An Importer wishing to import goods into Eswatini must register as a business with the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade (MCIT), and then obtain the appropriate trading license from the Licensing Department at MCIT), in accordance to the Trading License Order of 1975. For more information on business registration and trading license acquisition click here.
An Importer wishing to import goods into Eswatini must register with the Eswatini Revenue Authority (SRA), in accordance with the Customs and Excise Act of 1971 and the Value Added Tax of 2011, for a Tax Identification Number (TIN). Without a TIN an importer cannot process an import transaction with Customs. For the TIN registration form click here.
Importers of goods prescribed in the Import Control Order of 1980 from outside the Southern African Customs Union are required to obtain an import permit from the Ministry of Finance. The Importer has to fill in the import permit form from the Ministry of Finance, pay E25.00 for every E2,000.00 on the invoice of the imports at the Revenue Office. Submit the import application form and the Revenue receipt to the Ministry of Finance. For more information on the acquisition of an import permit click here.
All goods imported into Eswatini must be declared to Customs, pay duties and taxes, unless they are covered by an exemption, a suspension or they are duty free under the law. Goods imported into Eswatini from outside the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) are liable to Customs duty and for some goods there is also Excise duty.
Note that SRA uses the ASYCUDA World (Automated System for Customs Data) for processing customs declarations. A declaration is made electronically on a Single Administrative Document (SAD) by capturing an import declaration (IM) on the ASYCUDA system, attaching the following scanned supporting documents where applicable:
Declarations can be submitted electronically to an appropriate office of clearance within Eswatini. Below is a list of SRA office at which clearance of commercial goods can be done.
All customs declarations are made by completion of an SAD500 in which all information pertinent for effective processing of that declaration is provided by the importer/declarant. Part of that information is the Customs Procedure Codes (CPCs) which when correctly used inform the SRA on what the goods are being imported as well as the regime under which Customs will treat it.
ASYCUDA World is on self-assessment, meaning assessment of duties and taxes due is done on lodgment of a declaration. Therefore, for an importer/declarant to successfully submit a declaration, there should be sufficient funds in the prepayment(cash) account. The funds into the account are deposited through the electronic platforms and bank deposits. To allow adequate clearance time into the importer’s account, it is recommended that the deposit should be made at least 48 hours before the declaration can be made. The TIN should be used as reference to enable proper allocation of deposits.
NOTE: The SRA is moving towards a zero cash environment, as such cash payments at all the offices has been limited to not more than E1,000 from individual importers and not more than E5,000 from commercial importers.
In order to facilitate the process of clearing imported goods, an importer can submit the customs declaration(SAD 500) prior to the arrival of the goods at the border .ASYCUDA World is web based enabling the lodgment of declarations from any location, 24 hours a day. At the same time of submission of a pre-arrival declaration (Pre- Clearance), an importer can pay the import duties due. However, the goods will only be released to the importer after finalization of Customs formalities at importation. In addition, an inspection of the imported goods may be required upon arrival at the border depending on whether the goods are selected for physical inspection.
According to the Customs and Excise Act, 1971 importers may solicit the services of a Clearing Agent or do their own Customs clearing. Clearing Agents must be licensed by SRA in terms of Section 60 of the Customs and Excise Act. Importer shall be responsible for any act done by a Clearing Agent acting on their behalf.
The SRA also provides on-going training for clearing agents to upgrade their customs knowledge and skills for improved compliance.
Customs duty is payable in imported goods as a percentage of the value of the declared goods. The rate of duty payable on imports into Eswatini is charged according to the tariff classification of the commodity and the country of origin, where duty preferential is applicable.
All import commercial transactions require commodities on Customs declarations to be classified according to an appropriate tariff heading. The tariff classification code is directly linked to the rate of duty payable on that commodity. Classification operates as part of the international Harmonised Commodity and Coding System, under the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Harmonised System Convention. Commodities are classified using the 8-digit Harmonized System (HS) Code (commonly called tariff code) which is maintained and, from time to time, amended by the WCO. SRA’s (SACU) tariff classification are available on the SRA tariff book (click here to access).
It should be noted that since Eswatini is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the same Tariff rates are used as other SACU Member States (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa).
Goods imported from one of the SACU member states are not liable for import duties when they enter Eswatini.
It is an importer’s responsibility to declare the correct classification, origin, value and quantity of the goods imported. it is where the services of a clearing agent may be considered by an importer and it should be noted that it is an offence to make a false declaration.
Goods imported from Non-SACU countries have to pay customs duties and VAT at the rate of 15%. Duties are calculated based on the value of the transaction of the goods, as indicated in the invoice, plus the insurance and freight cost, leading to a Cost Insurance and Freight or CIF value.
Imports from SACU countries
Although goods imported from SACU member states are exempted from paying import duties, however, they remain eligible for the payment of 15% VAT.
Sekulula VAT Easy
There is a VAT payment arrangement between SARS and SRA which provides that if the importer has paid VAT in South Africa, the valid tax invoice can be used as payment with SRA. However, there is a criterion for a tax invoice to qualify under this arrangement which can be found (insert a link)
Goods that are imported under a warehouse regime goods that are imported into the country for the purposes of value addition. An importer has to have a warehouse that is constructed in accordance with the warehouse requirements. Click here for more information on the warehouse requirements. Similar to temporary imports, goods that are imported as temporary imports, goods that are imported the warehouse regime are mainly imported for the purposes of value addition and in some cases re-exportation.
An importer may temporarily import goods that will be returned out from Eswatini. These imports may be for purposes such as: for further processing, repair or returning in an unaltered state (e.g. exhibition)
a) An importer is expected to apply to the Commissioner General requesting permission to temporary import goods into the country and clearly state:
b) The Commissioner General will respond to the application giving requirements to be met in order to be granted the temporary import authorization.
c) After conditions have been met, the temporary import authorization letter will be issued.
d) On importation the temporary authorization letter must be attached as supporting document.
e) The agreed timelines for the goods to remain in the country should not be exceeded. Application for an extension must lodged with the Commissioner General prior to the expiry date.
Rebates from Customs duties and other privileges are available for certain categories of Importers such as diplomatic missions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), returning residents, disabled, goods imported for processing in an industrial economic zone. The imports have to be from non-SACU member states, and they have to fall under SACU Rebate schedule 3 (click here) and SACU Rebate schedule 4 (click here). An importer who qualifies under the industrial rebate category can apply for an Import Rebate Certificate at the International Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade and then bring it to the SRA
For the other categories, they can claim the rebate from the SRA on importation through proper declaration of the rebate item/APC. Under the Import Rebate Certificate importers are rebated from paying import duties, however, if importers wishes to be exempted from paying VAT they have to request for exemption from the SRA’s Commissioner General.
Prohibited goods cannot be imported, exported, transited, sold or circulated in Eswatini, as such before importing goods into Eswatini, an Importer should ensure that the goods do not fall into the category of prohibited goods. If an Importer attempts to import prohibited goods into Eswatini, the importer may forfeit the goods to the state, destroyed or otherwise dealt with in accordance with the Customs and Excise law, be fined and penalized.
Before importing controlled or restricted goods into Eswatini, an importer should ensure that the goods have the necessary permits and licenses issued by appropriate authorities, and have complied with the appropriate measure for importation. To determine what goods are controlled or restricted at importation into Eswatini, go the ‘Measures’ link of the Trade Portal.
If an importer wishes to import goods that are subject to sanitary and phytosanitary measures they have to comply with special regulations relating to those products as provided for under the relevant laws of Eswatini, and enforced by the relevant government agencies. An importer needs to get a permit from the relevant Government Agency for the goods they are importing, or intend to import. For details on the specific sanitary and phytosanitary measures applicable to a specific item intended for import, click on the 8-digit tariff code of the product in the ‘Measures’ link.
For certain types of products, it may be necessary to obtain a permit that certifies that these products conform to certain technical or quality standards. These technical and standard regulations are set and enforced by the Eswatini Standards Authority (ESWASA). For more information on the standards click here.