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Did you renounce your South African Citizenship?

By November 7, 2018November 23rd, 2023Financial emigration

Did you renounce your South African Citizenship?

November 7, 2018

Many South Africans living abroad and in South Africa hear the term ‘financial emigration’ and are not quite sure what it means and are worried that if they financially emigrate they will renounce their citizenship. The simple answer to these concerns is: NO. If you financially emigrate from South Africa, you do not renounce your citizenship or affect your South African residency status. You keep your passport and you can come back and work and live in South Africa any time you please. As we like to say at FinGlobal, “Once a South African, always a South African”.

What is financial emigration?

Financial emigration is a process that concludes your financial affairs when leaving South Africa to settle in another country and simply means your status with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) changes from resident to non-resident. Financial emigration does not affect your South African birth right, your citizenship or your right to retain your South African passport. Instead, the financial emigration process facilitates the flow of your capital out of South Africa.

As a financial emigrant you many transfer offshore:

  • The proceeds of your retirement annuity, even before age 55. This can be used for any purpose in your new country including buying property – or even a worldwide tour
  • South African source inheritance
  • The proceeds of assets declared in your emigration application
  • Passive income, i.e. rent, dividends, director’s fees, salary for services rendered in South Africa and income from discretionary or vesting trusts
  • Proceeds from a third party life policy
Financial emigration means you may keep your assets and investments in South Africa and transfer portions, or all, abroad as and when you wish. Accessing your capital simply involves instructing your bank, who facilitated your financial emigration and keeps your capital account, to pay the funds to any account, anywhere in the world.
In addition, once your financial emigration is concluded and approved from a South African point of view, any capital invested offshore will be deemed from a non-resident source. This means, any investment (income and capital) will be freely transmittable from South Africa and not subject to any exchange control.

How might you renounce your South African citizenship?

Many South African expats who move abroad for work purposes may end up with permanent residency or even naturalise as citizens of their new country. What some South African’s don’t know, is that if they accept a new passport without applying for dual citizenship prior to gaining their new citizenship, they automatically lose their South African citizenship.

South Africa does not prohibit dual citizenship or even multiple nationalities, but in order to retain your South African citizenship, you need to first apply for retention of your South African citizenship status. Only once you have had this confirmed, you may formally obtain your foreign passport.  The automatic loss of citizenship status is as a result of the Citizenship Act (No. 88 of 1995 and thereafter).

What does the loss of SA citizenship mean?

If you lose your South African citizenship, you still retain your right to permanent residence in South Africa. If you have lost your South African citizenship because you did not follow the procedures by first applying for retention of your South African status, you can apply to resume your South African citizenship status.

How to financially emigrate

Now that you know that financial emigration does not mean you have to renounce your South African citizenship and instead brings with it many financial benefits if you are moving abroad for the long-term, you might like to know more about it.

With thousands of clients living all over the world, FinGlobal is regarded as a leading migration company and regularly assists South Africans financially emigrate.
If you’re thinking of moving abroad and would like to financially emigrate, contact FinGlobal for more information about how to make the move and unlock your wealth in your new home.


  • Terrence says:

    I left South Africa 18 years ago and got my UK citizenship and did not apply to retain my SA citizenship. So I am no longer a South African citizen. Do I still have to apply for this Financial emigrantion status if I am no longer a citizen?

    • Byron Martin says:

      Hi Terrence,

      Thank you for your query. If you can please submit your contact details via our website one of our financial consultants will contact you to explain the process. They will also be able to provide you with a free and no obligation quote if necessary. (

  • Michelle Badenhorst says:

    A question on behalf of a client. If they renounce their SA citizenship, and have Dutch citizenship. Do they still need to do a financial emigration if they live full time in the Netherlands?

    • Byron Martin says:

      Hi Michelle.

      If you can please provide us with your contact number and email address, we’ll ask one of our financial consultants to contact you and answer all your questions regarding financial emigration. Alternatively, you can submit your contact details via our website for a free and no obligation consultation :

  • Rabeka says:

    I am born in South Africa 1948, was a South African, married in 1970 to a man from S.Rhodesia, became a Zimbabwean Citizen after marriage (can’t remember whether I renounced my South African citizenship after marriage to take up Zimbabwean citizenship.

    However, from 2008 I came to the UK permanently and now I am a British Citizen
    Can I have my South African citizenship or permanent residency in South Africa as I visit yearly and I get caught up in this maximum 3 months / 90 days stay as a visitor and being “illegal” or prohibited if I stay over.

    Rightfully I am a South African by birth and brought up in Natal until I got married

    I have a lot of family still in RSA and I want to spend time in South Africa (more than 3 months at a time) and return back to UK often

    I am pretty much retired so have time to spend here in UK and there in RSA. 1 child in UK and my other child in RSA

  • Sune Terblanche says:

    Hi I have NZ citizenships but did not do dual with South Africa! How or what can I do to get dual citizenship??

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