Import animals and animal products

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

 

 

About importing animals and animal products into South Africa

If you want to import live animals, animal products, infectious or contagious things into the Republic of South Africa, you mustapply for and be granted a veterinary import permit from the Director: Animal Health. You must obtain this permit before the animal or product is shipped from the exporting country.

If you are importing live farm animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, ostriches, poultry (not cats and dogs) or the genetic material of these animals, you must get authorisation from the Registrar of Animal Improvement before a veterinary import permit can be issued.  For enquiries regarding animal improvement authorisations please phone 012 319 7434 or 012 319 7424.

There are import protocols in place for animals and animal products. The health requirements change often, therefore please contact the Import Export Policy Unit of the Directorate: Animal Health (fax 012 329 6892) to obtain the latest requirements.  There might be other legislation in place for specific products and you must make sure that you meet all legal requirements.
 

What you should do

  1. Complete the relevant application form:
  2. Contact the Directorate: Animal Health if you are not sure which form to complete.
  3. You must pay for the veterinary import permit (the cost is revised annually and published in the Government Gazette)
    • 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
    1. NB:
      • Reference must be the importer’s name and surname.
      • 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.
      • A cheque made payable to the Director-General: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ may be attached to the application form and posted to :
        • The Director: Animal Health
          Import Export Policy Unit
          Private Bag X138
          Pretoria
          0001
          South Africa
      • Payments can also be made at the offices of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries listed under contact details.
      • 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.
      • No application will be processed without proof of payment. Fax proof of the deposit to 012 329 8292 for attention: Ina Labuschagne.
  4. Send the completed form and proof of payment to:
    • The Director: Animal Health
      Import Export Policy Unit
      Private Bag X138
      Pretoria
      0001
      South Africa
      or fax to 012 329 8292
  5. Please state on the application form whether the permit will be collected or must be mailed to you.
  6. In cases where animals must be quarantined, you must contact the state veterinarian at the port of entry:
    • Johannesburg: Tel: 011 973 2827 or fax: 011 973 2828.
    • Cape Town: Tel: 021 551 2050 or fax: 021 551 1378.
  7. The quarantine station in Durban is currently not in operation, but information can be obtained from that office at tel: 031 368 6011 or fax: 031 337 7469.
  8. The state veterinarian will arrange the reservation for accommodation at the quarantine station and must complete the applicable part of the application form. The state veterinarian will fax this back to the permit office.
  9. Complete an indemnity declaration (in respect of imported animals or birds undergoing quarantine) and attach the completed indemnity to the application form. You can obtain the indemnity declaration form from the Permit Office of the Directorate: Animal Health.
  10. Following receipt of the completed application form and proof of payment, a veterinary import permit and a veterinary health certificate template will be issued and sent directly to you.
  11. The veterinary health certificate has to be completed in English by a veterinarian authorised by the veterinary authority of the exporting country within 10 days of departure.
  12. If you need any information on the exact requirements for a specific animal or animal product, you can obtain specimen copies of the veterinary import permit and the veterinary health certificate from the Permit Office.
  13. You must present the following to the South African veterinary import control officer at the port of entry:
    • Original veterinary import permit
    • Original veterinary health certificate
    • Any other documentation specified, e.g. indemnity declaration, rabies vaccination certificate, CITES permit, etc.
      • If you are importing wet or dry hides and skins and trophies, the state veterinarian in the area where the approved importing facility is situated must approve the application.  The relevant state veterinarian must countersign and stamp the application form and fax it back to the permit office of the Directorate: Animal Health. Only once this has been received, will the permit office issue a veterinary import permit.
  14. If you are importing live farm animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, ostriches, poultry (not cats and dogs) or the genetic material of these animals, you must get authorisation from the Registrar of Animal Improvement  before a veterinary import permit can be issued.  For enquiries regarding animal improvement authorisations please phone 012 319 7434 or 012 319 7424.
  15. Both these original permits have to be presented to the veterinary official at the port of entry, together with the original veterinary health certificate issued by the exporting country.

How long does it take

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