Clothing, tyres, vehicles, raw materials for footwear and textiles


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".

Import Permit
The importer lodges an application through the provided system in Ministry of Trade and Industry Cooperatives and Marketing (MTICM) – OBFC; the system they apply already has an application whereby the importer fills in the required information. After the completion of the form, the importer clicks the save button, and automatically the application reflects in imports & exports officers desk through the system. After receiving the application, the officer searches the send job, checks it against the required standards, if the information is authentic, the officer approves the application and print the permit licence.

Rebate Permit
In order for the importer to obtain the rebate permit, she/he has to be the holder of the manufacturing licence obtained from MTICM. With the manufacturing licence, the importer registers with LRA with the aim of informing the LRA that the products to be manufactured will be exported so that the importer will be exempted from certain duties.


Product coverage

Permits are required for:
Import permit:
- Clothing including used clothing;
- Tires including used tires;
- Vehicles including used vehicles.

Rebate Permit:
- Raw material for footwear & textiles.

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 permit system is not intended to restrict the quantity or value of imports of goods listed but rather to monitor the inflow (collect statistics).


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 permit system applies to goods originating in and coming from all countries with exception of the South African Customs Union region.


Expected duration of licensing procedure

Eligibility of applicants


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


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

All persons firms and institutions in good legal standing are eligible to apply. Both nationals and foreigners with valid residence permits are equally eligible to apply for permits.


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 Trade: one-stop business facility (OBFC) licensing system

Documentation requirements


What information is required in applications?

A sample import application form is required.


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

Documents that the importer is required to supply with the application are: certified copies of passport, traders/manufacturers licence, pro-forma invoice, affidavit forms, clearing instructions, bill of landing or airway bill.

Window of submission of an application


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

Import and rebate permits applications are processed in the minimum time of two hours, and maximum time of a day, but licence application have to be made prior to scheduled importation.


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 licence and/or importation may be made.

Issuing the license


Can a licence be granted immediately on request?

Permits may be granted immediately on request provided all relevant documentation is available and the goods are not yet within the country.


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

Licences may not be obtained within a shorter time-limit as the system automatically detects first applications. However, in circumstances where goods arrive at the port without a permit, such permit maybe issued upon the discretion of the OBFC Director but still have to follow the procedure.


Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?

Consideration of import and rebate permits applications is effected by a single administrative organ


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

however, any relevant documentation required from other administrative organs (such as the police or revenue authorities) has to be procured prior to submission of application to OBFC.


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

No other conditions are attached to the issue of an import permit or rebate.

Fees and other administrative charges


Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?

There are no import licensing fees or administrative charges.


What is the amount of the fee or charge?

There are no import licensing fees or administrative charges.


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

There 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 Trade.


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?

There are no limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence and/or importation may be made.


What documents are required upon actual importation?

Documents required upon actual importation include: import permit, bill of lading or airway bill.


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?

Import and rebate permits are granted per consignment; the validity of a licence may not be extended but a new licence can be granted.


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 cannot be transferable between importers.

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.