Immigration tips

Immigration tips

elliott mobility tips

Share This Post

Finding a house, immigration tips

Where you live while in South Africa may well be the single most important factor in determining whether your stay is an enjoyable experience. A lot goes into the decision of choosing where to live. For families with children, proximity to good schools is important. For others it may be the commute time or convenience to the work place. Security is a primary consideration for everyone.

Elliott’s knowledgeable and experienced Relocation Consultants are an effective resource in finding a home; providing you with the widest possible choice of properties to suit your lifestyle requirements and budget. They will provide a thorough overview of housing styles, cost, appropriate neighbourhoods, and typical lease/purchase practices. Because they do not earn commissions from real estate agents or property owners, they will give you completely objective advice, and detail the pros and cons of particular neighbourhoods and properties, to help you make the right decision for your needs.

Preparing for your move

Any immigrations tips and advice post will not be complete without talking about pets. Most pet owners regard their animals as members of the family. Including them in a move to another country or leaving them can be a very difficult decision. The primary consideration should be based on the best interests of the animal. The animal’s age, health and the climate of the destination country are factors to be considered.  In some cultures, attitudes to pets can be very different, and owners of rental housing may not permit them. This is not usually the case in South Africa, although pets are typically not allowed in apartments or small condos. Another consideration is admission procedures both into the new host country and on return to your own – the UK for example, has very strict documentation, immunisation and quarantine requirements. The first step in deciding whether to take a pet is therefore to investigate thoroughly. Country specific information can be provided by companies that specialise in transporting pets overseas.

Pet import requirements for South Africa

There is no set quarantine period for pets arriving in South Africa as long as they meet the requirements of the import permit and license. If they do not, the Veterinary Inspector may impose a quarantine of up to 60 days at the time of arrival into South Africa.

When moving with pets

When moving with pets it is important to get the necessary requirements:

  • Import permit obtained from the Director of Animal Health. You should allow 2 – 4 weeks to obtain the necessary permits. The permit contains the required health certificate, along with the detailed requirements for the proper entry of dogs and cats.
  • USDA 7001 Health Certificate (or equivalent), endorsed within 10 days of animal’s departure.
  • Proof that all vaccinations are current and administered at least 35 – 42 days prior to entry.
  • An original certificate of rabies vaccination must accompany the health certificate – issued by the pet’s veterinarian, showing proof that the vaccine was administered more than 30 days prior but not more than 180 days prior to flight.
  • A signed indemnity certificate in case the pet is required to be quarantined. Note that quarantine will be required for pets imported from certain countries in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. If in doubt, contact the number below.

For more information, please contact: Director of Veterinary Services, Tshwane/Pretoria: +27 12 319 6000.
Useful websites:

Importing a car into South Africa

Importing a motor vehicle to South Africa can be a complicated, lengthy and costly process. If you are entering S.A. as a temporary resident, you will have to obtain an Import Permit, pay duty by way of a ‘bond’, based on the ‘blue book’ value of the vehicle.

We recommend that you either purchase or lease a motor vehicle in South Africa. Should you want to import your vehicle, please contact Elliott Mobility and we will assist with more detailed information. The Automobile Association of Southern Africa is an excellent source should you need further clarification :

Records and personal papers

In addition to passports and visas, other types of documentation may be required during your stay abroad in establishing identity, applying for bank accounts, verifying legal arrangements, paying taxes and fulfilling other obligations required by your own government and that of the new host country. Make multiple copies to take with you.  It is also a good idea to leave copies with a trusted family member or attorney in your home country.


  • Descriptive data of each family member’s passport
  • Birth certificates of each family member
  • Marriage certificate
  • National driver’s license
  • Certificates of citizenship for naturalised individuals
  • Adoption papers
  • Divorce and child custody papers
  • Healthcare insurance
  • Medical records, immunisation certificates and any necessary medical prescriptions
  • Dental records
  • Property insurance records
  • Automobile insurance records
  • Income tax records for several previous years
  • Wills
  • Power of attorney
  • Lease or rental agreements
  • Letter of reference from your home country bank
  • Contract of employment with new host country employer.

 Important documents such as your driver’s license, birth and marriage certificates should be translated into English by a sworn translator and certified.

Appliances and electronics

Special care is called for when deciding which, if any, household appliances and electronic equipment to bring with you. Electric current varies from country to country. The European and South African standard is 220 – 240 volt, 50-cycle.

Voltage  a measure of the strength of electric current. It is the most important factor in the operation of an appliance. One designed to run at 110 – 120 will be severely damaged if connected to a 220 – 240 outlet.

Cycles, also referred to as Hertz, and indicates frequency of a process called oscillation that produces alternating current. It affects the accuracy of appliances such as clocks, sound systems and others that have an internal timing mechanism.

Plug configuration

South Africa primarily uses three prong plugs with round ‘blades’. Adaptor plugs can be purchased locally; it is usually better to have new plugs fitted. Lamps from abroad will work in South Africa but local (220 volt) light bulbs must be fitted.


Smaller appliances such as hairdryers, clock radios, etc. are often made with a switch that enables them to be operated on either 110 – 120 volts or 220 – 240 volts.

No North American appliances can be plugged directly into the electrical outlet in SA. Some North American appliances will operate in South Africa with the correct transformer and electrical adapter, including coffeemakers, toasters, blenders, mixers, most stereos, most computers, and cordless telephones. Others, however, must be 220 / 230 V, 50Hz. Refrigerators, washers, dryers, air conditionersmicrowaves, vacuum cleaners fall into that category.


Televisions do not travel well internationally. Broadcasting systems differ from country to country and they are not automatically compatible. It makes more sense to purchase or rent a compatible set in the new country.

Please note:

  • If you purchase a television set in South Africa, you must obtain a TV license
  • Rental television sets are also available.

Cellular (mobile) phones

There are service providers that will make sure that your mobile device is compatible with the South Africa network.

Prohibited items

  • Controlled drugs, including opium, morphine, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines, barbiturates, LSD and any other substance generally regarded as illegal
  • Flammable items such as matches, paint, cleaning and lighting fluids, laundry detergents, aerosols and candles
  • Firearms, ammunition and explosives (firearms need an import license)
  • Most animals and all birds (dead or alive)
  • Ivory
  • Furs from endangered species
  • Perishable foods and live plants.

We recommend that you do not pack the following items in your unaccompanied luggage when travelling

  • Fine jewelry and irreplaceable items
  • Valuable currency, stamp, coin and card collections
  • Original personal documents
  • Perishable items.

Air shipment
It typically takes anything between 4 – 10 weeks from the time your goods are packed to delivery of your sea shipment to your new home. You may therefore want to consider sending essential items via airfreight in advance of your sea shipment.

Some suggestions are:

  • Clothing – adequate quantity for all your family members – keep in mind that the seasons between Northern and Southern Hemispheres are reversed
  • Medical prescriptions and supplies
  • Baby equipment (car seats, strollers)
  • Important documents you may need immediately upon arrival.

Sea shipment – useful tips

  • Arrange for appliances to be serviced before your move.
  • Record the manufacturer’s name and model number of each appliance.
  • Make sure everything you ship is clean and dry, since dampness and humidity are the leading causes of shipping and storage damage.
  • Musical instruments may require special expert packing before being moved. Pianos and organs should be prepared for the move by a piano / organ technician as they have parts that should be secured or removed entirely and then packed.
  • If possible, your personal computers should be packed in their original boxes; if not available, use a large sturdy box and cushion all components with plastic bubble pack or styrofoam.

Insurance on household goods

Your shipping company/insurance agent will supply you with instructions concerning insurance on your household goods shipment. Pay particular attention to its requirements for separate valued inventory lists for each part of your household goods shipment. These valued inventory sheets must be given to your insurance carrier before you move, so a Certificate of Insurance can be completed and forwarded to you prior to loading your shipment.

Valuables, such as antiques or collections, should be appraised – and a copy of each appraisal should be kept and forwarded to your insurance provider.

Customs and import duties on shipments

  • Personal household goods, furniture and electrical appliances required to ‘set up’ a family home are allowed through customs duty free in South Africa and do not require an import permit.
  • Motor vehicles, tobacco goods and alcoholic beverages (above the usual duty-free allowances) are subject to import duties.
  • An inventory of the goods and your work permit/temporary residence permit must be presented at the time of clearance – your removal agents/relocation agents will provide you with detailed information.

If you need immigration tips or expert advice, ask an Elliott Consultant for assistance.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

If your destination address is unknown. Please fill in the city and country you are moving to and the remaining fields as To be Confirmed (TBC)
Elliott is Amazing logo

Thank you, your request is being submitted.

Please do not close or refresh this page.


Thank you for your interest in our removal services. Unfortunately, we no longer offer local/middle-distance removal services in Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal. With recent changes to our business, our focus is now solely on long-distance and international removals, and as a result, we cannot provide you with a quote for your move. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. Please let us know if you have any further questions or require assistance.