All exporters need to register with the South African Revenue Services (SARS). In fact, you will actually register as an exporter with Customs and Excise; a division of SARS. The registration process is really not very difficult, but SARS/Customs and Excise have unfortunately managed to complicate the process with the use of a multitude of interconnected forms that you need to complete for different requirements, combined with the use of a somewhat confusing numbering system, and a website that does not make the process any easier.

We will try and make this process easier for you to follow. Really there are six different registration options:

  1. You want to register as a general exporter and do not plan to take advantage of any of the trade agreements that South Africa has in place.
  2. You want to register as an exporter under the AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) trade agreement
  3. You want to register as an exporter of GSP (General System of Preferences) goods to the following countries; the European Community, Norway, Switzerland, Russia and Turkey
  4. You want to register as an approved exporter in terms of the TDCA (Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement) that exists between the European Community (EC) and South Africa
  5. You want to register as an approved exporter in terms of the SACU/EFTA (South African Customs Union/European Free Trade Agreement) trade agreement
  6. You want to register as an exporter in terms of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) trade agreement


Do it alone or get someone to help you?

The process of registering as an exporter should be a simple task, but with Customs and Excise making it so difficult, it is recommended that you make use of a customs consultant to assist you with customs registration and other customs and tariff matters. The following are individuals who you can contact in this regard:

You may also want to try the following customs brokers:


Exporter registration alternatives…

Export documentation