Alcoholic beverages


Basic information


Outline of the system

The list of products covered under Lesotho's Import Licensing/Import Permit system has been specified in the "Import Restrictions (Amendment) Regulations, 2009". This regulation also stipulates the relevant authorities responsible for managing the licensing process of each product. The import licensing system generally requires an importer to first approach the relevant issuing authority to be guided on the specific application material required for importation of the specified product. Once the necessary documentation has been procured, the importer presents these along with a completed application form to the issuing authority for consideration. The documentation is then reviewed against the administrative requirements and within the timeline specified by the issuing authority for import of the specified product. An import permit is issued once the approval process is complete. Applied terminology varies by institution with some issuing "import permits" while other issue "import licences".

The importer lodges an application with the licensing office at the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture. Applicants are required to pay a M60.00 fee to obtain the application form. All applications are reviewed by the licensing board once a month. Once an application is approved, applicants are required to pay M 1, 200.00 fees before an import licence can be issued.


Product coverage

Permits are required for alcoholic beverages.

Nature of licensing



If Automatic, administrative purpose



If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime


Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

The licensing system is not intended to restrict the quantity or value of imports of goods but to address demand needs when there are shortages at the Maluti Brewery.


Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

Not applicable.


The system applies to products originating from which country?

The system applies to goods originating in and coming from all countries.


Expected duration of licensing procedure

Eligibility of applicants


Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?

Only off-sales licences are allowed to import alcoholic beverages into Lesotho.


What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?

Otherwise, authority to import and distribute alcoholic beverages is assigned to the Lesotho Brewery Company.


Is there a registration fee?


Is there a published list of authorized importers?

Contact point for information on eligibility










E-mail address




Contact officer

Submission of an application


Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment

Documentation requirements


What information is required in applications?

A sample application form is required.


What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?

Additional documentation required include; lease for business establishment (or sub-lease agreement), plan of trading location with a stamp of approval from the city council, tax certificates from the Lesotho Revenue Authority, and evidence of satisfactory inspection by the Department of Police, Health Inspector and Officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture.

Window of submission of an application


How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?

Applications must be made at least a month before the intended date of importation. Licences cannot be granted within a shorter period of time.


Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain

There are no limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licences to import alcoholic beverages may be made.

Issuing the license


Can a licence be granted immediately on request?

Licence cannot be granted immediately on request.


Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence


Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?

Consideration of licence to import is effected by a single administrative organ, which is the licensing office at the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment.


Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?

However, prior to submission of required documentation, applicants are required to present supporting documentation from the city council, department of police, health inspectors and the Lesotho Revenue Authority.


Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?

No additional conditions are attached to the issue of a licence.

Fees and other administrative charges


Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?



What is the amount of the fee or charge?

A M 60.00 fee is required to obtain an application form and a M 1, 200.00 is administered once an application has been approved.


Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?

There is no deposit or advance payment requirement.


Amount or rate?


Is it refundable?


What is the period of retention?


What is the purpose of this requirement?

Refusal of an application


Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?

Permits are not granted on the basis that the applicant did not meet requirements or presented falsified information.


Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?

Reasons for refusal are given to the applicant in writing.


Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?

The applicant can appeal the decision to the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture.


If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?

There is no appeal procedure specified in the legislation.



Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?


What documents are required upon actual importation?

Documents required upon actual importation include: Valid import licence and declaration of invoices


Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?

There are no other administrative procedures.

Conditions of licensing


What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?

A licence to import alcoholic beverages is granted for a period of 1 year with yearly extensions allowed 3 months prior to expiry. A M 12.00 penalty is incurred if renewal is not done in time.


Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?

There is no penalty for the non-utilisation of a licence or a portion of a licence.


Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?

Licences can be transferred between importers. A M 60.00 fee is required before an application can be completed to transfer a valid licence. An inspection of the new business establishment is also undertaken as part of the review process for an application to transfer. A further M 400.00 fee is administered once the transfer is approved.

Foreign Exchange


Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?

Foreign exchange is automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported if other administrative procedures required are fulfilled.


Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?

Licences are not required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange.


Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?


What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?

Formalities to be fulfilled to obtain the foreign exchange include the presentation of identification document, proof of sufficient funds in bank account, and a Pro-Forma Invoice.