Frequently Asked Questions


MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY

MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS 

ONE STOP BUSINESS FACILITATION CENTER

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

LESOTHO REVENUE AUTHORITY

CUSTOMS MODERNISATION PROGAMME PILOT

 


MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY

 

Q: What do I need to import animals?

Permit is required to import animals,meat,vegetables and milk, and one has to acquire such permit from the department of Livestock.

Q: Can I buy animals from all farms in South Africa?

It cannot be from every farm. South Africa Veterinary Service screens farms for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) especially cattle and sheep then Compartmentalization is issued. For every species or meat imported Health Attestation Certificate is needed.

Q: How many kilograms of meat are allowed for importation?

For home consumption only 10kg of meat can be imported.

Q: Do I need a permit to import a gift of animals from my friend in South Africa?

It is compulsory to require import permit regardless of the type of animal.

Q: Do I need permit for Calves Bred in South Africa, even though the animals belong to me?

It has to be reported on a change of livestock bred in South Africa if one has a farm, and change has to be made on the import permit for such a person.

Q: After the animals were examined by a Veterinary Service in South Africa, do they need to be examined again in Lesotho at the Border?

Livestock department is mandated to control import and export of livestock products for control of transboundry diseases, and also prevent fraudulent practices such Adulteration, Misleading and Substitution; therefore animals will have to be examined by Veterinarians when they get to the border post.

Q: Do I need permit to export/import cats and dogs?

Movement permit will be needed.

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MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS 

About Visas

Q: What do I need to come to Lesotho?

A valid passport and a medical certificate if one is from an endemic region.

Q: Do I need a Visa?

Yes, where necessary, it depends upon state abolishment agreements.

Q: Where can I get a Visa?

Lesotho embassy, high commission or consulates office outside Lesotho.

Q: Is there any altenative visa issuing authority?

Yes, Immigration headquarters in Lesotho.

Q: How long does it take to get a Visa?

Depends on the process that involves clearing agencies that cannot be mentioned for security reasons.

Q: Can I send somebody to get me a visa?

Yes, involves in clearing agencies.

Q: What types of visas do you issue?

Single entry visa and multiple entry visas.

Q: Does the type of visa issued, allow me to exit through a different border post?

One can get in through Maseru Bridge and exit at another border post.

Q: Can the visa issued allow me to reside in Lesotho?

Visa does not allow a person to reside in Lesotho but would need a residence permit.

Q: Do I pay for visa applied for?

Payment is made for visas applied for.

Q: What are the requirements to get visas, for trade purposes?

  • Invitation letter reflecting the following: letter head of the company, purpose of visit to Lesotho, approximate period of presence in Lesotho and full names and signature of company/institutional representative
  • Passport copy of visitor
  • Trader’s licence of company
  • Tax clearance
  • Itinerary/return ticket if by air
  • Appropriate fee per type of visas required
  • A valid passport that has at least three (3) clean pages upon entry.

About Residence Permit

Q: What are the requirements for a residence permit?

  • Letter of application and completed form
  • Work permit
  • Traders licence
  • Income tax clearance
  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Memorandum and articles of association
  • Certified photocopies of passport
  • Police clearance
  • Application fee of M1600.00.

Q: Where can I get a residence permit?

At Immigration headquarters and district level.

Q: Is it possible to apply online?

No.

Q: How long does it take to get a residence permit?

Depends on approval and process that includes the signature of Director Immigration, Principal Secretary and Minister Home Affairs.

Q: Can I send someone to apply on my behalf?

No, this process involves signature and finger print taking.

Q: what types of residence permit do you offer?

Temporary residence permits for 90 days.

Temporary permit for 2 years and the indefinite permit.

Q: Do I pay for residence permits and how much if so?

Permits are paid for and fees depend on type of permit applied for general application fee is M1500.00.

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ONE STOP BUSINESS FACILITATION CENTER

Extra SACU Export

Q: What steps do I have to follow when I want to export to extra SACU?

Contact OBFC IT Officials to obtain a password so that you can log into the OBFC System to generate export documents.

Q: What export documents do I need to generate?

SAD 500 - a declaration document
SAD 502 – transit document
Certificate of origin
Invoice
Inspection Certificate

Note: There are different certificates of origin for different Trade Agreements and Countries

Consult Customs for inspection and let them fill in inspection report

Take inspection certificate to Trade and ask for the relevant certificate of origin

Fill in all documents listed above and hand them over to Customs for High level check after which they will be ready for dispatch

Q: What do I need to export to European Countries?
EUR 1 certificate is used.

Q: What do I need to export to Developed Countries?

GPS is used
SADC – SADC Countries
China – China
Canada – Canada

Lesotho Movement Certificate is used for export to all countries that do not have any trade agreement with Lesotho and if certain goods are not covered under any of the above Agreements.

 Q: What do I need to register a company?

Form 1
Form 8 consent to act as the director of the company
Certified copies of identification documents of directors, shareholders
Own articles of incorporation if not adopting the standard model articles

Q: How much does it cost to register a company?

Incorporation fee is M500 for internal company and M1000 for an external company

Q: Difference between a private and public company?

Private company: can be formed by one to 50 shareholders and prohibits issue or transfer of shares to the general public
Public company: can be formed by more than 50 shareholders and do not restrict issue or transfer of share to the general public

Q: Difference between an external and internal company?

An external company is private company incorporated outside Lesotho while an internal company is a company that is originally incorporated in Lesotho

Q: Can public servant be director of a company?

A public servant while serving in government cannot be a director of the company but a public servant can be a shareholder of a company

Q: Do I need a lawyer to register a company?

Under Companies Act 2011 a person does not need a lawyer to register a company but any person is free to engage a lawyer

Q: If person is shareholder does that person have to be a director of the company?

A shareholder can be any person even an infant but a director is a person who is not disqualified under the Companies Act 2011 to act as a director

Q: If a person registers an internal company with non-Mosotho is any there any legal requirements for shareholding?

The Companies Act 2011 only requires the company to notify the Registrar of Companies within 14 day after transaction of transfer of shares has taken place in the company.

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MINISTRY OF HEALTH

Q: What do you monitor at points of entry?

Monitor baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods, postal parcels, and human remains departing and arriving from affected areas.

Q: Does Health also inspect port facilities used by travelers for their safety, hygiene and maintenance status?

Port health also conduct inspections of facilities, including potable water supplies, food establishments, flight catering facilities, public washrooms, appropriate solid and liquid waste disposal services and other potential risk areas for safe environment.

Q: When does Health undertake deratting, disinfection, disinsection, decontamination of baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods, postal parcels or human remains?

When there is suspicion that such conveyances, baggage, cargo, containers, goods, postal parcels or human remains harbor organisms of infectious diseases.

Q: What commodities does Health inspect at ports of entry?

Food commodities, medicines and chemicals for their safety.

Q: What about travelers?

·         Travelers are screened for yellow fever vaccination certificate

·         Travelers are health educated on international travel and health issues

Q: What are the contact numbers for Port Health?

(+266) 22325 608 or 58852916

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LESOTHO REVENUE AUTHORITY

Q. Why do we pay tax?

Taxes are paid primarily to raise revenue for the Government; the Government finances spending on public goods and services out of money collected from taxes. Examples of public goods and services include: construction of roads, hospitals, education, health, infrastructure development etc.

Q. What documentation do I need for clearance of motor vehicles imported from Extra SACU?

Declaration forms dully processed from the South African side, accompanied by proof of purchase (Invoice),

Q. What documentation do I need for clearance of motor vehicles imported from Intra SACU?
 

The following document should accompany the Properly filled SAD form:

  • Invoice or proof of Purchase
  • Original SARPPCO clearance certificate
  • Original RSA registration certificate
     

Q. What are the requirements for general importation of goods to Lesotho?

Properly filed declaration form together with proof of purchase

 

Q. What modes of payment are applicable at the Lesotho borders for payment of revenue arising out of imported goods?

Revenue payment may be collected through various means at the Lesotho borders, these are dependent on the choice of the importer ;

  • Cash
  • Bank guaranteed  company Cheque ( Local banks)
  • Electronic Funds Transfer
  • Deferred Payment (Import Vat Credit Facility System)

  

Q. Could you please explain in detail the use of tax invoices for payment of VAT?

Tax invoices may be used as a means of payment for import VAT on goods purchased from South Africa only. This is so because the arrangement of use of tax invoice has been arranged between the two countries alone (Lesotho and RSA) excluding the other members of the Southern African Countries Union (SACU).  The arrangement was made to alleviate the burden from the importers; where they found themselves trapped in a situation of double payment of VAT for a single transaction.  For validity of the tax invoice visit www.lra.org.ls

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Customs Modernisation Programme Pilot

New System General

Q. Who is affected by the Pilot?

Anyone who completes and submits SADs for commercial goods or any importation or exportation above M5000.00.The new procedures for Intra SACU Imports and Exports and Extra SACU Imports will be piloted from 2nd August 2014. The pilot will take place at Maputsoe Bridge Border Crossing. The procedure for Extra SACU exports will be piloted from 30th August.

Q. What will be the effect?

The information and documentation requirement remains the same as currently used, however it must be submitted in an electronic format. This will use the ASYCUDA WORLD Computer System to complete an electronic SAD and submit supporting documents. Information must be submitted in advance and clearance can be given in advance using an assessment notice. You will need to pay any applicable Customs duties and VAT. Once payment has been made the goods can proceed to the border. Upon arrival the driver will be told whether the goods are release or required for inspection. When goods are ready to be released the inspection Officer will print and issue a release notice permitting the goods to proceed.

Q. What will I need to make a declaration?

Firstly you must make sure that you are registered with LRA Customs as an ASYCUDA System User using Form ASY 1. Once you have done this you will receive the USER ID, which is necessary to access the ASYCUDA system to enable you to download the software required free of charge. You must make sure that your computers are equipped to deal with the software and that your internet connectivity is of a suitable standard. Specific information on this and a downloadable copy of the Form ASY 1 can be found on either the LRA website www.lra.org.ls or the Lesotho Trade Portal www.lesothotradeportal.org.ls. You will also require a high-resolution scanner so that you can scan and attach your accompanying documents electronically to your declaration. Please note that a 3-day Trade Education Programme will be delivered to declarants ahead of the pilot; this will involve gaining hands on experience with the ASYCUDA application.

Q. What do I do if I am not a commercial company but need to make declaration?

A simplified procedure will be used for non-commercial consignment up to M5,000. These will include declarations for private citizens and NGOs etc. Please note that this is only a temporary measure which will be revised sometime in the future. All consignments above M5, 000 will be deemed as commercial and will require a full declaration from a registered importer/agent. Non-commercial declarants will be able to make use of a Data Capture service which will be provided by LRA Customs, where data processors will complete and submit the SAD for the declarant. Please note that the data processors will only transmit your information and for legal reasons cannot assist with completion of the SAD.

Q. Will I still be able to submit paper declarations?

Not at Maputsoe but at any other commercial crossing point

Q. How much will it cost me to declare?

There is no charge by Customs but obviously there will be some initial start-up costs if your office IT and internet connectivity do not meet the specifications required. These will be offset by the reduces cost and time savings in the clearing process.

REGISTRATION

Q. What is required to register for ASYCUDA?

To be registered for ASYCUDA you must be a registered for ASYCUDA you must be a registered Lesotho Business with a TIN number issued by LRA. A downloadable copy of the From ASY 1 can be found on either the LRA website www.lra.org.ls or the Lesotho Trade Portal www.lesothotardeportal.org.ls. Declarants can also collect a registration form from their nearest Advice center. Once the form is completed and signed registration form and accompanying passport sized photos should be scanned and sent to Retselisitsoe Mporo ecustoms @lra.org.ls as soon as possible, failure to return the form could lead to the declarant not being able to use the Maputsoe Bridge border post. The hard copy of the registration document should also be submitted to any LRA Advice Centre.

Q. Who can be registered on ASYCUDA?

Any individual or company that regularly declares commercial goods movements to LRA Customs.

Q. How do I get a Tin Number?

A Tin number will be provided by LRA through Advice Centre.

Q. What will happen on the day that Maputsoe goes live?

LRA Customs staff working at Maputsoe will operate ASYCUDA and staff will either work in document processing or as an Inspector. Instead of submitting your document manually you will be required to use ASYCUDA to submit your SAD and accompanying documents. Once you have made advance payment for the goods you will be issued with an assessment notice which means the goods can now proceed to the border. Upon arrival at the border the driver will be told that the consignment is ready for release and he/she will be given release and exit notices or that the goods are to be inspected.

CLEARANCE

Q. How far in advance can I receive Clearance?

As soon as you have all the information and documentation required to make a submission you can make a declaration and receive clearance.

Q. What documents are required to support the declaration?

There is no change in the documents required. You will need to scan the documents so that they can be uploaded on the computer to accompany the electronic SAD. Documents, such as licences, that require stamping can be presented to the Inspector will not check the documents as this will have already been done by a Clearance Officer.

Q. What happens if there are errors in the declaration?

If there are errors the Clearance Officer or query officer will contact you by mail message or telephone.

Q. How can errors be adjusted?

Where the error is minor the Clearance Officer may alter the SAD but will inform you that this has happened. Where the errors are more serious or complex you may be required to attend the Border Crossing.

Q. What if I am importing a private car and need a document to register the vehicle?

Declarations will be made using the ASYCUDA System. The required VAT11, in the short term, will continue to be issued manually by LRA

Q. What do I need to do when the goods arrive at the border post?

The driver accompanying the goods must report to the Inspector who will indicate whether the goods are to be release or are required for physical examination.

Q. Can my Clearing Agent in South Africa clear for me (after clearing with SARS)?

In future all declarants must fulfil the legal requirement to be registered in Lesotho

PAYMENT AND ACCOUNTING

Q. How do I make a payment?

For the immediate period, there will be on change to the payment methods that can be used except that the presentation of multiple cheques for the same transaction will no longer be accepted.

Q. Will I be able to use my IVCF Account?

IVCF will be suspended at Maputsoe and replaced by a deferment account, Current IVCF user will automatically be transferred to this secure system. The deadlines for settling of deferred VAT accounts will be more strictly enforced.

Q. Can I still use my bond?

Again, existing bonds have been transferred to the ASYCUDA System and remain Valid

Q. If I am an agent will I be able to use the bond of my client?

Yes, but a specific letter signed by your client giving authorization will need to be scanned in to accompany each declaration. This can be general and not specific for each transaction.

Q. What will happen with the VOC system?

Currently there remains a need to retain a manual version of the VOC, however it is hoped to replace this shortly by and electronic system that meets SACU requirements.

PILOT ISSUES

Q. How do I proceed with shipments where entries had already been processed and the shipments are in transit?

Regrettably it will not be possible to maintain two systems so the information will have to be reloaded using the ASYCUDA System.

Q. What happens if I have been chosen for inspection?

The Inspector will advise whether the goods are to be examined at Maputsoe or at trader premises. The Inspector will report the results of the examination to the Clearance Office who will release the goods when he/she is satisfied that the SAD accurately reflects the actual goods.

Q. What assistance can I expect from LRA, who can I call to get more information?

LRA Customs will be holding several Trader Education events for Maputsoe border users, each lasting 3 days and designed to cover the background to the new procedures and the practical workings of the electronic declaration processing system, ASYCUDA.