Botswana Duty Free Information

Guide to Duty free at Botswana borders, information on food allowances and crossing the border information.

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Botswana 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 entry.

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 travel.

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 permit.

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 months.
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.

Important contacts:
Department of Home Affairs toll free hotline: 0800 60 11 90

Duty-Free Allowances
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 quantities.
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 country.

Prohibited Goods
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

Domestic Pets
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, South Africa.

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 003, Gaborone.

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 and Botswana.

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 be imposed.

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 Botswana.
* 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.