Custom ( Botswana )


It is necessary for you to comply with Customs requirements on arrival and departure from Botswana and the purpose of these notes is to enable you to do so with as little delay as possible. Please note that these notes are not exhaustive and may change routinely. Persons requiring additional information are advised to write to the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Private Bag 0041, Gaborone, Botswana.

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 called, Form J.

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.

Duty-Free Allowances
Customs duties are not charged on the following goods imported as accompanied or un-accompanied passengers’ baggage:
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.
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.
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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Customs Headquarters And Regional Offices Details

Private Bag 0041, Gaborone
Tel: 3642100, 3922855 - Fax: 3922781
South Central Region
Private Bag 00102, Gaborone
Tel: 3642100, 3922855 - Fax: 3922781
South Region
P.O. Box 263, Lobatse
Tel: 5330566 - Fax: 5332477
Central Region
P.O. Box 129, Selebi Phikwe
Tel: 2613699, 2610627 - Fax: 2615367
North Region
P.O. Box 457, Francistown
Tel: 2413635 - Fax: 2413114
North West Region
P.O. Box 219, Maun
Tel: 6861312 - Fax: 6860194