Hong Kong

Hong Kong and South Africa have a growing business relationship. Though sending shipments to Hong Kong from South Africa is generally straightforward, here are some things to bear in mind.

Country Information


Import, export & transit of equipment designed for military purposes, firearms, weapons & their parts as well as any electronic components may require a license. Please contact DHL prior to shipping these items.

Specify the relevant Incoterms in the invoice for Customs valuation.

Please contact DHL if you are planning to send Carnet shipments.



Hong Kong Customs defines a document as general correspondence (business or private) as well as:

  • Advertising brochures and pamphlets
  • Airline tickets, blank stock (NI)
  • Airline tickets, issued or validated
  • Annual reports
  • Artwork including drawings / proofs / layouts
  • Blank forms
  • Blueprints
  • Booklets, brochures (non-advertising)
  • Books: hardback or paperback for non-commercial use
  • Business cards
  • Calendars
  • Cash letters (NI)
  • Catalogues
  • Charts and graphs
  • Cheques, blank (NI)
  • Cheques, cancelled (NI)
  • Cheques, cashier (NI)
  • Computer printouts
  • Credit card blanks (NI)
  • Credit cards (NI)
  • Deeds
  • Diaries
  • Diplomatic mail 1
  • Documents, general business
  • Drawings and plans for technical / architectural / engineering purposes
  • Invoices, blank
  • Invoices, not blank
  • Magazines, periodicals, journals
  • Manuals, technical
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Microfiche & microfilm
  • Money orders (NI)
  • Music, printed or manuscript
  • Newspapers
  • Pamphlets
  • Paper patterns for wearing apparel
  • Passports
  • Personal mail
  • Photographs
  • Photographs as part of business reports
  • Price lists
  • Publications for public resale
  • Shipment manifest – computer generated
  • Shipping schedules
  • Transparencies
  • Visa applications
  1. Diplomatic Mail should be sent as a parcel. Sender and receiver, as shown on Waybill, should be Embassy or foreign affairs related. Please be sure to contact a local DHL for packaging and shipping requirements.


  • Alcoholic beverages 5
  • Animal products 11
  • Asbestos 12
  • Animal skins 11
  • Biological Substance Cat B, UN3373 7
  • Circuits & circuit boards 9
  • Drugs: non-prescription 13 16
  • Drugs: prescription 13 16
  • Foodstuffs 3
  • Chemicals, non-hazardous 8
  • Computer components & parts 9
  • Drugs: non-prescription 6
  • Drugs: prescription 6
  • Electronic equipment 9
  • Grain samples 2
  • Medical/dental supplies & equipment 13
  • Leather goods 11
  • Medical samples 13 16
  • Medical/dental supplies & equipment 13
  • Mobile phones, accessories and components 10
  • Narcotics: illegal 6
  • Perishables 3
  • Personal effects 15 16
  • Plant products 4
  • Plants 4
  • Radar equip.-transmitters/receivers 9
  • Seeds 4
  • Telecommunication equipment 9 10
  • Tobacco 1
  • X-ray machines 17
  1. Dutiable item, except smokeless tobacco. Consignee must have import license or pay duties. Delay 0.5-1 days for the duty payment. Import or Export of smokeless tobacco is prohibited.
  2. Importation of Rice: Consignee must have import licence from Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department. Delay: 0.5-1 day for valid licence application.
  3. Inspection by Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Exception: canned or dried food. Delay: «-1 day. Food products: shipper must clearly mention type of commodity specifically on invoice. Eggs, Eggs products, Fresh milk: Import license required, delay: 0.5-1 day for inspection with valid import license (Exception on eggs: fully cooked or constitutes one of the ingredients of any compounded food). Powdered Formula (Export): substance in powder form that is or appears to be for consumption by a person aged under 36 months, export license is always required
  4. Plants must be imported without root & soil. For Ginseng (cultivated or feral), original copy of COO to be presented upon arrival, total pieces of Ginseng must be indicated. Feral ginseng-import license required for importing seeds, Phytosanitary Certificate is required.
  5. Dutiable item. Consignee must have an import license or pay duties. Delay: 0.5-1 days for duty payment. Wine or liquor with an alcoholic strength of not more than 30% by volume, measured at a temperature of 20 degrees will be exempted from duties and license requirements. Alcoholic liquor: alcohol content, age of wine, quantity, volume and brand requirement, for exemption proof, license application or calculation of duty rate. Dutiable item transshipping through Hong Kong, permit is required for sea or land connection to final destination, delay: 4-5 days.
  6. Import, export & transit of pharmaceuticals, chemicals and dangerous drugs the like, e.g. ketamine, opium, clonazepam, cannabis, cocaine, alprazolam (-zolam) & diazepam (-zepam) are prohibited in Hong Kong.
  7. Import & transit of biological material may require permit issued by Hong Kong Dept Of Health. For transit shpt, if shipper deems shipment content is non-infectious or not exposed to infectious agents, shipper should declare explicitly on invoice and may reduce clearance delay
  8. Import, export & transit of these commodities require a permit issued by Environmental Protection Department. Delay 2-3 days
  9. Import, export & transit or equipment designed for military purposes, firearms, weapons as well as electronic components may require license. Invoice must state type of technical details.
  10. Consignee must be a license holder and must have import license from Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA). Delay: 0.5 day for valid license
  11. Shipper must state clearly the specific kind of leather & commodity (made with what kind of animals with scientific names), otherwise inspected by Hong Kong Agriculture & Fisheries Dept. Expect delays: 2 days. If under protection of endangered species as per Washington Convention, require CITES cert., import licence or certificate of origin. Delay: 1-2 days for valid import license.
  12. Import of Controlled Hazardous Chemicals: Consignee must be a permit holder of HCCO, and require import license from Environmental Protection Department. Delay: 2-3 days for valid license application.
  13. Consignee must be a licence holder and must have an import license from Hong Kong Department of Health. Delay: 1-2 days for valid permit application.
  14. Aircraft operators are increasingly imposing embargos or other restrictions on their acceptance of UN3480, Lithium Ion batteries, prepared in accordance with Packing Instruction 965 sections IA, IB and II. This is limiting Air Express Couriers ability to provide service for shipments containing this item, especially for destinations within Asia Pacific. Customers should expect additional transit time of up to 3 days, depending upon the destination and routing being used.
  15. It is not recommended using shipment description as personal effects, while it can only be used for reference, i.e. clothes (personal effect), suggest to describe actual shipment content.
  16. For medicine an Import license is still required for personal effects, as there is no personal consumption allowed for importing medicine shipments for personal use.
  17. Please advise shipper to contact receiver in Hong Kong to confirm the licenses or permits requirement & availability prior to shipment exportation



The following items are specifically not allowed to be sent with DHL to Hong Kong.

  • Chemicals, drugs, and narcotics including methamphetamine (-amphetamine), pseudoephedrine (-ephedrine), alprazolam (-zolam), diazepam (-zepam), ketamine, cocaine, heroin, opium, and cannabis
  • Firearms, parts of
  • Military equipment
  • Narcotics

This is in addition to DHL’s Global standard list of prohibited items which can be found here



The maximum weight per shipment is 3,000.0 kg (6,600.0 lb).

The maximum weight per piece is 1,000.0 kg (2,200 lb).

The maximum dimensions of each shipment are length: 120.0 cm (47 in); height: 160.0 cm (62.0 in); width: 100.0 cm (39.0 in).

Pallets are accepted.


Should you at any time require more information or telephonic assistance, please make contact with our Certified International Specialists.


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