Last Updated on December 21, 2023 by Ezra Matiasi

You can only import second-hand Japanese Cars To South Africa if you’ve been granted a permit to do so, and these permits are issued under specific circumstances.

The primary reason behind this restriction is to safeguard the local motor vehicle manufacturing industry. However, there are exceptions.

Returning South African nationals from Japan and immigrants with permanent residence are among those permitted to import vehicles registered in their names.

Additionally, certain categories of vehicles, such as racing cars, vintage passenger vehicles, specially designed vehicles, and inherited vehicles, may also be brought into the country.

To gain a deeper understanding of these regulations and how they impact the importation of second-hand Japanese cars, we’ll delve into the details in the following sections.

Key Points On Import Japanese Cars To South Africa

  1. Secure a Letter of Authority: Obtain this document from the NRCS to comply with safety standards.
  2. Complete the IE462 Form: Accurately fill out the application form and ensure all supporting documents match the provided details.
  3. Prepare Documentation: South African citizens and bona fide immigrants must gather the necessary paperwork.
  4. Understand Processing Time: Recognize that processing times can vary, so initiate the process well in advance.
  5. Budget for Customs Duty: Calculate and budget for customs duty payments to SARS.
  6. Complete Essential Forms: Ensure all required forms are correctly filled out.
  7. Know Who to Contact: Reach out to ITAC National Office – Import and Export Control for inquiries and assistance.
  8. Consult Import Guidelines: Refer to ITAC’s import guidelines for comprehensive information.

Obtaining a Letter of Authority For Importing Second-Hand Cars From Japan To South Africa

Before embarking on the process of importing a second-hand vehicle into South Africa, it is crucial to complete several preliminary steps. 

One of the initial and essential tasks is obtaining a “Letter of Authority” from the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS)

This letter plays a pivotal role in making sure that the imported vehicle complies with South African standards and regulations.

Understanding the Significance of the Letter of Authority:

  • The Letter of Authority serves as a declaration that the vehicle adheres to the mandatory specifications and safety standards set by South African authorities.
  • It signifies that the vehicle is suitable for use on South African roads and has met the required safety, emission, and quality standards.

Application Process:

  • To obtain the Letter of Authority, applicants must submit specific documentation and information about the vehicle they intend to import.
  •  This typically includes details such as the vehicle’s make, model, year of manufacture, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), and compliance with specific standards.

Verification and Inspection:

  • The NRCS may conduct verifications and inspections to ensure that the vehicle meets South African regulatory requirements. This step is critical in verifying the vehicle’s eligibility for importation.

Compliance with Emission Standards:

  • In addition to safety standards, the Letter of Authority may also require compliance with emission standards, particularly to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles in South Africa.

Importance of Compliance:

  • Obtaining a Letter of Authority is not just a procedural requirement but a crucial step to ensure that the imported vehicle aligns with South African safety and environmental standards.

Timing Considerations:

  • Applicants should plan and allocate sufficient time for the NRCS to process their request for a Letter of Authority. Delays in this step can affect the overall importation timeline.

Consultation with Experts:

  • Given the complexity of compliance with South African standards, many importers seek the assistance of experts or consultants familiar with the process to navigate the Letter of Authority application effectively.

Publication for Import of Second-Hand or Used Passenger Vehicle (IE462)

The next critical step in importing Japanese Cars To South Africa is the submission of the “Application for Import of Second-Hand or Used Passenger Vehicle (IE462).” 

This application form is central to the importation process and ensures that the vehicle complies with all necessary regulations.

Understanding the IE462 Form

The IE462 form is the official document used to notify South African authorities about your intent to import a second-hand or used passenger vehicle.

It serves as a formal request for permission to bring the vehicle into the country. 

It also includes critical information about the vehicle, its ownership, and its intended use in South Africa.

Completing the IE462 Form

Accurate and thorough completion of the IE462 form is vital. 

Importers must provide comprehensive details about the vehicle, including its make, model, year of manufacture, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), engine specifications, and more.

The form also requires information about the intended use of the vehicle, such as whether it will be for personal use or commercial purposes.

Get The IE462 Form Below:

When importing a second-hand vehicle into South Africa, the documentation requirements differ slightly for South African citizens and bona fide immigrants.

Ensuring that you have the necessary paperwork in order is crucial to a smooth importation process.

Documentation for South African Citizens

South African Passport help by hand and a blur background of an Atlas on the table

If you are a South African citizen planning to import a second-hand vehicle, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Identity document or passport: A copy of your identification document or passport is required for verification.
  • Confirmation of permanent employment abroad: A letter from your employer confirming your permanent employment abroad is necessary. This letter should also reflect the period of employment.
  • Certified copy of the official foreign vehicle registration certificate: This document serves as proof of vehicle ownership in your name

Documentation for Bona Fide Immigrants

Bona fide immigrants, individuals who have been granted permanent residence in South Africa, must provide the following documents:

  • Copy of your South African permanent residence certificate: This certificate validates your status as a permanent resident in South Africa.
  • Copy of your foreign passport: Include a copy of the foreign passport page containing your photo and personal details.
  • Copy of your foreign motor vehicle registration certificate: Similar to South African citizens, bona fide immigrants must provide proof of vehicle ownership abroad.
  • Proof of study or research (if applicable): If your circumstances involve study or research, relevant documentation is necessary to support your application.

Submission Process

The completed IE462 form, along with all required documentation, should be submitted to the relevant authorities for processing. 

It is essential to ensure that all information provided is accurate and up-to-date.

South African authorities will review the submitted application and documents to verify compliance with regulations.

If all requirements are met, approval will be granted for the importation of the second-hand vehicle.

Processing Time: What to Expect

Understanding the estimated processing time for importing a second-hand vehicle into South Africa is crucial for effective planning and management of the importation process.

The duration can vary based on several factors, but having a general idea of the timeline helps importers prepare accordingly.

Customs Duty Calculation To Import Japanese Cars To South Africa

The financial aspect of importing a second-hand vehicle into South Africa involves understanding the calculation of customs duty at the South African Revenue Service (SARS)

Customs duty is a significant component of the overall cost of importing a vehicle and is calculated as a percentage of the value of the imported goods.

Importers are required to pay the assessed customs duty directly to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) as part of the importation process.

Essential Forms: The Key Documents

During the process of importing a second-hand vehicle into South Africa, several essential forms must be completed accurately and submitted to the relevant authorities. 

These forms play a pivotal role in documenting the importation and ensuring compliance with South African regulations.

The Application for Import of Second-Hand or Used Passenger Vehicle (IE462)

The IE462 form is at the heart of the importation process. 

Importers must complete this form with precision.

They should provide detailed information about the vehicle, its specifications, and its intended use in South Africa.

The IE462 form serves as the formal request for permission to import the second-hand vehicle and notifies South African authorities of the importation.

Get The IE462 Form Below:

Who to Contact: Assistance and Inquiries

ITAC National Office – Import and Export Control:

  • Telephone Numbers: 
    0861 834 384, 012 394 3590, 012 394 3591
  • The physical address
    National Office is International Trade Administration Commission, 
    77 Meintjies Street, 
    Block D, Sunnyside,
  • For written inquiries, the postal address
    Private Bag X753 Pretoria, 0001.


Compliance and adherence to South African import regulations are paramount for a successful importation experience. 

Whether you are an automotive enthusiast intrigued by the uniqueness of South Africa’s automotive landscape or an importer seeking to bring a second-hand vehicle into the country, understanding and following these procedures will ensure a smoother journey.

About the Author

Ezra Matiasi

Head Content Writer

Hello! My name is Ezra Matiasi, and I'm the enthusiastic mind behind Travello, a captivating travel blog that takes you on remarkable journeys around the world. With a passion for exploration and a love for sharing captivating stories, I curate the best travel experiences, hidden gems, and breathtaking landscapes. Through vivid descriptions and captivating photographs, Travello aims to inspire wanderlust and help fellow travelers make the most of their adventures. Join me as we embark on exciting virtual voyages and discover the wonders our beautiful planet has to offer. Let's explore the world together, one adventure at a time!

View All Articles