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

Country Information


An EORI (Economic Operator Registration & Identification) number is needed to import and export in and from the European Union. Foreigners can apply for a temporary EORI number with any Italian Customs Office. For more information and application forms please click here

Customs duties will be charged to Italian receivers for shipments valued over EUR 22.00.

The shipper must indicate the receiver’s fiscal code / VAT / IRS number as well as phone number. Samples must be sent with a typewritten Proforma Invoice with a detailed description of contents itemised by number of units and country of origin. The value of goods cannot be understated. Invoices must include the wording “For Customs purposes only”.

It is not possible to clear a shipment in the name of a foreign company if an Italian VAT number is not available.

DHL can only use the DHL EORI number for Customs Clearance purposes for low value shipments accompanied by a Proforma Invoice – this cannot be done for commercial transactions.

Goods might not be returned to origin (RTO) if this is not allowed by Italy Customs.

Temporary imports: These are cleared by a third party broker. Expect delays of at least 48 hours. Clearly state “Temporary Import” on the invoice. The receiver’s address must be indicated on invoice even for HFC shipments. Shipments sent to foreign companies attending exhibitions in Italy must be addressed to the person attending the fair, with a copy of their passport. For shipments destined to a fair or exhibition, the options are: 1) handover the shipment to a broker nominated by the receiver; 2) ship the goods with a CARNET ATA to allow temporary import (additional delays will occur); 3) provide an Italian EORI  /VAT number to clear the shipment on a permanent basis. This must be sent on a DTP basis. In case of leather content, ensure that Washington declaration or CITES paperwork is provided. If these conditions are not met, the shipment will be RTO’d. All shipments destined to a private address must specify the receiver’s mobile phone number and / or email address to ensure clearance.


Document shipments

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

  • Annual reports
  • Blank forms 2
  • Booklets, brochures (non-advertising) 2
  • Business cards
  • Catalogues 2
  • Cheques, cashier (NI) 1
  • Computer printouts
  • Credit card blanks (NI) 3
  • Credit cards (NI) 3
  • Deeds
  • Documents, general business 2
  • Event tickets 5
  • Invoices, not blank
  • Manuscripts
  • Pamphlets
  • Passports 4
  • Personal mail 2
  • Photographs as part of business reports
  • Playing cards
  • Price lists 2
  • Shipping schedules
  • Visa applications
  1. Accepted with the name of the beneficiary; if value is over USD 12,500.00 a declaration from UIC is required with the name of the beneficiary plus the clause “non-transferable”.
  2. Max weight: 5 kg (11 lb); otherwise ship send as goods.
  3. Only acceptable if not activated. Confirmation letter must be attached.
  4. Possibly subjected to customs inspection. Expect delays of at least 24 hours. If stopped by Customs for further investigation: expect delays of at least 20 days.
  5. A fully documented business case is required for authorisation prior to shipping.


Non-document shipments

  • Alcoholic beverages 1
  • Antiques 10 11
  • Books: hardback/paperback, non-commercial use 5
  • Cosmetics 3 12 18
  • Drugs: non-prescription 15 19
  • Electronic equipment 8 17
  • Animal products 2
  • Biological Substance Cat B, UN3373 4 12
  • Cologne and perfume 3 12
  • Dangerous goods, hazardous materials 20
  • Drugs: prescription 19
  • Foodstuffs 24
  • Furs 21 23
  • Items that could be used as weapons 23
  • Jewellery 20
  • Jewellery, costume 20
  • Leather goods 21
  • Medical samples 4
  • Medical/dental supplies & equipment 4
  • Personal effects 7
  • Plant products 12 13
  • Plants 13
  • Pornography 23
  • Precious metals & stones 20
  • Seeds 13
  • Ship spares 14
  • Telecommunication equipment 8
  • Televisions, television equipment 8
  • Textile articles 6
  • Tobacco 16 17 22
  • Works of art 10 11
  • X-ray machines
  1. Spirits & distillates: if destination to a company must be transferred to a certified broker with additional cost and delays; if destination is to private address: up to 1 litre, max 45 euros. Wine: if destination to a company, subject to authorisation from the Ministry of Health. Additional cost and delay if destination privates: subject to authorisation from the Ministry of Health, additional cost and delays, max 5 litres.
  2. Subject to authorization from Veterinary. Additional costs and delays will occur.
  3. Subject to authorization fm Ministry of Health. Additional costs and delays will occur. If destinated to private cnee: max 2 pcs for 2 kinds of products
  4. Subject to authorization from Ministry of Health. Additional cost and delay will occur.
  5. Additional declaration required from cnee only if for commercial use
  6. Down jacket is the only restriction for which sanitary certificate is required (from shipper) to obtain Ministry of Health autorisation in Italy. Additional cost and delay will occur.
  7. In case of duties exemption the invoice must clearly state “USED PERSONAL EFFECT” and a copy of passport is required. Also consignees contact details must be stated on Air waybill/Invoice. Customs requires a personal effect declaration for unaccompanied luggage into Italy. All above mentioned documentation must be available in CPI system
  8. Accepted only if approved by EEC. Consignor must provide the certificate of conformity to the European legislation otherwise formal authorization from Italian Ministry of Postal and Telecommunication Services required. Additional declaration required from consignee.
  9. Please contact destination prior to accepting shipment for any licenses or permits requirement.
  10. Acceptable if maximum value per shipment within Eur 10.000 if insured with DHL or if not insured only prior subscription of a letter of indemnity. Above Eur 10.000 acceptable only after Business Case approval. Business Case to be filled in Italian if within Eur 500.000 value, above must be filled in English
  11. Before to ship works of art or antiques which are more than 50 years old, it is recommended to make contact with DHL Italy first. Additional declaration required from consignee, please be sure all consignee details are mentioned on Air waybill and paperwork. This requirement also applies to paintings, coins and antique books.
  12. Please contact the regional Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (DGSA) or the local Dangerous Goods Coordinator prior to shipping.
  13. Original phytosanitary certificate issued by the origin Country required. Additional costs and delays will occur.
  14. Handed over to a Third Party broker. Additional delay: 24 hrs
  15. Tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars) must be transferred to a certified broker, then additional costs and delays to be expected. Furthermore, additional declaration required from the cnee who must have an import authorization issued by a Government monopoly
  16. Vitamin supplements: subject to authorization by the Ministry of Health; delays to be expected. For privates, personal use is limited to the amount assumed in one month and only by the importer indicated on Airwaybill and Invoice (e.g. prescription 2 pills a day = shipment may contain up to 60 pills)
  17. Electronic cigarettes and parts of are subject to excise and therefore the importer must have a special authorization (fiscal warehouse). In case the above requirements are met, shipments can be transferred to a broker with additional costs & delays. In case the above requirements are not met, shipments must be RTOd.
  18. Human hair: original fumigation/healthy certificate required in order to get the authorization from Ministry of Health. Additional cost and delay
  19. Subject to authorization from Ministry of Health. For private consignees, additional Italian medical prescription required. Additional cost and delay will occur.
  20. Max 1.000 euros per piece; 25.000 euros per shipment. Otherwise a fully documentated business case is required for authorization
  21. Subject to authorization from the State Forest Service. Import Permit required as for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora. Additional cost and delays.
  22. Shipments to privates (only from privates) can be accepted up to 50 cigarettes or 10 cigars or 50 grams smoking tobacco, total invoice value max 45 euro.
  23. A fully documented business case is required for authorization prior to shipping.
  24. Additional declaration required from consignee in order to get authorization from Ministry of Health. Additional cost and delay will occur. For private consignee: the products must be labeled and not expired. Low quantity recommended such as ° pasta  5kgs ° sweets  2kgs ° dried fruit  2kgs ° spices 250 grams ° aromatic herbs 250 grams ° infusion products (such as tea or coffee)  500 grams ° sauce and packaged food  1kg ° not alcoholic drinks  5 lt ° alcoholic drinks 1lt ° wine  5lt ° oil  5lt ° flour and rice  1kg ° jam  1kg ° dried legumes  2kgs ° food ingredients (such as sugar,vegetable stock cube,etc)  1kg ° meat and milk not importable.


Prohibited items

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

  • Airline tickets, blank stock (NI)
  • Asbestos Cheques, blank (NI)
  • Firearms, parts of
  • Bearer share certificates
  • Bearer bonds
  • Meat
  • Milk
  • Uncashed travellers cheques
  • Open tickets (lottery, football match, theatre)

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


Size and Weight notes

The maximum weight per shipment is 3,000 kg (6,600.0 lb).

The maximum weight per piece is 1,000.0 kg (2,200.0 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 – the maximum pallet height limit for ESU /ESI within Europe is 160.0 cm (62.0 in).

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

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