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Emigrating from South Africa? What about your policies?

By March 15, 2016October 10th, 2023Financial emigration

Emigrating from South Africa? What about your policies?

March 15, 2016

Emigrating from South Africa could be a challenging experience – the administration and organisation involved is a huge and laborious task. So it’s no surprise that after getting the green light many South Africans simply want to get settled in their new homes and put the admin behind them.

But what about your policies left in South Africa – have you given them a thought? Have you cancelled those you no longer need, applied for cover in your new country and transferred the proceeds of your retirement funds? These are all questions you need to ask yourself if you’ve relocated abroad.

South African policies – what to do after emigration

There are several options available to you once you’ve made the move and FinGlobal can facilitate the administrative process required for your portfolio, but the how and when will depend on the type of products you hold as well as your individual financial needs.

Our policy services include:

  • surrendering retirement annuities, preservation funds and similar pension products
  • surrendering other insurance products with an investment value
  • full financial emigration solution and transfer of the proceeds of retirement annuity funds whatever your age
  • tax refunds and exemptions relative to the surrender of certain policies

Policy types and options

Depending on the type of policies you hold, these are some of the options available to you.

Retirement annuities

  • What it is: a tax-efficient method for saving for retirement where members contribute to an appointed investment portfolio of their preferred risk through monthly instalments. The standard retirement age for these annuities is 55.
  • What you can do: these annuities can be surrendered and the proceeds transferred offshore to use for whatever purpose you choose.
  • Requirements: retirement annuity surrender requires financial emigration, an up-to-date tax record and a non-resident bank account.

Pension, provident and preservation funds

  • What it is: pension and provident funds are retirement savings products which employees or employers contribute to. Preservation funds are similar to pension funds but are simply used once employees leave a particular employer. Pension and provident funds offer one-third lump sum payout on retirement with the rest paid to the individual in monthly instalments. Provident funds can currently be taken as a lump sum on leaving an employer. Normal retirement age for these funds is age 55.
  • What you can do: these funds can be surrendered and the proceeds transferred offshore before retirement age. In some cases you could benefit greatly through these transfers as some countries offer pension incentive schemes, and offshore reinvestment could see you boost your returns through earning in a stronger currency. Individuals who have rendered services abroad while being residents of South Africa are also eligible for tax rebate for the period of employment abroad.
  • Requirements: to transfer the proceeds of one of these funds all you need is a green bar-coded South African ID or smart card and if the amount exceeds R1M, an up-to-date tax record. Should there be restrictions on any of these products the Financial Emigration process might provide a solution to unlock these funds.

Life and living annuities

  • What it is: living annuities are investment products which offer an income from retirement savings. They allow you to choose your income level and investment. Life annuities are similar to living annuities but are less flexible with lower risk as the beneficiary is safeguarded against income depletion.
  • What you can do: there are limited options available to South Africans with life and living annuities. Though policy surrender is possible in some cases, investment values need to fall below specific thresholds. FinGlobal can advise you of the options applicable in your specific case.
  • Requirements: there are no requirements for policy amendments but we need your South African ID-number for policy enquiries. Policy surrender will require a review of your annuities to see if you qualify.

Endowment policies

  • What it is: endowment policies are similar to life insurance but pay out a lump sum after a specific term or on death of the insured.
  • What you can do: FinGlobal can assist with cancellation of debit orders and surrender of these policies as well as cancellation of cession if necessary.
  • Requirements: there are no requirements for policy cancellation and surrender, though we will need your South African ID-number for policy enquiries.

Talk to FinGlobal about your needs

As the preferred provider of financial services for the South African expat, FinGlobal is your go-to company for fast, cost-efficient and compliant cross-border services. If you’re unsure about the options available to you, simply leave your details and we’ll call you for an obligation-free consultation.


  • Maritza Jansen says:

    HI, I want to find out, what will happen to life insurance if one decides to immigrate to another country? You know the one, you take out for when you die, the money gets paid to your beneficiaries?

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