VEHICLE REGISTRATION CONSULTANT

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Import Control Guidelines pertaining to the importation of used or second-hand vehicles, trucks, buses, taxis, coaches, engines, gearboxes, differentials and used or second-hand spares for heavy duty trucks.

Most used or second-hand goods can be imported from certain countries at extremely low prices, for various reasons. The normal import duties applicable to the products concerned are not an effective control instrument against the disruptive importation of similar or substitute used or second-hand goods. Consequently, the importation of used or second-hand goods is subject to import control measures in terms of the provisions of the International Trade Administration Act (Act 71 of 2002).

In considering applications for the importation of used or second-hand goods, the general principle applied is that import permit applications are not approved if the goods concerned or similar/substitute goods are available from local manufacturers.

The purpose of applying import control is to promote local economic activities and job creation.

Passenger vehicles, mini-buses, buses/coaches, light; medium and heavy commercial vehicles are manufactured/assembled
in South Africa. About 124 000 people are employed in assembly and component manufacturing and this sector contributes about 20% of total manufacturing in South Africa. In view of the importance of this sector, strict control is applied to the importation of used vehicles and import permits are issued only in very specific and defined circumstances.

The prevailing import control policy with regard to the different categories of goods is as follows:

(a) Used or second-hand motor vehicles for personal use.

Permits for the importation of used or second-hand passenger motor vehicles are issued in the following circumstances:

To immigrants for the importation of private passenger motor vehicles and LDV’S Application form IE462 must be completed and applications can only be considered when permanent residence status has been issued by the Department of Home Affairs. Attach a copy of the motor vehicle registration certificate, a copy of the applicant’s foreign passport and a copy of the permanent residence certificate to the duly completed application form for consideration. Imported vehicles may not be disposed of within a period of 24 months from the date of importation. (In the event of permanent residence not being available, SARS, Customs and Excise must be approached for temporary clearance.)

To returning South African residents and nationals. The returning resident or national may import his/her used or second-hand passenger vehicle or LDV to a maximum of three vehicles if he/she returns permanently to the RSA after a minimum uninterrupted period of absence of six months working, studying or conducting research abroad. It is also required that the vehicle be registered in the name of the returning resident/national for the minimum uninterrupted corresponding period of six months (working etc.) prior to the return. Application form IE462 must be completed. Attach a copy of the foreign motor vehicle registration certificate in the name of the applicant, a copy of applicant’s South African identity document (page with barcode and details), or a copy of the applicant’s South African passport (page with barcode and details) and proof of permanent employment abroad (this must be a typed, signed and dated letter on the company letterhead confirming that the applicant (full name) has been permanently employed confirming the start and termination dates of employment. (Please note that salary advices, pay slips, job offers, job contracts, tax returns, work permits, etc are not considered as sufficient proof of employment.) The imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years of importation.

To physically disabled South African citizens/nationals to import a specially designed motor vehicle which will suit the disabled person’s personal requirements. Application form IE463 must be completed and proof in the form of a certificate, issued by a medical practitioner that the applicant is in fact disabled is required. A copy of the applicant’s South African passport or ID (page with barcode and details) must also be attached. Full details of the vehicle must be submitted and the imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years of importation.

Inheritance: Permits are issued to South African citizens/nationals for the importation of inherited passenger motor vehicles and LDV’S. Form IE463 must be completed.  The heir must submit a copy of his/her South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details), a copy of the will, a copy of the motor vehicle registration certificate in the name of the deceased and a copy of the death certificate. The imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years of importation.


South African citizens/nationals for the importation of vintage passenger vehicles and vehicles that are regarded as collectors’ items. Vintage vehicles can be described as vehicles of 40 years old or older. Application form IE463 must be completed. Full details of the vintage vehicle must be provided and a copy of the applicant’s South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details) must be attached to the application form. Vehicles regarded as collector’s items are not so easy to define. All requests for the importation of such vehicles are, inter alia, discussed with the South African Veteran and Vintage Association, who comply with international criteria. Vehicles regarded as collector’s items must internationally be considered collectors items. Application form IE463 must be completed, full details of the vehicle must be submitted and the applicant must also attach a copy of his/her South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details). The imported vehicle may not be disposed of within a period of two years from the date of importation.

South African citizens/nationals for the importation of racing cars: Racing cars may be imported by a racing driver. The proposed importer must submit a copy of his international, national or regional (MSA) competition racing car driver’s license as well as a copy of his South African identification document or passport (page with barcode and details). Racing vehicles to be imported are those to be used for circuit or track racing events only and imported racing vehicles may not be registered locally. The imported racing vehicle may not be disposed of for a period of two years from the date of importation.

(Note): No import permits are issued for the importation of used or second-hand motor vehicles for commercial/resale purposes or any other purpose falling outside of the specifically defined circumstances referred to herein above. Please also note that used or second-hand vehicles may not be sent to South Africa from abroad by returning residents prior to their permanent return to South Africa. All applications are considered on its own merits and ITAC may request that additional documentation/information be provided to supplement applications.

(b) Specially designed vehicles.

Permits are issued for the importation of specially designed vehicles, for instance mobile cranes and similar vehicles if the particular type of vehicle or a similar/substitute vehicle is not available locally. Technical specifications of the specially designed vehicle may be required for consideration of the application. Duly completed application forms IE230 (for first time importers) and form IE461 must be submitted for companies intending to import specially designed vehicles. (Note that a SARS VAT registration certificate is required on completion of form IE230.)

(c) Used or second-hand buses, trucks, taxis and coaches

Taxis, trucks, buses and coaches are available from local manufacturers. Import duty is not a suitable method of supporting local manufacturers and guard against the disruptive importation of the above-mentioned used or second-hand vehicles.

Stringent import control measures are, therefore, maintained and no permits are issued for the importation of used or second-hand vehicles other than for vehicles mentioned in (a) and (b) above.

The existing policies are reviewed from time to time.

New vehicles (passenger vehicles), trucks, taxis, buses and coaches are not subject to import control measures. The applicable duties are however payable.

(d) Used engines

Import permits for the importation of used petrol engines for passenger vehicles and LDV’S of an engine capacity not exceeding 3 000 cc and used diesel engines not exceeding 3 500 cc, are issued to a value of 50% of an importers previous years allocation as an initial issue for the current year. Duly completed application forms IE230 (for first time importers) and form IE461 must be submitted for companies intending to import the above-mentioned engines. (Note that a SARS VAT registration certificate is required on completion of form IE230.) New entrants or first time importers of used engines and gearboxes are issued a maximum amount of R500 000.00, in total, for proposed engine and gearbox imports, for a six month period, covering from January to June and then again from July to December of a calendar year. A 15% increase is normally allowed after each full calendar year of importing.

(e) Used gearboxes

Import permits for the importation of used gearboxes for passenger vehicles and LDV’S for the above-mentioned engines are issued to a value of 50% of an importers previous years allocation as an initial issue for the current year. Duly completed application forms IE230 (for first time importers) and form IE461 must be submitted for companies intending to import the above-mentioned gearboxes. (Note that a SARS VAT registration certificate is required on completion of form IE230.) New entrants or first time importers of used engines and gearboxes are issued a maximum amount of R500 000.00, in total, for proposed engine and gearbox imports, for a six month period, covering from January to June and then again from July to December of a calendar year. A 15% increase is normally allowed after each full calendar year of importing.

(f) Used differentials


Import permits for the importation of used differentials for passenger vehicles and LDV’S are issued to bona-fide re-conditioners only. All imported differentials must be reconditioned prior to resale or use, by the importer on his own premises and with his own reconditioning equipment. Duly completed application forms IE230 (for first time importers) and form IE461 must be submitted for companies intending to import the above-mentioned differentials. (Note that a SARS VAT registration certificate is required on completion of form IE230.)

(g) Used or second-hand spares for passenger vehicles and LDV's

Import permits for the importation of used or second hand motor vehicle mechanical and body parts (excluding engines, gearboxes and differentials referred to above) are issued to private individuals only for repair of privately owned accident damaged vehicles on condition that such parts are not available from local sources and on receipt of documentary proof such as the owners identity document , motor vehicle registration certificate, South African Police Services accident report and insurance report. Application form IE463 must be completed for all spares and parts required for the repair of the vehicle, and must be submitted together with a copy of the applicant’s South African ID or passport (page with barcode and details), and the required documentation as indicated above.

(h) Used or second-hand spares for heavy duty commercial trucks


Import permits for the importation of used or second hand heavy duty commercial truck spares and parts are issued on condition that similar or suitable substitute spares or parts are not available from local sources or suppliers. The importation of used or second hand commercial truck/bus chassis are not allowed. Import permits for the importation of used parts such as diesel engines, gearboxes and differentials for commercial trucks are issued for the importation of that particular spare or part only, and may not include any other mechanical or body parts/components which are not integral parts of the spare or part mentioned in the permit. Import permits are normally issued within a period of three to four workdays from receipt of a fully completed application form with supporting documents. Duly completed application forms IE230 (for first time importers) and form IE461 must be submitted for companies intending to import the above-mentioned used or second-hand commercial truck spares or parts. (Note that a SARS VAT registration certificate is required on completion of form IE230.)