How to Apply for a Barcode in South Africa: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re planning to sell any packaged products, such as food items or cosmetics, in South Africa, you will need a barcode. Barcodes are unique identifiers that help retailers and distributors keep track of inventory and sales data. In this article, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a barcode in South Africa.

Step 1: Determine the Type of Barcode You Need

Before applying for a barcode, you need to determine the type of barcode you require. In most cases, standard UPC/EAN barcodes are used in South Africa. However, if your product is not sold at retail stores or supermarkets, alternative types of barcodes may be required.

Step 2: Choose an Approved Barcode Provider

In South Africa, GS1 is the only approved provider of barcodes. They offer various membership plans based on your business needs and requirements.

Here are some benefits of using GS1:

  • Access to internationally recognized codes
  • Unmatched product identification accuracy
  • Improved supply chain efficiency
  • Global reach through partnerships and networks

Step 3: Apply for Membership with GS1

To obtain a barcode from GS1 in South Africa, you must first become a member.

Here’s how to apply:

  1. Visit
  2. Choose your industry category.
  3. Fill out the application form with accurate information.
  4. Pay the membership fee (annual fee).

Once your application has been approved by GS1’s team , they will send you an email confirmation containing guidelines on how to create specific identification numbers for each product associated within their database system.

##Step 4:Register Your Product Identification Number

Once approved into the network by receiving access rights which takes up-to three working days after payment had gone through; register one product identification number (GTIN) for each unique product you plan to sell.

Step 5: Create Your Barcode

After registering a GTIN, log in to your GS1 account and create the barcode using the provided tools. Ensure that the barcode has high-quality resolution and is compatible with scanners used in South African retail stores.

Step 6: Print Your Barcode Label

Finally, print your label on a high-quality material with adhesive properties suitable for your product’s packaging.

In conclusion, obtaining a barcode may seem like an overwhelming process but by following these steps you can get it done easily. It not only ensures smooth supply chain operations but also builds credibility for business growth.

Product Price
Item A $20
Item B $30
Item C $25
Item D $18
Item E $35
Item F $28
Item G $22
Item H $40
Item I $32
Item J $27.50

(Note: The products listed are fictional and used for demonstration purposes only.)


Sure, here are three popular FAQs along with their answers for “How to Apply for a Barcode in South Africa: A Comprehensive Guide”:

What is a barcode and why do I need one?
A barcode is a visual representation of data that can be scanned using specialized equipment to quickly retrieve information about the encoded product or item. Barcodes provide an efficient means of tracking items such as inventory, sales, or shipping. In order to sell products in retail stores, it is often necessary to have barcodes on your products.

How do I apply for a barcode in South Africa?
To apply for a barcode in South Africa, you will need to register with GS1 South Africa (formerly known as the International Article Numbering Association). You can visit their website at and follow the instructions provided under the ‘Membership’ section.

How much does it cost to get a barcode in South Africa?
The cost of getting barcodes through GS1 South Africa varies depending on several factors such as your business size, type of product(s) being sold, and number of barcodes required. The initial joining fee starts at around R3 950 ($260 USD), which includes application processing fees and first year membership fees. After that, there will be annual maintenance fees ranging from R500 ($33 USD) to over R15 000 ($980 USD) depending on your business needs.