Receiving a gift from overseas


Who doesn’t love to receive a gift from a loved one or family member?

Customer regulations around the receipt of gifts in South Africa are very clear and we strongly recommend reading through this article to get a better understanding prior to receiving your gift. DHL has noticed increasing numbers of residents in South Africa who are receiving gifts and unexpectedly had to pay money to SARS to clear the item through customs so we hope you find this information useful to avoid any unanticipated surprises.

  • A gift which meets the conditions and limits set out by SARS can be imported and cleared through customs without the payment of duties and taxes. The conditions which need to be in place to classify a shipment as a gift are described here.
  • The gift must be accompanied by a commercial invoice on which it should be clearly stated that the items contained within are a gift. The description of gifts, along with the description of contents should also be clearly stated on the accompanying waybill.
  • The total value should also be stated on the invoice for each item within the package as well as a clear description of all the contents. If the contents are described as ‘baby clothes,’ value 15USD for example, this is likely to cause delays. The description should state baby pyjamas x 1 value 8USD and on a separate line baby shoes pair x 1 value 7USD.
  • The total value of the gift cannot exceed R1400.00 (or approximately USD90.00, rate of exchange dependent). If the shipment value is above R1400 duties and taxes will be payable for the entire value of the items, not just the amount over R1400.
  • The importation of gifts cannot exceed 2 parcels per calendar year per person. In other words, a person cannot import gift more than twice in a year where the value does not exceed R1400.00.

Therefore, if any one of these conditions are not met, then the importer is obliged to pay the full rates of duty applicable for the product contained in the package.