Financial Emigration from South Africa

We’ll help you get through the process of financial emigration from South Africa and be with you every step of the way to your assets.

Formally emigrating from South Africa means SARB doesn’t see you as a resident. That’s all.

Financial emigration from South Africa formalises your exit from South Africa for exchange control purposes (South African Reserve Bank (SARB) emigration). It doesn’t mean that you are giving up your South African citizenship, and you’ll still hold on to your South African passport.

What does financial emigration from South Africa mean?

Financial emigration (also known as formal emigration) means that your status – for exchange control purposes with SARB – changes from resident to non-resident. Financial emigration does not change your status as a South African. 

Financial emigration can happen at any time

Financial emigration concludes your financial affairs from a South African point of view. Most of the time, the financial emigration is done retrospectively – meaning that most South African expats have left the country without recording their financial emigration at the time of their physical emigration from South Africa.

Advantages of financial emigration from South Africa

Financial emigration makes it easier for you to transfer money out of South Africa (capital and income) and helps protect your South African savings from the Rand’s fluctuations in the global currency market.

For many people, the drawcard is that they can access and transfer their retirement annuity in South Africa offshore, before retirement date. The proceeds of your retirement annuity can be used for any purpose – from buying a new home to investing in your children’s education.

On completion of a financial emigration, you may also transfer any South African source inheritance abroad, any passive income, for example rent, dividends, director’s fees and the proceeds of any assets declared in your emigration application. Income from a discretionary or vesting trust may also under specific circumstances be transferred from South Africa abroad.

Emigrating from South Africa – things to be aware of with your financial emigration

To record your financial emigration from South Africa, your South African income tax affairs must be in order and you must obtain a tax clearance certificate from the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Once you have successfully concluded your financial emigration, for exchange control purposes, your South African bank account is re-designated as an emigrant’s capital account (previously known as a blocked account), which is subject to exchange control in South Africa.

Your remaining South African-based assets will be administered by the bank holding your emigrant’s capital account, in terms of the exchange control regulations in South Africa.

Emigrating from South Africa and settling into a new country is usually challenging, and financial emigration can be quite a daunting and complex process if you do it on your own. The entire process from submitting your documents to accessing your funds can usually take up to six months. There are a lot of rules, regulations and requirements to meet at every stage in order to ensure a successful emigration from South Africa.

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.

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Find out about the new tax law changes on financial emigration effective from 1 March 2021.

What is financial emigration?

There’s a massive difference between physical and financial emigration from South Africa. Financial emigration starts with informing the South African Reserve Bank of your decision to permanently relocate.

What are the benefits of financial emigration?

Financial emigration, also known as formal emigration simply concludes your financial affairs from a South African point of view. When you financially emigrate your status, for exchange control purposes with the South African Reserve Bank, changes from resident to non-resident.

Financial emigration from South Africa checklist

Considering whether or not to emigrate financially is a rather big move for South Africans who have relocated abroad. However daunting it may seem, though, it’s important to consider this step if you’ve been living overseas for a while and have financial assets left in South Africa.

Contact Us

  • Email: info@finglobal.com
  • Tel: +27 28 312 2764
  • Fax: 088 028 312 2467
  • Physical Address:
    Hermanus: 7 Marine Square, College Road, Hermanus, 7200, Western Cape, South Africa
  • Johannesburg (by appointment only): 1 Park Lane, Wierda Valley, Sandton 2196, South Africa

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