South African residents who “officially” live overseas but haven’t made the decision to financially emigrate, please take note: using a SA debit or credit card abroad is not allowed, it’s against Foreign Exchange regulations and penalties are severe!

The bottom-line: unless you qualify for non-residence status you may not access your South African bank accounts for international purchases or transactions.

The penalties? The full value in illegally withdrawn funds or purchases has to be repatriated to South Africa plus penalties of 20 – 40% with the added prospect of total forfeiture of one’s bank funds. It’s simply not worth taking the chance!

An option available to non-residents with funds left back in South Africa is financial emigration.

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