Repair and Return


Do you need to send your shipment to another country for repair? If this is done properly, you can ensure a smooth transit and minimal costs in terms of customs charges.

Selecting Repair and Return (R&R) is a clearance method that allows:

  • Goods to be re-imported into the country free of duty (not VAT) after being repaired overseas at no cost to the importer. It stands to reason that duties would have been paid on the original import of the goods and therefore the same duties cannot be levied on the same goods twice
  • Importers to bypass the import permit requirement for refurbished (or so-called second-hand) goods

When the goods are sent abroad, the sender is obliged to mark the waybill as an R&R shipment in order for the station and gateway to hold the shipment for further processing. Writing Repair and Return in the item description will do. The shipper must also specifically identify the item that requires the R&R and provide the serial number of this item on the commercial invoice. If a shipment cannot be identified as the same item going out as coming in, customs may wish to do further inspections and delays can be expected. If your item does not have a serial number, having it engraved is a good way to allow for identification.

Once the export is processed, the serial number is recorded on a Customs document called the DA65. Once stamped, Customs holds a copy of this document and hands another back to DHL to be produced when the goods are re-imported.

On re-import, the commercial invoice must clearly identify the relevant item as being a re-import after repair. If this item is part of a range of other new import items, this requirement becomes even more important. The re-imported item is cleared in a specific manner that allows for the rebate (or waiver) of the duty that would have been payable on the product. Customs will stop the shipment for a physical inspection (this is a mandatory process that will incur clearance delays) and during this process, the serial number declared on the DA65 is compared with the re-imported product. If all is in order, the goods are released to the importer.

Documents required for clearance of the re-imported product/s:

  • Export Bill of Entry SAD500 (duly endorsed with the MRN number)
  • Copy of the export AWB
  • Copy of export Commercial Invoice
  • ORIGINAL DA65 duly stamped/attested by Customs.

In some instances, the goods sent for repair to the supplier might not be financially feasible to be repaired. Under the warranty agreement, the supplier may opt to send a replacement item rather than repair the faulty item. To qualify for a rebate of duties on replacement goods, the following documents are required:

  • Export Bill of Entry SAD500 (duly endorsed with the MRN number)
  • Copy of the export AWB
  • Copy of export Commercial Invoice
  • Copy of the warranty agreement clearly indicating the replacement clause

In the absence of the above, full duties will be paid on the replacement goods. This type of clearance could also be subjected to stop/detention/examination by Customs for further verification.

If the shipper charged the importer for the repairs conducted, then duties are payable on the cost of the repairs only and not on the full value of the item.

The biggest issue encountered with R&R shipments is that the serial numbers do not match or the invoices provided are not specific or clear enough to indicate that the importation is a Repair and Return. In many instances, the DHL service centres cannot identify a R&R shipment and these ultimately get exported from the country without undergoing the export formalities to generate a DA65.

When requesting a quote for DHL to send your shipment out and return it, please keep in mind that the outbound leg and return leg will need to be paid for as individual shipments. The price may be different for each leg.

For further details about repair and return, please call DHL and press the option to speak to customs.