Here you will find a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Registration as a Customs Client is mandatory if:

  • A customer Imports/Exports goods of more than 3 consignments per year at a value of less than ZAR 50 000.
  • Goods are of a commercial nature
  • Goods exceeds ZAR 50000 in value

All items that are cleared through Customs are determined by a tariff heading (classification of the item). Once this has been done the rate of duty applicable for the item will apply. This is usually a percentage of the Customs value.

Customers can pay by clicking on the Online Payment Portal link on the Shipment Arrival Notification sent by e-mail from DHL. In addition, a text message will be sent to the customer’s mobile phone number ( if the mobile phone number is supplied), containing the URL that would direct the customer to the Payment Portal.

You can register as a local Importer with SARS by clicking here

You can register as a local Exporter with SARS by clicking here


VAT is presently levied at the standard rate of 15%. To calculate VAT on imported goods, the Added Tax Value (ATV) needs to be determined first. This is done as follows :

(Customs Rand Value (On date of exchange) + 10% thereof + (any non-rebated duties levied on the goods) =  [ATV] x 14% ( VAT payable )

The 10% mark-up on the customs value in this calculation is applicable when goods are imported from a country outside the Customs Union. For goods from any of the BLNS countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia or Swaziland), the 10% will not be added to the calculation.

If you are a Cash Customer, this would have been attached on the physical shipment on delivery. To request another copy please call 0860 345 000.

If you are a DHL Account holder, please log into your “MyAccount” DHL link in order to retrieve all copies relating to your shipment.

For support on MyAccount please call +2711 921 3774

For Account customers, the incorrect details are usually as a result of incorrect data loaded onto the DHL Clearance system and/or amendments in the customer’s  company profiling that needed to be communicated to DHL by means of a DHL Clearing Instruction. This can be amended by completing the DHL Clearing Instruction Form and attach it to an e-mail requesting the amendment to za.account.queries@dhl.com

For Cash Customers  the Shipment Arrival Notification (SAN)  is the draft indicating Vat and Duties applicable before Customs Submission, this SAN has the option to allow verification of the draft details prior to Customs Clearance.

If changes need to be made post-clearance then a DHL Clearing Instruction form will need to be completed and e-mailed  to za.account.queries@dhl.com requesting an amendment. An amendment charge of ZAR 600.00 may apply.

The Shipment Arrival Notification is also a Pro-Forma Invoice which is issued because the charges listed are only an estimation. A final Tax Invoice is issued once the shipment is cleared and will be delivered to you either by hand (for Cash Customers) or electronically (for Account Customers).

Duties and taxes are most typically not included in the price of the goods you purchase online.

When purchasing goods online, some or all of these goods may not originate in the country you reside in.

When goods are not shipped domestically (within your country) or within a single customs union, such as the European Union, you are liable to pay any inbound duties and taxes which your local customs authority deems appropriate.

To ensure the DHL courier can deliver your goods in shortest possible transit time, when we enter your country, DHL pays the customs authority immediately on your behalf for any duties and taxes that are due on the goods.

DHL only releases the goods to you upon the full repayment of any duties and taxes that were paid on your behalf.

The Duty Free Concession only applies to accompanied baggage and relates to goods up to the value of R25000 with set limits for alcohol and tobacco carried by persons over 18 years of age. Goods imported which are not accompanied baggage are subject to a different customs regulation with a limit of R500 (subject to 3 such imports per calendar year) and no thresholds for alcohol and tobacco (although the latter are subject to other statutory requirements by Other Government Agencies when imported).

Depending on value and the type of goods imported you may expect the following:

  • Customs duty (percentage of shipment value and transport charges)
  • Local tax
  • DHL Advance Payment surcharge
  • Any regulatory charges, if applicable
  • 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.

It is the DHL Express Fee for the use of DHL’s bond facility with Customs. The Receiver is able to pay Customs through DHL instead of arranging their own clearance, bonds, cash or credit line directly with SARS. The service enables a faster clearance of imported goods requiring formal custom clearance.

You will not be paying to DHL any further shipping costs. Rather, you will be asked instead to pay customs duties, taxes and other import charges related to customs clearance in your home country, as per local regulations.

Every country has limitations for imported goods that are used for personal use. This is to avoid misuse, and to distinguish imports for personal and commercial use.

Although you ordered and purchased the goods online, the goods are still subject to an import procedure to clear the shipment through customs. Clearance depends on:

  • The country of origin
  • The value including transport charges
  • The quantity of goods

Each country has its own customs laws and the duties for different types of goods and values are set locally. DHL, like any other international transportation company, must adhere to local customs legislation and so DHL pays duties on the receiver’s behalf to clear shipments on arrival.

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