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From time to time our clients ask why we don’t offer license registrations for import only, or export only. The answer is simple – traders need both.

Why you need an import AND export license

1. Return shipments happen all the time

If you import goods for local distribution, you may not think of yourself as an exporter. However, if your supplier sends you faulty goods and you send them back, you are exporting.

This is true whether you are sending the goods back for repair, or returning it for a refund. Before the shipment is cleared, customs will require an export license.

The inverse is true of a local exporter who needs to receive exported goods back from a foreign client. The return shipment is an import.

Having an import and export license allows you the freedom of sending and purchasing anywhere in the world, an unlimited amount of times, to an unlimited value.

2. To access the full benefit of your Customs Client Number (CCN)

Being registered with SARS customs means you hold a CCN (Customs Client Number, also called a customs code). Much like your income tax number, it is a unique code forever linked to you as an individual or your business. And, most importantly, you can only have one.

A CCN may represent a registration for import, export, or both. If a CCN is approved for import only (for example), and the trader later decides to register for export, the additional registration is added to their existing CNN. This creates extra admin, more expense, and a delay in waiting for approval. In urgent cases, the wait for approval can also mean incurring more costs. For example, when a shipment is waiting at customs and incurring penalties daily.

Effectively then, having an import-only license or an export-only license means you have a CCN, but can’t access its full benefit.

3. There is no disadvantage to having both registrations

As we’ve seen above, having an import-only license or an export-only license may create a problem for you. Having an import AND export license, on the other hand, has no disadvantage. A CCN that is registered for both import AND export requires no additional admin, liability, or responsibility compared to one that is approved for just import or just export.

The benefits of registering for import and export simultaneously

Minimal admin – You only need to apply once.

Minimal expense – You don’t have the expense of an extra registration down the line.

You’re well prepared – No need to scramble when a shipment is returned.*

*The pressure of amending your CCN when a return shipment is already on its way is daunting and unnecessary, not to mention potentially costly.

Failing to get the registration you need in time means the shipment will be confiscated by customs, which means you’re liable for penalties and state warehouse storage costs.

Why is having just one even possible?

From a SARS customs official’s point of view, a commercial import may only be cleared by, or on behalf of, a registered importer. The same goes for exports and registered exporters. As a result, traders can get just the registration they need to clear that shipment.

But be aware, that SARS looks at an import or export in isolation. They don’t view your import export license as part of your business plan. But we do!

Why you should get your import AND export license through us

Fast turnaround time – You’ll have your import AND export license within 5-10 days*.

100% success rate – Approval is guaranteed, or your money back.

Convenience – We do the legwork and admin so that you don’t have to. Email us your documents, sit back, and relax while we get your license for import and export.

Remote – We have a completely online application process, so you never leave your home or office. PLUS, we can help regardless of where in the world you’re based.

Expert advice – You enjoy free consultation from friendly and knowledgeable consultants.

Personal touch – We provide tailored advice and registration solutions to suit your needs.

A FREE foreign exchange account – Every import export license we do includes an optional foreign exchange account managed by a dedicated broker. This account acquires no monthly fees and offers an easy, convenient, and affordable means of managing your international transactions.

Already have an import-only or export-only registration?

Click the button below to speak to our consultants and have your CCN amended to include both in just 5-10 days.

In addition, we offer amendments to your existing customs code to:

  • Update your company details. This is a SARS requirement in case of changes in your company’s name, contact details, or directors.
  • Add trade agreement registrations – a must-have if you are exporting to South Africa’s trade agreement partners and would like to offer your clients import duty benefits.

Have more questions regarding import and export? Get in touch with our consultants for the insight and registrations you need to thrive in international trade.