Import animal vaccines

What you should do
How long does it take
How much does it cost
Forms to complete
Who to contact



About importing animal vaccines

You may only import, distribute or sell vaccines for use in animals in South Africa once they have been registered in terms of the Fertilizers, Farms Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, 1947 (Act 36 of 1947).

If you want to import a registered vaccine for use in animals, you must also obtain a veterinary import permit from the Directorate: Animal Health. This import permit is valid for a limited period and for one consignment only. There are veterinary import protocols in place. Because the health requirements change often, please contact the Directorate: Animal Health (tel 012 319 7507/7684/7700/7673/7456 or fax 012 329 6892) to obtain the latest requirements.

If you want to import an unregistered vaccine for a trial in South Africa, you need two permits. One permit must be obtained from the Registrar of Act 36 of 1947  and the other from the Directorate: Animal Health. The application for the permit from the Registrar of Act 36 of 1947 must be accompanied by the complete proposed trial protocol.

The Directorate: Animal Health issues an import permit only once it receives a copy of the permit issued by the Registrar of Act 36 of 1947. A vaccine imported for a trial may not be sold. In an emergency situation where an outbreak of a disease occurs and no registered vaccine is available in the country, it may be a necessary to use an unregistered vaccine. In that case you, as a prospective importer, must apply to the Medicines Control Council  for a Section 21 exemption in terms of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act (Act 101 of 1965, as amended by Act 90 of 1997).

You also need, from the Directorate: Animal Health, an import permit for the vaccine to enter the country. This import permit is issued only once you have obtained approval from and submitted proof to the Medicines Control Council. In this case, the unregistered vaccine may be sold for a limited period until registration has been obtained.

What you should do

  1. Obtain registration or permission from the Registrar of Act 36 of 1947, or exemption in terms of Section 21 of Act 101 of 1965, to import the animal vaccine.
  2. When you receive the import permit from the Registrar of Act 36 of 1947, or exemption in terms of Section 21 of Act 101 of 1965, send a copy of it with your application for a veterinary import permit to the Directorate: Animal Health.
  3. If the vaccine is already registered for use in South Africa in terms of Act 36 of 1947, you need only one import permit, from the Directorate: Animal Health. Send a copy of the registration in terms of Act 36 of 1947 with your application.
  4. Complete the application for a permit to import vaccines into the Republic of South Africa form. 
  5. The state veterinarian at the Directorate: Animal Health will contact you if further information is required and will do a risk assessment to consider your application.
  6. Deposit the permit fee  into the Department’s bank account:
    Name of bank: Standard Bank of South Africa
    Name of account holder: National Department of Agriculture
    Account No: 011219556 International Band
    Branch: 010845
    IB brand 0001982 Centre Code
    Swift Code: SBZA-ZAJJ
    Name of the branch: Arcadia
    Important notice: Reference must be the importer’s name and surname
  7. You may also pay by cheque made payable to the Director-General: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
  8. Payments can also be made at the offices of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
  9. Send the completed form and proof of payment to:
    The Director: Animal Health
    Import Export Policy Unit
    Private Bag X138
    South Africa
    or fax to 012 329 8292
  10. Please state on the application form whether the permit will be collected or should be mailed to you.
  11. Following receipt of the completed application form and proof of payment, a Veterinary Import Permit will be issued and sent directly to you.
  12. You are responsible for bank charges as well as the foreign bank charges; the Department will not issue a permit if the full fee is not received.
  13. In cases where you are applying on behalf of someone else, please make sure that you pay in the name of that person or company.

Note: No application will be processed without proof of payment. Proof of the deposit must be faxed to 012 329 8292 for attention: Ina Labuschagne.

How long does it take

Once the state seterinarian at the national office has approved the importation, it takes three to five working days to process the application and issue the veterinary import permit.