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How Do I Formalise my Emigration if I Have Been Living Abroad for Several Years?

By October 28, 2020October 17th, 2023Financial emigration

How Do I Formalise my Emigration if I Have Been Living Abroad for Several Years?

October 28, 2020


All the talk of financial and tax emigration can get a little confusing, especially if you have never had to think about these things before. This doesn’t mean that you can bury your head in the sand while living abroad. You might end up paying more than your fair share in expat tax if you don’t take care of your emigration issues. This is why many expats who have been living outside of the country for more than 5 years start to think about formalizing their financial emigration from the country.

If you are in a situation where you have been living overseas for several years and finally want to formalise your emigration, where do you go, what do you do, and what exactly are the financial emigration South Africa requirements? These questions that are asked by thousands of expats across the globe, because the information isn’t made too readily available and the processes unfortunately aren’t glaringly obvious. Many SA expats don’t have the foggiest idea of how to even tentatively approach the seemingly mammoth task of formalising emigration. This a topic that has come up at multitudes of expats braais and discussed in great length with a seemingly growing amount of confusion and misinformation involved. The good news is that if you know what to do, the entire process is a whole lot easier, and smoother for that matter. Your biggest task is simply finding out what to do and actually doing it. Even better news is that there are professional service providers out there who can assist you with the entire process.



Financial Emigration from South Africa

Why Formalising Your Emigration is a Good Idea

Before we leap into how to formalise your financial emigration, let’s talk about the why. Why do people want to financially emigrate from the country? Of course, there is an underlying reason. Financial emigration is often something expats opt for, because it helps to protect savings from unpredictable currency exchange fluctuations and also ensures that one can withdraw and transfer their retirement annuity offshore, even before the age of 55. It brings an end to high expat taxes.


Financial Emigration Steps

What most people don’t know when planning to emigrate is that you don’t have to financially emigrate from the country immediately. Many South African expats choose to go the route of retrospective financial emigration. This means that they don’t financially emigrate from South Africa from the moment they move abroad, but rather plan to do so after they have settled into the new country. But when the time comes to formalise your emigration, you need to have some knowledge of the financial emigration steps, so that the process works in your favour and so that you aren’t burdened with headaches and hurdles to deal with, while being so far from “home”.

So, what exactly do you need to do to formalise your emigration after you have already been living in a foreign country? You will need to formalise your emigration through a local commercial bank in South Africa. This is done by following these simple financial emigration steps:

  • You must complete an MP336( b) form.

    This is the form required to apply for Foreign Capital Allowance. You can download this form here on the SARB (South African Reserve Bank) website. You will need to provide personal particulars for yourself, your spouse, and your children. You will also need to state how much Foreign Capital Allowance you are requesting and also provide a document from the South African Revenue service that states that your tax commitments have been met and that you have set plans in place to meet with your obligations. This document must be attached to the MP336(b) form when you make your application.
  • You must apply for a tax clearance certificate which is now called “Tax Compliance Status”.

A tax clearance certificate (now called a Tax Compliance Status document) is required in all cases except for people who have been living outside of South Africa for 5 years or longer and only possess assets in the form of inheritance and insurance policies. You can find pertinent information on how to request your official Tax Compliance Status on the SARS website.

  • You must have your permanent residency permit handy.

When submitting your documents to the local bank, you will need to make sure that you have your permanent residency permit available, as issued in the foreign country.


Your Emigration is Now Formalised – Now What?

When you have financially emigrated from the country, you will be able to open a non-resident bank account and by making use of an authorised dealer, you will be able to withdraw your financial assets (less tax) including your retirement annuity. Once your funds are reflecting in your non-resident bank account, a few checks will need to be run before the funds can be transferred overseas into your personal bank account abroad. You are then free to use the funds as desired. Now that you know how to do it, it doesn’t seem that confusing or overwhelming anymore, does it?


Get Assistance with Your Financial Emigration at FinGlobal

If you are looking for a professional financial emigration company that most other South African expats use; choose FinGlobal. With almost a decade of experience behind us, we have confidently helped thousands of SA expats with their financial and tax emigration from the country. We provide advice and guidance to help streamline the financial aspect of your relocation. We are readily available to chat to your regarding your unique circumstances at any time. All you have to do is get in touch with us. Send us an email or give us a call so that we can discuss the formalising of your financial emigration today.


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