On my next trip to the UK I plan to bring back a couple of air rifles i.e. the remainder of my collection ? I?m a Pom living over here ? and having researched the procedure for importing an air rifle (with some help from this site) I thought I?d share my findings with members. For me there was good and bad news. Good: as I already own the air rifles there will be no import duty or VAT to pay. Bad: both rifles are in 5.5mm calibre, so I will have to source the parts to convert them to .177 or .20 ? this may be difficult, but let?s hope it?s possible.
My first contact was with ITAC for the purpose of obtaining an import permit; their website is at www.itac.org.za I browsed the site and downloaded form IE463 ?Application for Importation of Personal or Individual Goods?. I also looked up the short classification code for air rifles which is 93.04. Then I rang ITAC and asked to speak to someone in Import Control. I was put through to Ernest who was polite, helpful and efficient. I asked Ernest to talk me through each section of the form ? a practice I would recommend ? and I soon had the form completed. I had to phone Customs (012-4226712 or 021-413 5000 depending where in SA you are) to get the full tariff classification code, which turned out to be: 93.04.00.20 and I had to provide a copy of my passport and business/residence permit. All documents were scanned and emailed to Ernest at ITAC and I was told that the normal turn-round time is 3 days. This will suit me as I fly to Europe in one week?s time.
My next contact was with the airline ? Air France ? to determine the requirements for transporting an air rifle. I was told that it may be possible but it?s not a ?right? ? a request has to be made to the pilot. So if you want to do this you should give the airline plenty of notice. Second, the air rifle(s) will need to be packaged in a rigid, lockable case and checked in as hold baggage. I found a suitable double case on the web site of Blackpool Air Rifles (www.airgunbuyer.com) whom I have used before and I can vouch for their excellent service. Price was approx. ?40 or R640 ? quite reasonable.
One more issue you should consider is whether the additional weight of the rifles plus hard case will render you liable for ?excess baggage? charges by the airline. You should try to avoid this, otherwise you could end up owning one of the most expensive air rifles in South Africa. Everyone deserves a bit of luck now and then and here?s my piece: over the past years I?ve collected a few ?air miles? and I?ve learned I can use some of them to pay any excess baggage charges. As me old Dad used to say, ?Some folks can fall into a sewer and come out smelling of roses!?