Everything You Need to Know About the New South African Traveller Declaration System

The South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) introduced the new South African Traveller Declaration System during an informative webinar on 17 November 2022.

The webinar also provided clarity on their new web-based application, including the updated processes, requirements and other relevant information.

The new South African Traveller Declaration System forms part of the South African Traveller Management System (SATMS) designed to modernise customs procedures.

SARS’ vision is to ‘implement a Smart Modern and Risk Based Traveller Management System, that promotes South African socio-economic growth and creates a seamless process to facilitate legitimate trade at ports of entry.’

SATMS will be implemented on a voluntary basis at King Shaka International Airport on 29 November 2022. During this pilot phase, insights and feedback will be gathered from public and private stakeholders, before full-scale rolling out to other airports from 1 April 2023.

The system complies with domestic law and will make it easier for travellers to declare goods and cash ahead of their arrival or departure to/from South Africa.

The new South African Online Travel Declaration System aims to bring SARS in line with international standards while maintaining the integrity of the domestic economy and contributing to the country’s overall financial system.

The system plans to create a seamless experience for legitimate traders and travellers at ports of entry while using detection capabilities to respond to any risks quickly.

Envisaged benefits

Convenience: Travellers can complete the online declaration on their platform apps before they arrive or depart.

Operational Efficiency (Time and Cost): Swift and seamless passage through airports.

Risk Mitigation: Strengthen Customs controls and coordinate cross-border enforcement.

Data/Information Security: Will be handled securely to ensure the integrity of information.

Partnerships: Public and Private partnerships to influence change/improvements to the new process, making it easy and simple for travellers to comply with their legal obligations.

Further developments to improve travel include:

· Collaborating with airlines to get more passenger data to boost risk profiling.

· Using modern scanning equipment to automate, manage and monitor trade and travel through our borders.

· Implementing tools like the Single Window System. This will allow government departments to simplify the submission of declarations while improving information exchange between government agencies and reducing trade and travel costs.

· Enhancing cooperation with other countries. This enables the automatic exchange of information to support the integrity of disclosures, resulting in faster legitimate movement.

How it works

· The system collects your travel information before issuing a pass via email. This requires all South Africans and residents leaving or entering South Africa by air to complete the declaration. Once completed and submitted, travellers will receive a pass before boarding.

· The new system will make it easier for travellers to move swiftly on arrival and speeds up boarding times for passengers leaving.

· For travellers who do not want to use the online portal via their mobile devices, a paper form and self-service counters will be available at terminals. Customs officers will also have hand-held devices to assist travellers.

Information required to submit the online declaration

· Passport details

· Traveller details

· Contact details

· Travel companions’ passport numbers

· Entity/Business details when travelling on a business trip

· Goods including currency when entering or leaving the country

For more information, please visit www.sars.gov.za or the dedicated SATMS webpage at www.sars.gov.za/travellerdeclaration For queries and escalations, send an email to TravellerEscalations@sars.gov.za You can watch the recording of the webinar on YouTube

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