border crossing allowances
NB: As of the 1st of June, Botswana
will implement a Tourism Development Levy of US$30 for all visitors to Botswana
(excluding SADC Residents).
Payment will be taken at the ports of entry (airports and borders) through
electronic payment machines accepting US$ cash, debit and credit cards. The
receipt should then be presented to Immigration Officials along with your
passport. The receipt is valid for a 30 day period and can be used for multiple
Unabridged Birth Certificate For Minors
From 1 June 2015, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa will
require all passengers under 18 to travel with an Unabridged Birth Certificate.
What is it?
A new immigration law is coming into effect on 1 June 2015.
Under the new law, all minors under the age of 18 years will be required
to produce, in addition to their passport, an Unabridged Birth Certificate
(showing the particulars of both parents) when exiting and entering South
African ports of entry.
Why is it happening?
This is being done to curb human trafficking. According to the Department
of Home Affairs, 30 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders
every year. 50% of these minors are under the age of 14.
When the new immigration regulation comes into effect on 1 June, it will
be the responsibility of passengers to ensure their children have the
correct documentation or risk being denied boarding. The new law will
be enforced by airlines and immigration officials across the board (land,
sea and air). Although airlines and travel agents are doing everything
to keep passengers informed, ultimately it will be passengers’ responsibility
to know what is required of them.
In all cases an Unabridged Birth Certificate will be required for minors
departing and arriving in South Africa ... they will not be allowed to
travel without it. In cases where the Unabridged Birth Certificate is
in a language other than English, it must be accompanied by a sworn translation
issued by a competent authority in the country concerned.
Children travelling with only one parent
When a child travels with only one parent, additional documents should
include an affidavit in which the absent parent gives consent for the
child to travel, a court order granting full parental responsibilities
or legal guardianship of the child, or the death certificate of the absent
parent. The affidavit should be no more than 3 months old from date of
Children travelling without either parent
In the case of a child travelling with a person other than a parent, the
Unabridged Birth Certificate must be supplemented by affidavits from the
parents or legal guardians confirming that the child may travel with that
person, copies of the ID documents or passports of the parents or legal
guardian, and the contact details of the parents or legal guardian.
Similarly, a child travelling as an unaccompanied minor
would have to produce not only the Unabridged Birth Certificate, but also
proof of consent from both parents or legal guardians and contact details,
plus documentation relating to the person receiving the child in South
Africa. The latter documentation should include a letter stating the person’s
contact details and residential address, contact details where the child
will be residing, plus a copy of his or her ID document, passport or residence
Application process for Unabridged Birth Certificates
· Apply at your nearest Home Affairs office where your Biometric
information will be verified.
· Take your ID book along, as well as your child's ID number.
· All documents submitted must be originals or certified copies.
· The Unabridged Birth Certificate costs R75.
· It can take up to 8 weeks to acquire an Unabridged Birth Certificate
from the date of application.
Since last year, Unabridged Birth Certificates have been issued automatically
for newborns. If your infant was born after 14 March 2013, you should
be in possession of a UBC.
Certified copies of documents are usually valid for 6 months only.
Don't delay applying for Unabridged Birth Certificates as the time frame
for obtaining the documentation varies greatly, from a few weeks to several
Minors travelling in school groups or with their grandparents are not
exempt from the requirement.
Who is exempt?
· The new law does not apply to children travelling domestically
(E.g. Between Johannesburg and Cape Town).
· Minor passengers on a 'Cruise to Nowhere'. For example a cruise
that departs Durban Harbour and returns to Durban Harbour, or a cruise
that goes from Durban Harbour to Cape Town Harbour.
Department of Home Affairs toll free hotline: 0800 60 11 90
Customs duties are not charged on the following goods imported
as accompanied or un-accompanied passengers’ baggage:
The following articles and consumables (excluding any goods the importation
of which is prohibited), declared at the place where the traveller enters
Botswana and not imported on behalf of other persons or by way of trade,
may be admitted free of duty and, where applicable, Value Add Tax (VAT).
* Wines - 2 litres
* Spirituous and other alcoholic beverages - 1 litre
* Cigarettes - 200
* Cigars - 20
* Cigarette or pipe tobacco - 250 gms
* Perfume - 50 ml
* Toilet water - 250 ml
* Other new or used goods of a total
* Value not exceeding (from outside SACU) - 3000 UA*
* Other new or used goods of a total
* Value not exceeding (from SACU) - 500 UA*
* UA is equivalent to One South African Rand.
* Personal effects, sporting and recreational effects, new or used –
* imported by non-residents of Botswana for their own use;
* imported by persons making a bona-fide change of residence to Botswana.
* Exported by residents of Botswana for their own use whilst abroad and
subsequently re-imported by such residents. The goods must be identifiable
as those exported from Botswana.
Additional goods imported from outside SACU, new or used of a total value
not exceeding 12 000 UA* per person, excluding the consumable items detailed
above, are admissible at a flat rate of 20%, if the owner so elects.
Restricted Goods These are goods, which you cannot import
without authority such as a licence or a permit. Further details regarding
restrictions on the importation of agricultural products can be obtained
from the Director of Animal Health and Production, Private Bag 0032, Gaborone
and the Director of Crop Production and Forestry, Private Bag 003, Gaborone.
The following consumer goods may be imported for private use
without an import permit provided they do not exceed the maximum allowable
Products Maximum Quantity
Red meat, goat/lamb - 25 kg per family
Poultry meat - 5 kg per person
Tinned poultry meat - 20 kg per person
Eggs - 36 eggs per person
Fresh milk - 2 litres per person
Maize and maize products - 25 kg per person
Wheat - 25 kg per person
Pulses (beans, peas, lentils) - 25 kg per person
Sorghum and sorghum products - 25 kg per person
Cabbage 1 bag per person
Onions 1 bag per person
Potatoes1 bag per person
Oranges 1 bag per person
Tomatoes 1 box per person
Spinach 2 kg per person
Bread loaves 6 per week
The regulations on importing meat and meat products change frequently
because they are based on disease outbreaks in different countries, always
ask your nearest customs office before importing meat and meat products.
* Duty will be payable at the applicable rates where travellers import
goods exceeding the above allowances. Travellers importing goods for business
or commercial purpose will not qualify for the above allowances.
* The concession for new and used goods specified above do not apply to
such goods imported by residents of Botswana returning after an absence
of less than 48 hours;
* With the exception of those relating to tobacco and alcoholic products,
the concessions may be claimed by children under the age of 18 years,
whether or not their parents or guardians accompany them, provided the
goods are for use by the children themselves.
Prohibited And Restricted Goods
Certain goods are prohibited or restricted to protect public
health, domestic plant and animal life or the environment. We have been
entrusted with enforcing laws for other government agencies relating to
the prohibition and restriction of such goods. It is not possible to list
all prohibited and restricted goods. If you are in any doubt whether the
importation of other goods is prohibited or restricted, please contact
your nearest customs office in Botswana before travelling outside the
The importation of, among other things, the following goods into
Botswana is completely prohibited. It is illegal to be found in possession
of prohibited goods and may result in seizure and prosecution. These include:
* Narcotic, habit-forming drugs and related substances in any form.
* Military firearms, ammunition and explosives
* Indecent and obscene material such as pornographic books, magazines,
films, videos, DVDs and software
Importing animals is closely regulated for public health reasons
and also for the well being of the animals. Domestic pets and livestock
may be imported subject to animal health restrictions. Details in this
regard can be obtained from the Director of Animal Health and Production,
Private Bag 0032, Gaborone.
Note: A valid Certificate of Identity, Rabies Vaccination and Movement
Permit issued in Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia or
Zimbabwe will be accepted at the time of importation into Botswana.
These may be imported subject to plant health restrictions. Details
in this regard can be obtained from the Chief Agricultural Research Officer,
Private Bag 0033, Gaborone.
Note: South African transit permits may also be required in respect of
plants shipped through South Africa. Details may be obtained from the
Director of plant Control and Quarantine, Private Bag X179, Pretoria,
Soil is considered the loose surface material of the earth in
which plants, trees and scrubs grow. In most cases the soil consists of
disintegrated rock with an admixture of organic material and soluble salts.
The importation of soil is prohibited unless accompanied by an import
permit from the Director of Crop Production and Forestry, Private Bag
No boat, mokoro or aquatic apparatus may be imported into Botswana
unless the owner is in possession of an Import Permit issued by Department
of Water Affairs.
Importation of Motor Vehicles
Non-residents visiting Botswana and coming from a country outside
the Southern African Common Customs Area for a limited period
are normally required to produce a carnet, triptyque or bill of entry
(any duty liability thereon being secured by bond or cash deposit) in
respect of their motor vehicles. (Note: The Southern African Common Customs
Area comprises Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Namibia)
A simplified system involving a Temporary Import Permit is applied to
motor vehicles, the bona fide property of a resident of Malawi, Mozambique
or Zimbabwe, and a similar system is applied reciprocally between Zambia
Residents of Botswana are not allowed to drive or use foreign registered
vehicles in the Botswana for more than fourteen days after importation
of such vehicle. If you are intending to do so please contact your nearest
customs office for advice. Should you be found in possession of a foreign
registered vehicle severe penalties including seizure of vehicles may
Firearms and Ammunition
* Firearms and ammunition may only be imported into Botswana upon production
of a Police permit issued by the Central Arms Registry, P O Box 334, Gaborone.
* The issue of firearms licences in Botswana is strictly controlled and
all firearms imported under the authority of an import permit must be
licensed immediately upon arrival in Botswana.
* The importation of firearms, which do not have the manufacture’s
serial number or other number by which they can be identified, stamped
or engraved on a metal part of the weapon, is totally prohibited.
* It should also be noted that Police permits for firearms are issued
on a limited quota basis and there can be a considerable delay in obtaining
a permit, particularly on first importation. It is advisable for intending
importers to make application well in advance of dispatch so that unnecessary
inconvenience and expenses can be avoided.
Passing Through Customs All persons arriving in Botswana
are required to unreservedly declare all goods in their possession to
a Customs official on duty on a baggage declaration document. Customs
has a duty to protect Botswana from illicit goods. To do this, checks
may be made on travellers and their baggage. If you are stopped and your
baggage checked, please co-operate, as we do not assume that you have
done anything wrong. We pledge to treat you courteously and professionally.
Baggage Declarations When making baggage declarations,
whether verbal or written, you must ensure that you declare all goods
in your possession as well as their correct values. Failure to declare
goods and their correct values can lead to seizure of your goods and can
result in criminal prosecution or the imposition of severe penalties of
up to three times the value of the goods.
What You Must Declare
* All goods acquired outside Botswana in your possession, including items
you received as gifts, such as wedding or birthday presents.
* Repairs or alterations to any items or vehicle you took abroad and then
bring back, even if the repairs/alterations were performed free of charge.
* Items you bought in any duty-free shop including such items bought duty-free
on aircraft or ship.
* Items you are bringing home for someone else.
* Items you intend to sell or use in your business.
To Avoid Delays With Baggage Declarations
* Please produce all receipts and sales slips for goods purchased outside
* If you are unsure of the goods and values, which you should declare,
ask for assistance from the customs officer.
Although there is no restriction on cross-border movement of
bank notes in Botswana, there is a need to monitor the movement of money
into and out of Botswana for purposes of, among other things, collecting
national statistics, monitoring capital flows and balance of payments,
and enforcement of anti-money laundering measures.
When you are entering or leaving Botswana you are required to declare
Pula and/or foreign currency bank notes in your possession the amount
of which equals to or exceeds an equivalent of Ten Thousand Pula (P 10
000). You need not declare Travellers cheques and other monetary instruments.
You are advised that under the Customs and Excise Duty Act the definition
of goods includes currency, and a person who fail to declare currency
as required is liable to prosecution.