South African Hunting Safaris - Importing firearms into South Africa

SAPS 520 GUN PERMIT APPLICATION Form , Invitation & Information.

SAPS 520 is the form you need to import you guns into South Africa.


NB: Do not give any official e.g. SAPS ( SAPS = South African Police Service = the Police ) officer, nor any Security personel any money – it is illegal. For you own sake, ignore anything like this, as the officials know the law and you giving a bribe makes you as guilty as the person accepting it !!


If you have any trouble like being solicited for a bribe etc, by officials in South Africa and your guns' paperwork, visa if applicable, airplane tickets, etc, and all of your documents etc is all Correct, then you must contact your countries Embassy in South Africa to assist you and inform the soliciting offical you are contacting your Embassy. So have your embassy phone, their after hours phone and their email on you. This is one of the reasons we use Afton reps, because they protect you from such solicitations, all be it that solicitations for bribes rarely happens.


I will send you a blank SAPS 520 permit application (1 permit for every hunter carrying guns to SA).

I will send you a “Letter of Invitation” that you attach to your completed SAPS 520 form. 

I have made up a list of what to fill in and what to ignore on the SAPS 520 form – see below – Please follow it exactly – Most importantly: ONLY SIGN IT WHEN in SA and when standing in front of the SAPS officer.

South Africa Police ( SAPS ) are very strict about this gun permit application so it MUST be done correctly. Fill in SAPS 520 in BLACK ink. This must be given to the SAPS in Johannesburg on your arrival in Africa. BEFORE you start to fill out the gun permits for safety purposes make a copy of the blank form I send you, in case of a mistake.

You can also download and print SAPS 520 at :


Check list to bring to Johannesburg airport gun permit office - You will need your completed SAPS 520 with :

  • Blank SAPS 520 form - in case you made a mistake filling it out.
  • COPY of Passport - preferably certified/notarized, the first 2 pages of your passport- pages with your picture.
  • COPY of Round trip airticket.
  • Boarding Pass.
  • COPY of Letter of Invitation - this I email you when I have your full names, addresses and passport numbers from the contract I send you on booking.
  • COPY of Letter of Intent - eg. "To whom it may concern" I , Jack Frostie, intend to hunt in South Africa and use the listed firearms. Some of the species I intend to hunt are….. and signed & dated for the arrival date in Johannesburg.
  • COPY of Customs declaration form US 4457 , must be an unexpired form and not be older than 6 months from your arrival date in SA and it must be Signed and STAMPED by your Customs or your Government official, proving that the guns you are bringing are your property and are fully detailed on such form  - preferably certified / notarized - get this at your local US Customs office/ Your contries Customs office. This document also protects you when you return home from your own countries' customs, proving the rifle/s are your property and you did not buy it outside on your safari, so you cannot being charged import taxes, which also applies to expensive equipment like binoculars, range finders, computers etc. , which can also be listed on your US 4457 / Export form from your Country.
  • Have Originals of all the above Docs handy when you are getting the gun permits in Johannesburg South Africa ( SA )

Follow SAPS 520 steps ( see how to fill in SAPS 520 ) and you will not have a problem and you will breeze through SAPS - all our hunters in the past have had NO problem with their gun permits & most did the paper work themselves.
If you want there are agents in SA who will take care of gun permits for you – they charge ~$ 100 per permit and we recommend Afton houses’ gun permit rep You will then get a pre approved gun permit. Again though, we feel that if you do it correctly it is quite easy and you don’t need to use an agent – I am here to help you get it done correctly. If you don’t want to go through this permit issue you could rent guns from me – see price list.

NB : Check your Gun Permit before you leave SAPS in Johannesburg, that SAPS have filled out the correct firearm SERIAL numbers and other information on your Gun Permit !!!


Ignore page 1

Section D: 
X in box 1 if your GUNS are doing more than one RSA entry & exit eg. Going into RSA with your guns , then to Zimbabawe / Namibia and flying home from Johannesburg
X in box 5, if only hunting RSA.

Section E: 
2.1 X in passport box
ignore 3
fill in 4 - 24.
25.1.1 fill in X in passport box
ignore 25.2 
fill in 25.3 & 25.4 
ignore 26-47

Section F:
fill in 2-13 ( ignore 5)
ignore 14 - 24
fill in 26 -33 ( ignore 28 )

Section G:
1 fill in   USA
2 fill in    RSA
3 fill in    JOHANNESBURG
4 fill in    JOHANNESBURG
5 fill in     HUNTING SAFARI WITH RICHARD HOLMES SAFARIS (add ' and HUNTING SAFARI with ................ in NAMIBIA' - name of your Namibian/ Zimbabwean outfit if you are going there also)
ignore 6-7
9.1 & 9.2 fill in JOHANNESBURG ARRIVAL DATE ( when you arrive from the USA )  AND the DEPARTURE DATE ( date going back to the USA )

Section H: Ignore

Section I:   
fill in      1.1 - 1.7  ,  2.1.1 & 2.1.2
NB : ONLY complete ALL of 4  & Section J when in front of the SAPS officer in Johannesburg.

Ignore the rest of the form.

Painful but done right, with all the required docs it goes fine - Afton Reps are also a big help - find them first when you arrive in Johannesburg.

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