Botswana Border Guide
When crossing into the various borders posts in Botswana, there are various rules and regulations citizens and travelers have to abide by when crossing into the countries border posts. These include:
When making baggage declarations, whether verbal or written, it is important to declare all goods in your possession as well as their correct values. Failure to declare goods and their correct values can lead to seizure of your goods, criminal prosecution or the severe penalties of up to three times the value of the goods. When at any of the border posts in the country you must declare:
- Items you bought in any duty-free shop including such items bought duty-free on aircraft or ship.
- All goods acquired outside Botswana in your possession, including items you received as gifts, such as wedding or birthday presents.
- Items you are bringing home for someone else.
- Items you intend to sell or use in your business.
- Repairs or alterations to any items or vehicle you took abroad and then bring back, even if the repairs/alterations were performed free of charge.
(NB!) To avoid any delays or unnecessary problems in future, ask for assistance from customers officers when not sure, or confused as well as carry receipts/slips of items bought outside the Republic of Botswana.
Importing animals is closely regulated for public health reasons and also for the well being of the animals. Domestic pets and livestock may be imported subject to animal health restrictions. Details in this regard can be obtained from the Director of Animal Health and Production, Private Bag 0032, Gaborone.
Note: A valid Certificate of Identity, Rabies Vaccination and Movement Permit issued in Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia or Zimbabwe will be accepted at the time of importation into Botswana.
No boat, mokoro or aquatic apparatus may be imported into Botswana unless the owner is in possession of an Import Permit issued by Department of Water Affairs.
Non-residents visiting Botswana and coming from a country outside the Southern African Common Customs Area for a limited period are normally required to produce a carnet, triptyque or bill of entry (any duty liability thereon being secured by bond or cash deposit) in respect of their motor vehicles. (Note: The Southern African Common Customs Area comprises Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Namibia)
A simplified system involving a Temporary Import Permit is applied to motor vehicles, the bona fide property of a resident of Malawi, Mozambique or Zimbabwe, and a similar system is applied reciprocally between Zambia and Botswana.
Residents of Botswana are not allowed to drive or use foreign registered vehicles in the Botswana for more than fourteen days after importation of such vehicle. If you are intending to do so please contact your nearest customs office for advice. Should you be found in possession of a foreign registered vehicle severe penalties including seizure of vehicles may be imposed.
“Although there is no restriction on cross-border movement of bank notes in Botswana, there is however a need to monitor the movement of money into and out of Botswana for purposes of, among other things, collecting national statistics, monitoring capital flows and balance of payments, and enforcement of anti-money laundering measures.
When you are entering or leaving Botswana you are required to declare Pula and/or foreign currency bank notes in your possession the amount of which equals to or exceeds an equivalent of Ten Thousand Pula (P10,000). You need not declare Travelers cheques and other monetary instruments.
You are advised that under the Customs and Excise Duty Act the definition of goods includes currency, and a person who fails to declare currency may be liable to prosecution.” as said on the Botswana unified revenue service (burs, 2020)
Note: South African transit permits may also be required in respect of plants shipped through South Africa. Details may be obtained from the Director of plant Control and Quarantine, Private Bag X179, Pretoria, South Africa.
Soil is considered the loose surface material of the earth in which plants, trees and scrubs grow. In most cases the soil consists of disintegrated rock with an admixture of organic material and soluble salts. The importation of soil is prohibited unless accompanied by an import permit from the Director of Crop Production and Forestry, Private Bag 003, Gaborone.
The importation of, among other things, the following goods into Botswana is completely prohibited. It is illegal to be found in possession of prohibited goods and may result in seizure and prosecution. These include, but not limited to:
• Narcotic, habit-forming drugs and related substances in any form.
• Military firearms, ammunition and explosives
• Indecent and obscene material such as pornographic books, magazines, films, videos, DVDs and software
Other new or used goods of a total
Value not exceeding (from outside SACU) – 3000 UA*
Other new or used goods of a total
Value not exceeding (from SACU) – 500 UA*
*UA is equivalent to One South African Rand.
Additional goods imported from outside SACU, new or used of a total value not exceeding 12 000 UA* per person, excluding the consumable items detailed above, are admissible at a flat rate of 20%, if the owner so elects.
Note: Duty will be payable at the applicable rates where travelers import goods exceeding the above allowances. Travelers importing goods for business or commercial purpose will not qualify for the above allowances.