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US Customs Gun check

This is a discussion on US Customs Gun check within the Before & After the Hunt forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; We're leaving in mid September for our first trip to South Africa. My buddy is have a gun built for ...

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    EDELWEISS is offline AH Senior Member
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    Default US Customs Gun check

    We're leaving in mid September for our first trip to South Africa. My buddy is have a gun built for him. The builder says that it will be done in plenty of time for the hunt but its not done yet. How much delay time does it take to register the guns with US Customs? Can we take the guns and have them registered while we wait or is there a further delay?

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    5 minutes..in and out deal. Just find a location near you...the rifle must be in the possession of the person Whois taking it...I.e your wife can't do it on your behalf

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    I am not sure where you live...

    What i do is take the gun to the customs office and have the paper work filled out.

    i usually do it 2 ways.

    One fill-out the form with all the information and then print a copy and take it with you for then to sign and stamp.

    second is to take a blank one and have them fill-out the form...

    You have it the day you take the rifle for inspection.

    make sure it is unloaded and bolt out of the rifle.

    second make sure it is not obvious in the office environment.

    i call ahead to set up a time to meet them and tehn go in and the go back to bring the rifle into them.
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    bdmd5093 is offline AH Member
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    I spent more time on the phone scheduling the appointment than I did in the office--literally I was in and out in 5 minutes. Locate the closest one to you and call them to schedule the appointment.

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    EDELWEISS is offline AH Senior Member
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    OK what about the import to SA? Ive been advised to pay a local group to take care of it; but Ive also heard I can do it when we land. We are flying to Jo'burg, then have a 5 hour lay over before flying to Port Elizabeth. Is that enough time or should I have it done in advance by locals?

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    When you get to the customs office walk in first without the gun to let them know you are bringing one in and bring it in, in the gun case, without the bolt in it. They like that approach.
    You are "registering" your rifle with Customs. You are only showing them your rifle and they sign the form acknowledging that you had it before you left the country. They keep no paperwork on your rifle what so ever.

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    As far as the import to SA- I've done it 3 times myself and used a service twice. Both can be done. On your own it may take a while longer as the services jump in front of you but it's doable. You pull the SAP form off of the internet (ALL Pages) and there are several websites that show you how to fill them out (some pages are not filled out BUT you will need ALL the pages when you check in. DO NOT SIGN YOUR NAME TO THE FORM UNTIL YOU ARE IN FRONT OF THE OFFICER AND THEY ASK YOU TO SIGN! Have a black ink pen with you, black only. You get to the SAPs office and wait to get your gun case then an officer (I had a female officer the last time and she was very helpful) will ask to see your serial numbers on your Customs 4457 form (remember the one you went a got before you left?)and check them against the gun then she/he gives the papers to a "clerk" behind the desk who does some computer work and typing on your form and when they are done you are done and gone. The clerks work on African time, don't get upset because they work slow. keep smiling and take it as part of the experience of Africa. Do not lose your papers while in country. You will need them to check out and if stopped on the road you'll need them then. I keep mine in my passport neck pouch right next to my passport.

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    beretta shooter is offline New Member
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    Very simple process. Depending on the customs office you use, you may need an "appointment". Just call ahead to make sure. You are looking to fill out form 4457. It essentially proves you took the rifle out of the USA and brought it back so you don't pay duty. I also take binos, scopes, etc. Things of value. I asked about other electronics or cameras. The customs officer that helped me said he's never charged duty on a camera brought back.
    Hope this helps and have a great hunt!

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    I can't vouch for all US customs offices, but I can tell you about mine. You mail or E-mail the guns make model, caliber and serial number. I also did my scope, bino's and camera on it. I did NOT have to go to the office. He then sent out the signed and sealed form for me via the US mail. You might call to see if this is a option for you. Only 1 office in WY. Bruce

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    A couple of corrections: you are not registering your gun with Customs, you are registering (documenting) that you are in possession of the firearm prior to leaving the U.S. You can then return to the U.S. with that documentation that shows you owned the firearm prior to your trip overseas. Customs does not keep any record of your paperwork. It is a good idea to also have cameras, binoculars, etc. on the same forms and present for the inspecting Customs officer.

    I did not make an appt. for Customs inspection (I live in a large city) and signature of my paperwork, I just arrived at their office with the completed paperwork, went inside (leaving the firearm secured in my vehicle, unloaded), got a Customs officer who came out to my truck and inspected the firearm. He signed the form, wished me good hunting, and I was off.

    As for SAP paperwork and registering your firearm: I used a service and it was worth the price of $100. The gun service folks told me I could do it myself but if I ended up in line behind six guys from Spain who can't speak English and there isn't a SAP officer who speaks Spanish, I could end up in line for quite a while. After that long flight the last thing I want to do is screw around in a line for paperwork issues.
    The gun service folks also won't put up with the bribe stuff that I've seen in the J-burg SAP office.

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    As everyone has said, U.S. side is easy. Deff call your customs office as some are only open certain times of the day as well as certin days of the week. Our local one was only open 3 days a week. Once you know this just show up with your stuff and forms and you are good to go.

    As for SA? I say it depends on how well you deal with people when you are really really really pissed off. If you are really really nice then do it yourself. If people drive you up the wall, then pay for the service. Either way it can be done simply and sometimes really quickly. I used the service mainly beause it was my first time and wanted everything to go smoothly. Next trip i might do it myself. But at this point in the game what is another $100????

    Good luck and dont sweat it. either way will work for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gillettehunter View Post
    I can't vouch for all US customs offices, but I can tell you about mine. You mail or E-mail the guns make model, caliber and serial number. I also did my scope, bino's and camera on it. I did NOT have to go to the office. He then sent out the signed and sealed form for me via the US mail. You might call to see if this is a option for you. Only 1 office in WY. Bruce


    They gave you a 4457 without actually verifying the serial number in person? That's hard to believe.
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