Customs regulations for your trip to Zambia

Last modified: July 24, 2023
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Customs regulations

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport certified by Zambia Revenue Authority
  • Packing list
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) – express release accepted / air waybill (AWB)
  • Copy of resident / work permit certified by Zambia Revenue Authority
  • Original letter of employment
  • Detailed inventory of new items in English, dated, valued, and signed by the owner of the goods (bought less than 6 months prior to shipment arrival) attached to the original invoices
  • Tax Identification Number

Specific Information

  • Owner of the goods should be in the country prior to shipment arrival.
  • Relevant documents must be received by the agent prior to the arrival of the shipment to minimize any port charges.
  • Shipper must be present for Customs clearance if requested by Customs for an interview.

Free import

  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 500g of tobacco. There are no information on age restrictions
  • 1L of spirits (over 25% volume of alcohol) or 2L of lighter alcohol beverages (up to 25% volume of alcohol)
  • Non-commercial amount of gifts and other items for personal use.

Non Tariff Barriers:There are generally few barriers to trade. On occasion, the government has imposed bans on importing certain products (meat).

Import Procedures

The Government of Zimbabwe requires the following import documentation: a bill of entry plus relevant invoices, shipping documents such as a bill of lading, freight statements, and certificates of origin, especially for products entering from member states of SADC and the PTA.

Importing Samples

Importing samples and other temporary products requires the payment of a deposit, which is refundable on export, or applying for a temporary import privilege guaranteed by a bank or insurance company.

Dutiable Items

  • Electrical items, 25% of the invoice value and 16% VAT
  • Computers, 15% of the invoice value and 16% VAT
  • Firearms and ammunition (authorization from the territorial administration is required)
  • Alcohol and spirits should be sent separately from a personal effects shipment and are subject to 100% tax.
  • Endangered species and any products or parts thereof as outlined by the Washington Convention or CITES (authorization from CITES is required).
  • Medication
  • Hunting weapons (authorization from the Ministry of Interior is required)
  • Cigarettes (200), cigars (50), cigarillos (100), tobacco (500 g), alcohol (2.5 L), spirits (2.5 L)
  • Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports 17.24%

Prohibited Items

  • Unlawful drugs
  • Narcotics
  • Pornography
  • Counterfeit items
  • Cultural artifacts and other objects of cultural importance
  • Henna
  • Palm trees and any byproducts
  • Explosive materials

It is against both Zambian and U.S. law to buy, possess, or transport animals or animal products, such as warthog tusks, tortoise shell, rhino horn, elephant ivory, or any items made from these materials.  In Zambia, penalties range from large fines to mandatory minimum five-year prison sentences.  The Department of National Parks and Wildlife has screeners at international ports of entry and will fully prosecute offenders of the law.  While many of these items are sold in open markets aimed at foreign tourists, it remains the responsibility of the customer to ensure that he/she is not purchasing a prohibited item.

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original passport of owner of the goods
  • Original registration card
  • OBL / AWB
  • Non-sale certificate
  • Car invoice (must show purchase price and date of purchase)
  • Letter of transfer (from the shipper`s employer)
  • Work permit/ resident/ diplomatic ID
  • JEVIC certificate (if vehicle is coming from Japan, Singapore, South Africa or UK)

Specific Information

  • OBL must include chassis number, engine number, color, model, make and weight of the vehicle.
  • The duty rate on new cars is 25% of the invoice value + 16% value added tax.
  • The excise duty is 30%
  • Carbon tax is $30.00
  • In order to avoid any unnecessary delays and charges for demurrage and storage due to lengthy Customs procedures, the agent must receive a copy of the required documentation prior to arrival of the shipment; check with agent for specific timeframes.


Documents Required

  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Vaccination record

Specific Information

  • Permission to import animals is required from the Government Veterinary.
  • Note: The Government Veterinary is the section under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock in Zambia that examines animals and issues permits to the exporters and importers.
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