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Moving to South Africa – Furniture, cars and pets

Immigration and moving to South Africa is an exciting and adventurous time, but it can also be difficult and stressful. When moving to South Africa, many people prefer to bring their furniture and household items with them for reasons that include sentimental value, financial value, or just not wanting to go through the hassle of furnishing a house afresh.

Foreign nationals wanting to move to South Arica might also want to bring along their beloved pets, or they might want to consider shipping their car to South Africa.

Shipping to South Africa can be a complex and time-consuming process, but Language Recruiters has some advice to make the move to South Africa less stressful.

Moving to South Africa - Furniture and household items

Cape Town has a major harbour, making it an ideal location for shipping your furniture to South Africa. A six metre container can cost anything between R30 000 and R50 000. It is possible to save money by using the container share or “groupage” option, which allows you to only pay for the space you need and use.

When you first arrive in South Africa, we recommend that you rent a self-catering, furnished apartment while you look for your new home and wait for your furniture to arrive. If your household goods arrive before you find a house to rent, you should consider putting your furniture into a storage unit. Once you have chosen your new home your household goods can be sent to you.

It is important that you choose a reputable international removal company to ensure a successful and stress-free immigration and move to South Africa. We advise you to consider getting insurance cover to protect your valuables during transportation. You can search online for international moving companies which work between your country and South Africa. Consider a few companies to be able to compare quotes and services. Some companies also offer professional packing, which is very helpful as it eliminates extra stress and hard work.

AGS movers, DHL and Pickfords are all great international companies that provide the service of shipping to South Africa.

Shipping your furniture to South Africa can take from three to eight weeks; make sure to check the calendar to avoid holidays which can cause unnecessary delays.

All new residents moving to South Africa are allowed to bring in their furniture and personal items duty-free, but it is required that the foreign national be in the country before the items arrive.

Moving to South Africa - Shipping your car to South Africa

Shipping your car to South Africa can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Buying a car once you are in South Africa might be a better idea.

Foreigners immigrating to South Africa can import their cars duty-free as long as the owner can prove that the vehicle has been used for at least one year, and that the car is being imported for the owner’s personal use and will not be sold or disposed of within two years. A ’Letter of Authority’ from the South African Bureau of Standards needs to be received before you can proceed with shipping your car to South Africa.

Moving to South Africa - Pet travel

When immigrating to South Africa, one of the most important things to consider is your pets’ travel arrangements. Possible quarantines, local laws, documents and air travel safety are all things that need to be considered when relocating with your furry friend.

The Director of Animal Health has to grant you a veterinary import permit. You must obtain this permit before the animal is sent from your home country. All pets entering South Africa must be microchipped with a 15 digit ISO pet microchip.

South Africa does not quarantine healthy pets as long as the pet has the required paperwork and vaccinations for entering South Africa.

Ensure that your pets container meets the airline's regulations, and that it is big enough for the animal to lie down and move around comfortably. The container should be labelled with "Live Animal” and “This Side Up”. The pets container should also state your name, address and telephone number. There should be extra food and water attached to the container, in case of flight delays. Medication directions should be clearly provided.

The Veterinary Health Certificate has to be provided by a veterinarian approved by the Government Veterinarian Authority. This is the only health certificate recognized upon arrival in South Africa. If this original health certificate is not provided or has been incorrectly completed, your pet will unfortunately be sent back to your home country, or will be put in quarantine for up to sixty days.

If you are planning to move to South Africa, Language Recruiters is able to provide advice and guidance through the process of your move and immigration to South Africa. For immigration advice and work opportunities, please contact us.