Leaving South Africa may be the single biggest decision that you ever take. People emigrate for a variety of reasons, but the fact remains that it’s a big move and it can fairly traumatic if it is not managed correctly. When you’re trying to organise accommodation, employment and other issues in a foreign country, where the language spoken may even be unfamiliar, the last thing you need is paperwork and exchange regulations to hamper your preparations.
Given below is some information on how much money you are allowed to take out of South Africa, and under what circumstances.
As an emigrant, you are allowed to take up to ZAR4 million out of South Africa, or up to ZAR8 million per family unit. In addition to this allowance, you can also take personal goods to the value of as much as ZAR1 million. Travel between South Africa and your new home country is also allowed for, by the discretionary travel allowance, which amounts to ZAR1 million per adult per annum. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) will consider applications for additional transfers, but then any such amount is subject to a 10% exit levy.
Furthermore, any foreign assets that you may own do not form part of the allowances outlined in the preceding paragraph. At the same time, though, any transfers made under Section 0 (point 6.1.1) of the Exchange Control Manual will be deducted from the allowances. In order to qualify for these allowances, you need to have been a resident of South Africa for a minimum period of five years.
Concerning tax, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) will require confirmation of arrangements to pay any outstanding tax that is or may become due as a result of the allowance transfers.
Before you make the transfers, you should also make sure that you have documentary proof of permission to reside in your new home country, and that your authorised currency dealer in South Africa (usually your bank) is satisfied that you are permanently relinquishing your South African domicile.