Recent reports have shown that there has been a noticeable uptick in the number of South Africans looking to emigrate, but many don’t know how to go about the financial side of things. While many think that they can simply pack up and go and just “send the money”, the reality is not as straightforward. Before unpacking the financial side of things, we should explain what a financial emigration is and what it means with regards to citizenship.
Financial emigration is a South African Reserve Bank (SARB) process whereby you are changing your residence status from a Permanent Resident to a Non Resident of South Africa.
This change in residence status does not affect your citizenship status and you will still be a SA citizen. Changes to your citizenship would only happen should you apply for citizenship in another country.
While a financial emigration is not a requirement or necessity for everyone, it is something you’ll need to do if you’re wanting to cash out any retirement annuities or similar policies and move those funds abroad.
If you don’t need or wish to financially emigrate, what are your options?
South Africans have a single discretionary allowance of R1 million per annum and a further R10 million foreign investment allowance per annum. The R1 million discretionary allowance does not require a tax clearance, however your tax number will be required. A tax clearance for Foreign Investment (and not one for Good Standing) will be required for the R10 million Foreign Investment allowance.
Those who have retirement annuities or third-party life policies will need to finalize their financial emigration in order to repatriate those funds out of South Africa.
The time to complete a financial emigration varies greatly and can depend on policies that need to be finalized, tax clearances that need to be obtained and other requirements. For a straightforward Financial Emigration, the turnaround time is roughly three (3) months. It should be noted that all your tax affairs need to be in order for Tax Clearances to be issued.
Every financial emigration is different and can be complicated, so it is always a good idea to enlist the services of a specialist who can advise and assist you through the process and it is advisable to obtain tax advice prior to making any decisions on your Financial Emigration.
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