Whether business or pleasure, if you’re planning a drive trip to Namibia, Botswana Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, or Lesotho, it’s important to ensure that all the requirements to cross the border are met.
Along with all you need to know about a cross-border letter and how to obtain one, you’ll find a checklist of all the necessary documentation and regulations to prepare for.
Cross-border letters – Why, what, & when?
In a bid to crackdown on vehicle theft, the government implemented safety measures to ensure that stolen vehicles are not taken out of the country. This means that drivers travelling out of the country must carry and present proof of vehicle ownership and other documents whenever crossing at border posts.
A border letter is required under the following situations:
You are the registered owner but a bank is financing the vehicle
If your car is being financed, you are not yet the owner of the vehicle and therefore the finance institution will need to provide you with a cross-border letter. This is a certified letter from the financing bank giving authorisation to take the vehicle across the border and must be signed by the Commissioner of Oaths.
You’re borrowing someone else’s vehicle
If you’re not the registered owner of the car, you’ll need to obtain a police affidavit and a letter of authority from the registered owner granting permission for the vehicle to cross the border for an agreed time frame. You’ll also need the vehicle’s registration papers.
You’re renting the car
In the case of a rented car, you’ll need to obtain a letter of permission from the rental company to travel out of the country with the vehicle.
How to obtain a cross-border letter
Applying for a cross-border letter can be requested online from your financing bank by logging in to your banking profile where your vehicle’s details will be recorded.
A cross-border letter typically requires and includes the following information:
Requesting a cross-border auto insurance letter
Besides the cross-border letter of authority, you will also need proof that your vehicle insurance policy covers cross-border travel. Some neighbouring countries may also request that drivers have international insurance. Without cross-border auto insurance, you are at risk should your vehicle be stolen or damaged outside the country’s borders.
As an Auto & General customer, you can request a cross-border letter for proof of comprehensive insurance valid outside of South Africa. To request a letter simply log in to your profile and follow these easy steps:
- Select a requested item
- Specify your arrival and departure dates
- Add an additional driver if required
Your proof of insurance letter will be automatically emailed to the address supplied.
What are the regulations to cross the border with a car?
As part of your trip planning, use this checklist to ensure you have all the required regulations and documents in order before leaving:
- Letter of authority in the form of a cross-border letter from either:
- The bank if the vehicle is being financed.
- The registered owner if the vehicle if you are not the owner.
- The vehicle hire company if the car is being rented.
- Valid driver’s licence
- Valid vehicle licence
- Valid ID
- Valid passports of all passengers
- Certified copy of vehicle registration papers in the name of the driver.
- If the car is being financed, the copy must be bank-stamped.
- Makes the formalities during border crossings easier for travellers.
- According to AA Travel, a CPD is recommended for travel to countries outside of the Southern African Customs Union (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini).
- This ‘passport’ for your vehicle is an international customs document which allows the vehicle to be temporarily imported into a foreign country.
- Comprehensive vehicle insurance that also covers you outside of South Africa, particularly the country’s you are travelling into.
- ZA car sticker – Compulsory when crossing any of the country’s borders and obtainable from the Automobile Association (AA). The sticker indicates that the vehicle is from South Africa. It must be stuck onto the back of the vehicle no closer than 150mm from the number plate.
Hint: When travelling into Zimbabwe – A square strip of white reflective tape on either side of the car’s front bumper, and a square strip of red tape on either side of the rear bumper is required.
Border regulations can differ between countries and this information should be used as a guideline only. Researching and planning well in advance will go a long way in helping you
understand the requirements of each country fully and ensure a hassle-free entry and exit.
Auto & General’s comprehensive car insurance covers you for South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. If you’re looking for vehicle insurance you can rely on, fill in the online form and get a quote in minutes!