What you should know about taking large sums of money out of South Africa

If you’re a South African resident and possess a South African ID book or card, you’re able to transfer R1 million per year under your Single Discretionary Allowance (SDA).

In addition, you may transfer an additional R10 million per year with tax clearance for foreign investment from SARS, says Tim Powell, a director at immigration specialists Sable International.

Powell has published a new guide for South Africans looking to take their money out of the country and the regulations that they should be aware of before doing so.

Powell said that if you are a South African non-resident, there is no limit to the funds that you may transfer from South Africa, provided that you show evidence of the source of said funds. To change your status from resident to non-resident, you can financially emigrate, he said.

He said that there are two main methods of transferring money out of the country – either through their bank or a forex broker.  A number of people choose to use their bank to move money offshore. However, they’re often unaware of all the fees involved, said Powell.

“Using a reliable forex broker can ensure you avoid any hidden costs. They will either charge commission or carry a standard swift fee. Our transfers carry a low swift fee of R250. ”

“When the funds clear in your recipient account, the intermediary and receiving bank might also charge a bank fee. The value of this fee will depend on who you bank with.”

Powell said that using a forex broker rather than the bank is a quick and easy process:

  • Contact your broker to register for an account;
  • Submit your FICA compliance documents;
  • Complete, sign and mail back the forms you’ve received from your broker.

“Once your broker receives your forms, they’ll register you and open an account for you – you’ll likely be able to transact the very next day. Your broker of choice should offer the best possible exchange rates, low fees and personalised customer service with every transfer.

“Watch out for brokers who make it difficult to consult with a real employee if you run into trouble,” he said.

What are the requirements for sending money out of South Africa?

Your broker will first assess whether you qualify to transfer money out of South Africa based on their minimum transfer amount and whether you have a valid South African ID book.

You will then have to provide your broker with your FICA which consists of your ID and proof of address, said Powell.

“The law demands that providers monitor any suspicious transactions of any size taking place where there is reason to believe the money is a result of illegal activity. A trustworthy broker will report any suspicious international money transfers to the authorities.

“The law also requires that full records of all transactions are kept, along with copies of provided identification. Your broker won’t be able to process any transaction where this information is not given. Proof of residence and proof of funds may be necessary in specific instances.”


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What you should know about taking large sums of money out of South Africa