Almost 80,000 South Africans currently live in the US, which means that the country is a highly in-demand destination for parcels from South Africa. The countries have a strong relationship and a long history of co-operation that goes back to the 18th century.

Essential Information

Sending items to the US – General advice

If an individual HTS is valued at over USD 2,500 or is US export licensed, regardless of value, an Electronic Export Information (EEI) must be filed with the US Customs Authorities. If DHL is completing the EEI filing and the shipment is moving on an Import Express account, a Power of Attorney (POA) is required from the foreign buyer (receiver). 

Prohibited items

  • Blank cheques and credit cards in bearer form
  • Cigarettes sent to unlicensed individuals
  • Cuban cigars
  • Meat and meat products
  • Shipments from Iran (including from Iran via a third country)
    • Excluding foodstuffs intended for human consumption; carpets and other textile floor coverings; carpets used as wall hangings – these are permitted


Please note the following advice:

  • Alcoholic beverage shipments: can only be imported & delivered to licensed alcoholic beverage importers in the following states: California (CA), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Illinois (IL), Kentucky (KY), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), Missouri (MO), New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Washington (WA), Wisconsin (WI)and US Territory – Puerto Rico. CA, CO, FL, IL, KY, MI, MN, MO, NC, OR, and TN also require a state level alcohol permit as well as the Federal Permit. FDA prior notice is required for all alcohol shipments. Imports destined for any other state or to private individuals will be returned upon arrival
  • Animal products, including animal skins: Sender Tax ID number and Power of Attorney are required. The commercial invoice must include the detailed description of the commodity’s common name, genus name and country of origin. Read more
  • Chemicals (non-hazardous): Waybill and invoice must state ‘Not restricted article per IATA regulations.’ Otherwise, shipment will be held until sender or receiver is contacted for identification. An MSDS (Material Data Safety Sheet) is recommended and should be imaged
  • Clocks and watches valued over USD2,500: provide a Watch Breakdown Sheet
  • Cosmetics: Provide detailed description and end use of the item as well as the manufacturer’s full name & physical address, registration or establishment number, and cosmetic Registration number. Read more
  • Fabrics and fabric samples; textile articles and samples: provide complete name and address of manufacturer. Give a full description, including fabric content (cotton, wool, etc.), gender (man/woman/boy/girl), knit/woven; and individual value per item. Textile samples must be marked or mutilated to qualify as duty free
  • Motor vehicle parts: list manufacturer’s name and address for each vehicle part on the invoice(s)
  • Original works of art (e.g. paintings, drawings, pastels, collages, decorative plaques, sculpture/statues): invoice must state the artist’s name, year produced, edition (e.g.1/12, if applicable), and title of the artwork
  • Personal effects valued over USD200: complete a CF3299 (Declaration for free entry of personal effects) prior to importation. Used personal effects only. List receiver’s phone number, flight number, arrival date, passport number and/or Social Security Number regardless of value
  • Plants and plant products sent to California: must be properly labelled and can be shipped only in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. Packages containing these items may be inspected by appropriate agencies and may be delayed. Receiver’s Tax ID & Power of Attorney is required for shipments valued over USD 2500

Tobacco: receiver’s Power of Attorney is required. All Cigars must be properly labelled with country of manufacture as per US Customs regulations. Cigars not properly labelled will be considered as Cuban origin and are subject to seizure.

Prohibited items

The following items are specifically not allowed to be sent with DHL to the USA. This is in addition to DHL’s Globally standard list of prohibited items which can be found here.

  • Asbestos
  • Firearms or parts of
  • Gambling devices

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