Let’s talk about banking convenience for a bit. Picture this; you have painstakingly packed the boxes, closed your local accounts, said the tearful goodbyes, clutched your paperwork, and treaded hesitantly through airport security. A new life awaited you on the other side, and so you left, filled with fear but packed to the brim with excitement too. But now, you’re looking back and find that you still have an interest in South Africa, whether it is a business, children to care for, or family that you shuttle yourself between back and forth. But you don’t have a South African bank account, and so time spent in the country and trying to do transactions from outside the country is – to put it politely – downright frustrating!
Or, perhaps you’re only thinking about leaving the country and have started actioning the emigration process; does this mean that you have to close your South African bank account and handle all of your funds from abroad? How are you meant to receive funds from your rental property or access cash quickly when spending months of your time back home? What now? Is it even possible to have a South African bank account if you no longer live in South Africa?
We have some good news for you! You can have a non-resident bank account if you’re no longer living and working in SA.
South African bank
A simple change in the exchange control rules may make you want to keep your SA bank account
For many people thinking about leaving South Africa or in the throes of it already, “cancel bank account” has a place on the lengthy to-do list. But perhaps you want to rethink that one.
In the past, there was a distinction between residents and non-residents moving money out of the country but that’s changed. Now, whether you are a resident or non-resident, you will be subject to the very same tax verification process to show you are in good standing with SARS and that you can prove the sources of the funds you wish to transfer in and out of South Africa. Without a distinction between residents and non-residents, many South Africans may want to hang onto their bank accounts.
What you need to open a South African bank account as a non-resident
First, keep in mind that you can only open a non-resident bank account once you have formally emigrated from the country or if you have ceased tax residency in South Africa.
To get assistance with the opening of a Non-Resident bank account, here’s what we will need:
- Identification documents – you must be at least eighteen years of age.
- Proof of address that is no less than three months old.
- Certificate of citizenship or proof of permanent residency abroad.
What can you do with a non-resident bank account in South Africa?
You might be wondering what you can do with a non-resident bank account in South Africa – will it really be all that helpful to you. The answer is a big resounding “yes!” Previously, non-residents may have found banking in South Africa limited and complicated, but with changes filtering into the system, the entire process has become a lot less tricky. Blocked rand accounts, which is what bank accounts for non-residents used to be called and now simply “non-resident bank accounts,” and you’ll find that the process of banking and using SA-based cash has become simpler.
There are several reasons why you might want a non-resident bank account South Africa:
- You may want a legal way of moving money out of South Africa as a non-resident.
- You can transfer financial assets from SA abroad (think of your pension, retirement annuity, and provident fund).
- You can use funds in a local bank in SA for transactional reasons such as paying for maintenance and immovable property or to fund your stays when you are in the country.
- Receive South African-based income from property rentals or your pension (you can use these funds in South Africa or, if you have proof of the source of income, you can transfer them abroad).
With this in mind, it becomes evident that having a non-resident bank account will allow you to transfer your financial assets out of the country with greater ease. You will also be able to use the bank account to receive the proceeds from your assets left behind when you emigrate and go through a formal tax emigration process – these include the likes of your properties, policies, and unit trusts. With a non-resident bank account, handling your money from a South African source just becomes easier.
Expert financial advice for expats here at FinGlobal
Heading overseas is a big decision, and familiarising yourself with the tax rules, limitations, and obligations you face is a big step. You may find yourself in need of tax and financial advice when heading for distant shores, and that’s where we come in. We offer extensive services that include tax and financial emigration, inheritance assistance, and more.
We have a decade of experience in the emigration field, and our licensed and professional advisors have had a hand in helping thousands of South African expats get their finances in order. For professional, friendly, and knowledgeable advice, your best bet is to speak with one of our friendly advisors. It’s just a case of reaching out! We can assist you with all of your emigration related needs and requirements today.
To discuss your unique needs with our team, simply get in touch with us. Give us a call on +27 28 312 2764 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will ensure that you get the prompt assistance that you need.