Certain goods can be temporarily exported and not pay duty on their return due to their nature and purpose of export. There are personal items that are carried on a travellers person that qualify for such a reprieve in Customs that are for personal consumption. There are many cases where travellers indicate that they had temporarily exported their valuable personal effects but do not have proof that they did so. In this instance, they would not be carrying any documents to support their plea. This has resulted in many disputes among travellers and officers. Let us explore a summary of instances and goods that can be temporarily exported and not pay duty on their return.


Personal effects

Used clothing and toilet requisites should be in such quantities and of such values as the Commissioner may consider being reasonable. Articles like radios, binoculars, laptops and cameras should be registered at a Customs House or Port of exit before exportation. The said articles shall be brought before the officer registering them for inspection. The articles shall only be registered if they can be accurately described and are capable of being identified (have serial numbers) on their return. If the articles meet the above conditions, the officer will issue traveller with a General Registration Certificate with the full details of the article including serial numbers and his/her personal details. This certificate should then be produced on return as proof of temporary export so that no duty will be charged on that article.

Goods for Repair and Return

When goods are exported for repair and return, only the cost of repairs will be subject to duty. The tariff heading to be applied is that under which the repaired article, as re-imported would be classified. For instance, duty rates levied on the cost of repairing a television set are those applicable on an imported television set.

Where the repair was done in terms of a valid guarantee and no charge is raised for the repair, no duty will be levied on re-importation of such an article.

General Registration Certificate and Declaration Form

It is very important to declare your personal effects which you are temporarily exporting so as to avoid inconveniences on re-entry or challenges with officers at the port of exit. A General Registration Certificate is used for this purposes and in cases where such forms are scarce, a Declaration Form 47 processed by the officer at a Customs House or port of exit can also serve the same purpose. The form should clearly indicate goods temporarily exported and/or for re-importation.