Firearm Control Act

In a draft Bill released in Government Gazette No. 28545 dated 24 February 2006, the Government is proposing radical changes to the Firearms Control Act and has invited public comment BY 31 MARCH 2006. Please ensure that as many ''interested parties'' as possible are made aware of the importance of their submissions. In view of the urgency of the matter our comments have been prepared in haste and should be regarded as ''preliminary''.

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Importation of Firearms

Visitors bringing firearms into South Africa for hunting purposes, will be asked to fill in a SAP 520 – Temporary Import Application which is available from your outfitter, can be downloaded off the SAPS Website at, or be filled out on arrival. We would strongly suggest filling in the form beforehand with the assistance of your hunting outfitter to ensure it is completed correctly and to save the processing time at the Police Office for yourself and the Police.

Instructions for Filling in SAP 520 Form

Additional Requirements along with the SAP 520 are the following:

1. Identity and Flight Details

2. Other Supporting Documentation

  1. Identity and Flight Details
  2. Proof of Ownership
    Firearm licenses, documentary proof, etc. For USA Citizens, Customs Declaration Form 4457 (officially stamped) is acceptable
  3. Proof of Export
    Note: Clients must obtain documentation from an official government institution eg. police/customs for legally exporting firearm(s). This document must state the following:
    "It is hereby certified that the owner of the firearm(s) Mr (state particulars) with caliber (state the caliber) serial number (state caliber) and type (state type of weapon) are hereby authorized to temporarily export the above firearm(s) from country (state country).
  4. Invitation Letter from the Hunting Outfitter
    This is a supporting document from the Hunting Outfitter/company, to be written on an official letterhead of the Hunting Outfitter/company with the PH's and Outfitters details to include their name, surname, licence number and in which provinc(es) they are registered. This letter must state for what type of hunting the client is invited and what calibers will be used for the hunt. State where the hunt(s) will take place - name of the farm and district. This letter must also state that the mentioned weapons will only be used for hunting purposes on the mentioned properties. The duration of the hunt and this letter must be signed by the Hunting Outfitter/company and dated.
  5. Motivation Letter from Client
    This is a letter from the client stating that he is temporarily importing the referred to firearm/s for the purpose of hunting, to include that the firearm/s are required as he will be hunting (list the species to be hunted), etc.
  6. Any Other Supporting Documents

Firearms will be physically inspected to ensure the serial number(s) match those of the licenses (proof of ownership) and the application form. Ammunition will also be inspected.

For visitors clearing customs at the Johannesburg International Airport , please take note of the following procedure to be followed on arrival:

For those visitors clearing customs at any of the other international points of entry, please take note of the relevant information made above which relates to documentation requirements, etc.

Please insure sufficient time is allowed to go through the temporary importation process and to clear customs. During the busy periods of the hunting season up to seventy clients may be needing permits at the same time. We would therefore recommend at least five (5) hours be set aside for this procedure and between connecting flights.

Firearm / Ammunition Allowances and Specifications

1. No more than one firearm per caliber and 200 rounds per firearm will be permitted. No ammunition for other rifle calibers will be permitted.

An exception to this may apply for shotguns where more than one of the same caliber may be allowed for bird hunting purposes if the client produces on arrival at the SAPS Gun Office an acceptable written motivation as to why more than one is required.

2. Firearms must bear the manufacturer’s serial number or any other mark by which the firearm can be identified. The identification number must be stamped and the mark affixed in the prescribed manner on the barrel or the frame or the receiver of the firearm.

3. Handguns will be allowed into the country, but only for hunting purposes. Any visitor wanting to bring in a handgun in this regard needs to have a letter from an association in the country of origin, stating the handgun will be used for hunting purposes.

4. Prohibited firearms which may NOT be imported into South Africa include:

5. A semi-automatic shotgun for hunting purposes may be allowed if an application is made at least 21 days before arrival through the Central Firearms Register with a motivation letter as to why this type of firearm is required.

6. Temporary firearm permits can only be issued at point of entry and only for hunting purposes or authorized accredited shooting competitions.

General Provisions:

1. Temporary Import Permits:

2. Please ensure that your firearm/s arrive on the same flight as you do. This must be done with the airline company on departure. Your firearm/s may only be signed for by you and will not be released to your outfitter or professional hunter should it/they arrive on a separate flight. If the firearm/s do not arrive with the passenger, the passenger must proceed to his final destination in South Africa and apply at the closest Police Station for a Temporary Import Permit. When the Temporary Import Permit has been issued, the original permit with the keys to the rifle case must be couriered to the Border Post of entry. A Transport Agent with transport permit must be appointed by the passenger. This Transport Agent must have a letter from the passenger instructing him/her to transport the firearm/s to the passenger in person. The firearm/s will be inspected by the Police at the Port of entry and the firearm/s and permit will be handed to the transporter to be transported to the passenger.

3. Please do not pay for any service regarding the handling of firearms at Johannesburg International Airport , or any port of entry. The issuing of the SAP 520 is a free service and the South African Police Service asks clients not to pay anybody involved in handling firearms from the time of arrival in South Africa right through until you receive your firearm/s and the permit from the SAPS. Clients that are paying the various airline staff, security staff, or porters involved are actually creating a problem. Please note however there is a handling fee charged by airlines and/or security companies for the handling of handguns, and some airlines have started charging a handling fee for all firearms. We suggest checking with your airline with regard to any “official” fees that may be required.

4. There is no permit required, nor any charge by the South African Police Service for a bow. Handling fees are charged by airline and/or security companies for bows and handguns.

5. Please note that NO firearms will be held for safekeeping by the SAPS. If a client brings in a prohibited firearm, brings in more than what is allowed, or lacks the necessary documentation and his request for a temporary import permit is denied, the involved firearms must be exported immediately by the client or voluntarily surrendered to the State.

In Transit Passengers (Transiting South Africa )

It is critical that you check with and confirm with the airline/s involved before departure to make sure what their procedure is for the transfer of baggage and/or firearms.

If the airline does transfer your baggage/firearms, and you have booked them through to the final destination, and you stay in the in-transit area and do not clear South African customs, then you need not go through the temporary import process.

If your airline company will not transfer your baggage/guns to your connecting airline/flight, then you must collect your baggage/firearm/s and go through the entire entry process. If this is the case, the South African limitations, requirements, etc. will apply.

This also applies if you are overnighting in South Africa before flying on to your country of destination.

For More Detail visit: PHASA

Accreditation of Firearms Training Institutions and Shooting Ranges

Pretoria : 2004-05-17

The sections in the Firearms Control Act, 2000, (Act 60 of 2000) and the Firearms Control Regulations, 2003 relating to accreditation became effective from 1 July 2003.

The Firearms Control Act, 2000 stipulates that certain categories of entities, which include the owners of shooting ranges and training providers in the use of firearms must apply for accreditation in order to comply with the provisions of the Firearms Control Act.

The Regulations pertaining to the remaining sections of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Firearms Control Regulations, 2004) will come into effect during July 2004.

In order to provide training in the use of firearms in South Africa from July 2004, a training provider as well as the shooting range where the training will be conducted must be accredited by the South African Police Service.

The South African Police Service once again extends an invitation to all the training providers in the use of firearms and owners of shooting ranges to approach the Designated Firearms Officer responsible for the area in which the business is or will be situated to apply for accreditation. The application forms and detailed information regarding the requirements for accreditation can be obtained from the relevant Designated Firearms Officers. The SAPS will provide all possible assistance to applicants in order to complete the application process.

It must be emphasized that no person may be granted a competency certificate in order to obtain a firearm licence after the implementation of the Firearms Control Regulations, if the person did not undergo training by an accredited training provider on an accredited shooting range.

In order to effectively facilitate the accreditation within the various provinces the following contact numbers are provided;

More information on accreditation can be obtained from Snr Supt Lekgotla/ Supt Van Der Walt at the Central Firearms Register; Tel (012) 353-6010/353-6098 or by e-mail at

Enquiries : Snr Supt Andrew Lesch :



The following renewal period is applicable to a person who wishes to renew his or her licence:

Birthday Renewal period
January to 31 March 1 Jan 2005 to 31 Dec 2005
1 April to 30 June 1 Jan 2006 to 31 Dec 2006
1 July to 30 September 1 Jan 2007 to 31 Dec 2007
1 October to 31 December 1 Jan 2008 to 31 Dec 2008


1. Prospective firearm owners must first pass the prescribed training test at an accredited training institution and obtain the training proficiency certificate.
2. You must go to the Designated Firearm Officer (DFO) at the police station closest to your ordinary residential address and apply for a competency certificate.
3. When you apply for your competency certificate, you must at the same time apply for the renewal of your firearm licence. You must clearly state the purpose for which the firearm is needed.
4. A complete set of your fingerprints will be taken by the SAPS. The application must be accompanied by two (2) recent passport size colour photographs.
Payment must be made by means of a bank guaranteed cheque or cash for:
  • a competency certificate : R70-00
  • each licence: R70-00
5. The South African Police Service will conduct an inspection to determine whether your safe or strongroom meets the prescribed requirements.
6. If your application is successful, the DFO will hand you the competency certificate and the firearm licence.


SAPS website:
SAPS Firearm Control Call Center Tel: (012) 353 6111
Fax: (012) 353 6036
Poslec SETA:



Please Note: Legislation on this page is for South Africa only.

  2. Firearm Control Act

  3. Importation of Firearms

  4. Firearm / Ammunition Allowances and Specifications

  5. General Provisions

  6. In Transit Passengers (Transiting South Africa)

  7. Accreditation of Firearms Training Institutions and Shooting Ranges

  8. When must I Renew my Firearm Licence?