Customs and Excise Officer

Customs and excise officers inspect people and ships, aeroplanes and motor vehicles entering and leaving the country to ensure that the correct duties are being paid, illegal goods such as drugs, fauna and flora are not being smuggled and that the necessary documentation is in order.

Customs and excise can be divided into three groups:

  • Customs affairs: Control all imports and exports and ensure that the correct import duties are paid. They inspect books and documents of importers and exporters to ensure that legislation is complied with and examine goods to determine their composition
  • Excise affairs: Ensure that excise duties are levied from firms licensed to manufacture taxable goods such as cigarettes, alcoholic drinks and petrol. They may also carry out inspections on board ships and aircraft entering the country, or inspect the premises of large manufacturers of goods for export to ensure that the correct excise duties are being paid
  • Passenger and external services: Search baggage, question passengers and crew members, conduct body searches and may have to arrest people found guilty of contravening the law. They are stationed at places of arrival such as frontier-posts and airports

Personal Requirements

A customs and excise officer should:

  • be fair and polite
  • be firm
  • be alert and observant
  • know human behaviour
  • be physically fit

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate.

What to Study

South African Revenue Service: in-service training at six different centres throughout the country. Tests and examinations must be completed successfully.
Certificates for each course are issued.

Note: Promotional prospects are good for the customs officer who is diligent and prepared to study further. He can be promoted as follows:

  • Senior customs officer.
  • Chief customs officer.
  • Control customs officer.


Department of Finance

Further Information

The Commissioner of Customs and Excise
Private Bag X47
Pretoria, 0001

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work with customs
  • make an appointment to speak to a customs and excise officer about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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