Importing to the uk from South Africa

Importing to the uk from South Africa



Original Poster:

62 posts

181 months

Thursday 17th March 2016
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I'm looking to import a classic from South Africa to the uk has anyone done this ? Or have any advice ??


12,300 posts

156 months

Thursday 24th March 2016
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The only advice I can offer as a former resident of SA is be very careful if you are buying an unrestored vehicle.

Older cars that come from the coastal areas of SA tend to be rot boxes, so unless the vehicle in question has been fully restored, ensure that you have it examined carefully, even if it originated from inland SA.


1,707 posts

174 months

Wednesday 14th September 2016
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Am no expert but have imported a few cars from RSA.

Cars in south Africa are only roadworthied (MOT) on change of ownership not yearly like in UK.

Make sure the registration papers match the actual chassis VIN and engine numbers as the car has to go for police clearance before export is allowed - non matching numbers mean no clearance certificate until registration updated. Did another car recently with a modified replacement engine - took 3 months of up and down to update registration certificate etc. prior to clearance.

If licence disc has expired may be required to pay retrospectively not just for current disc. therefore buying a car that is driveable and has current registration makes it easier.

For example, I inherited a Lancia Beta coupe and it took three attempts at police clearance because they could not find the engine number - I think the third time they just wrote down what was on the registration certificate.

The car also has to be microdotted etc. make sure many photos are taken on loading and offloading of container for insurance purposes to ascertain if and when damage took place.

If sharing a container, make sure shipper UK agents are full bonded ie can pre-clear goods. I bought a car in a commercial transaction but the shipper sent it in a shared container with somebody emigrating. Caused huge ruckus here as agent was not bonded and had to wait 2 weeks extra whilst they dealt with HMRC to sort this out.

Just a few lessons learnt.


7 posts

173 months

Sunday 8th November 2020
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Hi, I am looking to import a Classic car from SA but struggling to find a shipping agent that can assist. Has anyone used one recently they could recommend? The vehicle would ship from Durban.


12,300 posts

156 months

Monday 9th November 2020
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Blatcat7 said:
Hi, I am looking to import a Classic car from SA but struggling to find a shipping agent that can assist. Has anyone used one recently they could recommend? The vehicle would ship from Durban.
Can't help with shipping - but just be aware of the fact that Durban is the humidity capital of SA - and rust can be a real issue if the car has lived it's entire
life there.


1,847 posts

82 months

Wednesday 28th December 2022
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Holy thread resurrection Batman.

I am looking at buying a car in South Africa.
Having lived there previously for many years, I know where and where not to buy from.

Anyway, I am looking at peoples experiences of South African shippers, and would you use them again ?

I am looking cars that are 15 to 20 years old, and from what I can gather on teh 'net, to escape import duty, cars must be 25 years old ?
I also did read 30 years old, so again, "on-line confusion"

I understand about the roadworthy certificate, and licence being "up to date" with cars that are off the road, for one reason or another.

I will be buying a fully functioning and drivable car.
I have in my mind, that I will use RORO to a UK port.

I would plan on driving it home from the UK port once the customs have released said vehicle. (insurance on chassis/VIN) number

Please advise


15,564 posts

270 months

Sunday 15th January
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Had a quote a few days ago at a little over £3K to import and sort out paperwork. Jo'berg to UK
I do need someone to inspect the car for me first to see if it's any good though - any offers?