Skip to main content

Financial Emigration for Expats: Doing It Yourself vs. Calling In The Experts

By May 20, 2019October 17th, 2023Financial emigration

Financial Emigration for Expats: Doing It Yourself vs. Calling In The Experts

May 20, 2019


If you’re a South African expat living abroad, or you’re looking into moving overseas – the issue of financial emigration is one of the questions you’re likely to tackle at some point. Financial emigration is entirely optional. In other words, it’s something you choose to do, but don’t have to do, given that financial emigration isn’t a requirement to move your money and assets abroad. As a South African resident you are permitted to transfer funds using your foreign investment allowance, up to the value of R10 million, but you must obtain a tax clearance certificate first. However, if you have completed the financial emigration process, this works in your favour, as no further annual tax clearance certificate will be required if you want to move money abroad under your foreign investment allowance.

What other reasons are there to financially emigrate? Doing so comes with a number of benefits. Here are just a few, as mentioned above:

  • If you live in another country, you get easy access to transfer your South African funds abroad
  • You become eligible to access your retirement annuity policy proceeds before their maturity date (in other words, before you reach official retirement age of 55)
  • It simplifies the remittance of your South African source inheritance proceeds.

What is financial emigration? Do I have to give up anything to financially emigrate?

Financial emigration is the process whereby you give notice to South African Reserve Bank that your status will be changing from South African-resident to non-resident for exchange control purposes.

In other words, financial emigration from South Africa merely formalises your exit from the country for exchange control purposes. You still keep your passport, you’re still entitled to your South African accent and most importantly – you’re welcome back home at any time, as are all South African citizens abroad.

Sounds easy enough. Can I do this financial emigration thing myself?

Yes, you can do it yourself. In fact, you can do almost anything yourself, if you’re really determined, and you have the time and energy to learn how. Thanks to the Internet, there are YouTube tutorials and how-to wikis for everything these days. But just like there are certain things that you probably shouldn’t do yourself – mechanical repairs, dentistry, open heart surgery – financial emigration should handled by the qualified, experienced professionals.

Depending on your unique individual circumstances, your family and work situation – the ins and outs of your exact financial emigration roadmap can get tricky. Dealing with bureaucracies is time-consuming and it can become a nightmare trying to keep up with co-ordinating all the documentation with the various institutions that play a role in the process.

If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it properly.

Getting the peace of mind that can only come from knowing that your financial emigration from South Africa will be handled by the experts and that a positive outcome is guaranteed, is something worth paying for.

5 reasons you’ll get your money’s worth with the right professionals:

  1. Remove the administrative burden from your shoulders. All the required documentation is handled for you to ensure accuracy and completeness, providing you with signature-ready paperwork. All you need to do is sign and the paperwork is sent off on your behalf.
  2. Eliminate the headache of bureaucracy. Let someone else co-ordinate the documentation flow between institutions, because they know exactly how to optimise turnaround time for faster completion.
  3. Get expert assistance with complex exchange control matters. Stay on the right side of the law with financial emigration experts that know exactly how you should make your money moves in order to ensure you’re coming out on the other side smiling.
  4. All your bases are safely covered. Calling in the experts means you can be assured of full exchange control compliance, which removes the risk of non-adherence.
  5. You won’t need to deal with South African Revenue Service. Or any South African banks or institutions. Just think about how much time and energy you’ll save on this alone!

How long does it take to financially emigrate?

Generally speaking, if there are no complicating factors to your application, and you’ve submitted all the required paperwork to the correct institutions at the right time, it will take between three and six months to complete the financial emigration process.

However, if you’re doing it yourself and you haven’t done your homework properly with regards to the rules, regulations and requirements you need to meet at every stage in order to ensure a successful financial emigration from South Africa, it can take much, much longer.

FinGlobal has created a name as the financial emigration specialist of choice in South Africa for expats all over the world, and we’re here to help you start your journey, by optimising your financial emigration application turnaround time, maximising your proceeds and minimising your stress levels.

All it takes is a single email. We’re ready to help you get started on the next chapter of your life.

Leave a Reply