How to fill out SAPS 520

How to fill out SAPS 520 when hunting in South Africa with Hunting in Africa Safaris

In this section we discuss how to fill out SAPS 520 (SAP 520) application form when traveling to South Africa with firearms for hunting purposes. The SAP 520 form is available in pdf format and can be downloaded from slightly further down on this page. Please follow the instructions diligently and do not sign the form unless requested to do so in the presence of a South African police official. (If you need an example of how to fill out the SAPS 520, ask us and we will email you a copy if you are booking a hunt through us, or if you are booking a photo safari with us on your way to hunt in Zimbabwe with Georgia Safaris).


Firearm and hunting rifle import procedure when hunting in South Africa – SAPS 520

1.  If you are bringing a rifle into South Africa for the purpose of hunting, you must fill out an SAPS 520 form and the US Customs 4470 form. You are welcome to download the SAPS 520 from here and you are welcome to download the US Customs 4470 from here

The SAPS 520 form must be completed in black ink only (unsigned until told by a South African Police official to sign it)

2. Notarised copy of your passport (photo and signature page only) Please make sure you have a minimum of two free pages in your passport and a validity of six months after returning home (read more in the Gear Guide section about your passport)

3. Notarised copy of your proof of ownership of the firearms you intend bringing along on your safari hunt (US Customs form 4457 or License)

4. Copy of your flight schedule / itinerary

5. Copy of your letter of invitation from your outfitter: Hunting in Africa Safaris will forward you an invitation upon acceptance of a hunt with us. For precise assistance with the importation process, we highly recommend you have your firearms pre-cleared ahead of your arrival. This will save you at least 2 – 3 hours at the South African Police Service clearing office at the airport in Johannesburg depending on how many other hunters there are on the flight with you. For this service we recommend the services of Hunters Support at They have someone in the customs area who will assist you from there right up to receiving your firearms.


Now follow the steps listed below

Complete the following on the SAPS 520:

1. You must complete sections E 1 to E 25.4, G, I and J (only sign the document in the presence of a police official when requested to do so)

2. Please complete the SAPS 520 in black ink only, no other color will be accepted by the authorities.

3. An original notarized copy of your passport (photo and signature page). The passport must have a minimum of two free pages and a minimum of six months validity after the termination of the hunt.

4. A notarized copy of proof of ownership of your firearms in the form of:

4.1 The US Customs form 4457 OR

4.2 A letter from your local sheriff in the form of an affidavit confirming ownership OR

4.3 An invoice from the gun shop where you purchased the firearms OR

4.4 A copy of your firearms license. (whichever one is applicable).

5. The Proof of Ownership 4457 (or any of the other forms of proof of ownership) and the copy of your passport must be signed and stamped as true copies of the original documents by a Public Notary.

6. The letter of invitation from Hunting in Africa Safaris that was sent to you prior to your departure - you must have this invitation handy with your other documentation upon arrival. You need to ensure that:

6.1 You have a maximum of four firearms, depending on how many firearms the airline you are traveling with will allow per passenger.

6.2 You may NOT bring in to the country more than one rifle of the same caliber – unless prior approval was obtained at least 4 – 6 months ahead of your arrival date 

6.3 The frame, barrel or action of all your firearms are marked with the same serial number

6.4 For semi-auto shotguns, we will refer you directly to for assistance as this is a tricky process

6.5 Handguns for hunting purposes: please visit for assistance as this is a tricky process.

How to fill out SAPS 520

Additional information required

1. A letter of motivation by yourself stating the following: That you are temporarily importing the firearms (list serial numbers and calibers) for the sole purpose of hunting in South Africa.

2. List the species of animals that you are intending on hunting and also which province (State) you will be hunting in.

3. Add your intended date of departure Please bear in mind that all firearms will be physically inspected by a police official upon entry into South Africa, and again on departure.


Hunting in Zimbabwe – SAPS 520 in transit permits

In transit Permits are required to be obtained by any passenger spending the night in South Africa while in transit to a third country. The same prerequisites apply as to obtaining the normal Temporary Import permit. A fee is no longer payable to the authorities as from 28th November 2005 for this permit. There are other prerequisites for nationals from other countries. Hunting in Africa Safaris will ensure that you receive the correct procedures to make your entering into the country as smooth as possible.


The following firearms may not be imported to South Africa

· Any fully automatic firearm.

· Weapons which can be classified as military firearms.

· You are not allowed to bring into the country two firearms of the same caliber unless prior approval from the authorities was obtained