Should you declare your electronics when travelling?

We realise you may have received notification or seen articles around the fact that SARS is clamping down on bringing electronics back into the country.

However, there are conflicting reports on whether you do or don’t require the DA65 form and if it’s even in commission as some reports say this form is only applicable for freight.

Here are the facts…

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.

You have two choices:

  1. 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.
  2.  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).

To ensure there’s no confusion or inconvenience, Corporate Traveller urges frequent travellers to register their personal possessions at customs. 

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?

Cape Town International Airport

Located on the Departures level, if facing the check-in desks and security, turn left at the top of the escalators and walk towards the airline ticketing counters. The customs desk is located around the corner from the VAT declaration desks.

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.