SARS update: The facts about declaring your electronics

South African Revenue Service (SARS) would like to clarify a recent confusion in the media about Customs requirements for travellers returning to South Africa with personal valuables.

SARS has confirmed that “no traveller can be penalised for not declaring or registering their personal effects upon leaving the country”, but SARS does state that the traveller could be challenged by a Customs officer to provide proof of local purchase or ownership.

The proof referred to above may be in the form of an invoice, an insurance record, in the case of a laptop even the content on the laptop, and any other means through which the officer can use his discretionary powers to satisfy that proof.

The alternative to providing such proof is a process created within the policy framework called “Registration for Re-importation”. This is not on a DA65 as many media articles have referred to lately. The DA65 was phased out for travellers many years ago and today it is only used within the commercial cargo environment, for example where goods are temporarily exported for repair abroad.

A more user-friendly and secure process has been created where the traveller completes a TC-01 (Traveller Card) notifying his or her intent to register goods for re-importation. This is presented to the Customs Officer who will then capture this online on a Traveller declaration system (TRD1).


Here is what our FCM travel experts advise you do:

Register your electronics at the SARS desks situated in the various airports using the TC-01 form.

It is a fairly easy process which requires travellers to present themselves for Customs inspection before continuing through international security and passport control. Travellers will need to hand their passports to the customs official, provide their flight number and then the item’s type, e.g. iPhone 7 and serial number.

The information is captured online and valid for a period of six months, so if you travel again within this time period with the same items, your TC-01 (Traveller Card) will cover you for the re-importation of your goods. You will receive a printed copy to retain as proof of your registration.

Failure to furnish proof will result in the item(s) being detained until proof of local purchase or ownership can be established. Alternatively, the traveller will have to pay duty and VAT, as well as possible penalties.

Where to register?

OR Tambo International Airport

Customs is located in Terminal 2 Departures, about half-way along the hallway in which all the airline check-in desks are located.

King Shaka International Airport

At King Shaka International, customs is located just behind the check-in counters in the International Departures hall.

Download a copy of the TC-01 form below for your convenience.

Should you require any further information please contact your FCM travel expert