firearms. It is very easy – PHASA can apply for your permits on your behalf, prior to your arrival! Costs are very competitive and PHASA accept payments via credit card or bank transfers. Authorization forms can be requested from the PHASA offices.

Scanned readable documentation not bigger than 4MB can be emailed to Documentation can also be couriered to Mrs T. Du Plooy, PHASA, 71 Lobelia Lane, Irene, Centurion, 0157, Republic of South Africa

Documentation needed is:

  1. SAPS520 form
  2. Certified copy of applicants Passport
  3. Certified copy of applicant’s ownership
  4. Copy of flight itinerary
  5. Copy of invitation letter from your Hunting Outfitter
  6. Proof of payment.

PHASA will require all necessary documentation at least 25 days (in some cases 6 weeks) prior to your arrival.

PHASA can also help you arrange your Shotgun or Semi-Automatic gun to be imported, as long as you provide them with the necessary documentation, at least 35 days prior to arrival.

When you leave this huge application in PHASA’s hands your Temporary Import Permit canl be couriered to you before your departure to South Africa.

Read carefully through the PHASA Terms and Conditions, to make sure of your responsibilities towards the process.

You can contact Ms Tersia du Plooy from the PHASA-offices, should you want them to help you with your application.

PHASA Contact details:


Tel: +27 12 667 2048

Fax: +27 12 667 2049


Please see Firearms for a list of available rental firearms.

While Umdende Hunting Safaris exercises the utmost care to ensure your/ your group / guest’s safety at all times, we cannot be held responsible for any loss, acts of God, illness or accidents whatsoever. Your Professional Hunter will outline the Safety Procedures and Risks involved with your hunt, please respect them. Each guest is required to sign an Indemnity Form on arrival.