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Applying for a local importer code as an individual

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I went through this process recently. I import a lot of stuff from various parts of the world use a variety of forwarding option, often they're low value components from places like China, anyway, I became aware a while back about the restriction that as an individual could only import three items in a 12 month period. If you need to import more than three items per year you can register as an importer in your individual capacity in order to get an importers code.

I wanted to document the process here for others who may want to apply, it's not a 100% clear on the SARS website, and hopefully people can avoid the hassle of trying to decode the required doc's, or going through to the offices only to be told you're missing something.

Documents required (All more recent than three months)
1. A certified copy of your ID
2. A bank statement or bank letter (I think most banks allow you to download a letter now)
3. A Municipal account as proof of address (My house is in my wife's name, this required the municipal account, an affidavit from her, and a certified copy of her ID)
4. Tax compliance certificate from SARS (You can download from eFiling, or get it printed when you go to apply)
5. Your cell phone account
8. Letter of intent (A letter with your name, address, and the date stating that your intention is to apply for a local importer code in your personal capacity)
6. Completed DA 185 form
7. Completed Annexure DA 185.4A1 form

All of the documents are checked at the counter, so if you are confused by form 6 & 7 you can fill in parts there.

After calling SARS, I discovered that only two offices in Gauteng can process these documents, Alberton (Head Office) and Pretoria. Both offices send the documents on, so neither is a faster way to get a code.

The first time I went through, I waited two hours (turned away because certified copy of wife's ID was more than 3 months old), the second time, I waited 15 minutes, so wait time is completely variable.

The good news is that SARS has mentioned that this process may be incorporated into eFiling into 2019, but hey, who knows if that's just talk.

I have been thinking about doing this for time now time, however never gotten around to it.

Thanks for documenting it, I have ordered significantly more than 3 parcels each year for the past 3 years or so and have never had issues, however would prefer to keep it that way.

I can already see some issues - particularly point 3 and 5.

Any costs involved or just time and petrol?

Surprisingly no costs. Just time and petrol. The second time I went through to Alberton was on a Friday at 8:00, that was quick, like 20 mins. The first time was on a Tuesday at 12:00 that was a wait of about 2 1/2 hours, but I think there was an issue, because the guy in the queue said it was normally quicker.

5. I wrote cell phone account, but this is actually a phone account in your name to prove that the phone number is yours.

That is a big palava.  When I applied in 1990, they only needed my tax and VAT number.  However, it lasts forever

I got my code via email on Monday, so about 6 working days.

In terms of the process, I just wanted to add that I did not get a case number via email. The case number is to help you check on the status of your application. You can however check on the status with just your ID number, you just have to convince the SARS call centre agent.


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