Zambia and South Africa share close business ties. Though sending shipments to Zambia from South Africa is generally straightforward, here are some things to bear in mind.

Country Information

Sending shipments to Zambia – general advice

All imports by companies must include the original Commercial Invoice, clearly stating the currency of transaction. Proforma Invoices are not acceptable. Imports done by companies must include the Tax identification number on the Commercial Invoice.

Shipments to unregistered organisations can not be cleared and will be seized.

For goods that are exported and returned, duties are payable only on the cost of repair. Export documents must be available to prove that the goods left Zambia and the invoice must show the costs of repair. If the products have been repaired under warranty, the warranty certificate must be provided to ensure the goods are exempt from duties.

Shipments not cleared within 15 days will be confiscated by the customs authorities and additional $235 levied a fine and another additional $25 each day the shipment spends in their warehouse.

Customs tariff codes are reviewed yearly and changes in taxable amounts may vary as a result.


Document Shipments

Commodities considered as documents

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

  • Advertising brochures/pamphlets
  • Airline tickets, blank stock (NI)
  • Airline tickets, issued/validated
  • Annual reports
  • Artwork, including drawings/proofs/layouts
  • Blank forms
  • Blueprints
  • Business cards
  • Charts/graphs
  • Cheques, cashier (NI)
  • Credit cards (NI) 2
  • Deeds
  • Diskettes
  • Documents, general business
  • Invoices, not blank
  • Labels
  • Manuals, technical
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Microfiche and microfilm
  • Music – printed or manuscript
  • Newspapers 1
  • Pamphlets
  • Passports
  • Personal mail
  • Photographs
  • Photographs as part of business reports
  • Plans/drawings for architectural/industrial/engineering purposes
  • Price lists
  • Price tickets for garments
  • Shipping schedules
  • Transparencies
  • VISA Applications
  1. Non-Pornographic
  2. Signed credit cards only


Non-documents shipments

  • Animal Products 2
  • Drugs: Prescription 1
  • Military Equipment 3
  • Radar Equipment – Transmitters/ receivers 4
  • X-Ray Machines 5
  • Drugs: Non-Prescription 1
  • Foodstuffs 2
  • Plants 2
  • Seeds 2
  1. Import Permit required from Pharmacy and Poisons boards for Companies and private importing or reselling. For Private use Permit and Doctors prescriptions are required. Prescriptions exempts the importer from paying duties. Pharmacy Board may still inspect paperwork and medication prior to arrival in Destination country.
  2. Import Permit required from Ministry of Agriculture Plant & Quarantine. Permit can be applied for prior to arrival. Fumigation and Phytosanitary Certificate required from supplier. For Animal products, permit required from Chief Veterinary officer (expect 2-3 days delay).
  3. Permit required from Ministry of Defense & Zambian Police.
  4. Permit required from Communications Authority.
  5. Please contact destination prior to accepting shipment for any licenses or permit requirements


Prohibited items

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

  • Antiques
  • Asbestos
  • Cash letters (NI)
  • Cosmetics
  • Credit card blanks (NI)
  • Dangerous goods, including hazardous or combustible materials
  • Firearms, parts of
  • Furs
  • Gambling devices
  • Jewellery
  • Liquids, non-hazardous
  • Precious metals and stones  

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 300 kg (660.0 lb).

The maximum weight per piece is 70.0 kg (154.0 lb).

The maximum dimensions of each shipment are length: 120.0 cm (47.0 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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