The Benefits of Being a Preferred Trader with SARS

The South African Revenue Service, Customs and Excise Division has embarked on an Approved Economic Operator program in Rule 64E.10 of the Customs and Excise act of 1964. An Importer/Exporter may apply to SARS for the AEO status, which provides preferential treatment in the Customs process.

  • They reduce the amount of surety required for specific Customs procedures, such as Temporary importation of goods into South Africa.
  • And fewer routine documentary and physical inspections.
  • Priority will be given to any TDN submitted.
  • Priority will be given on SARS Queried shipments.
  • They will prioritise inspections for stopped goods and use possible non-intrusive inspections techniques. Further benefits on stopped goods will be the provision to move the stopped shipment to your premises for inspection

The Preferred Trader programme is based on international standards defined in the Revised Kyoto Convention and aims to enhance Customs to business partnerships eliminating unnecessary delays and storage.

Applying for the AEO status entails nominating a representative within the company that would be the point of contact for customs-related matters. This Representative will have to undergo a Customs Sufficient knowledge test. This test will deal with 15 Different external policies issued by SARS. They can then submit the test result with a minimum of 70% to a SARS branch with a Completed DA186, Systems Questionnaire and a Self-assessment form. Based on the information provided, SARS will perform an Audit and summarise all non-compliance they have found and how to rectify them. SARS will, after that, provide you will your AEO status and all the benefits that come with it. A dedicated CRM (Customs Relationship Manager) will be assigned to your business that you can contact for any delays in your customs process.

Although this is a gruelling process, the benefits outweigh the negatives.


To guide you through this process and assist you in getting your AEO status, please contact

Nico Nel
Customs & Clearing Manager
+27 11 394 4480 (Ext 1036)

+27 61 516 0326