The South African exchange control regulations allow for an annual travel allowance of ZAR1 million per adult and ZAR200 000 per child under 18 years of age. This allowance is available to all South African residents travelling in a foreign country, where the passenger ticket has South Africa as its point of origin.
The significance of the Discretionary Allowance
When discussing the Travel Allowance, we should also mention the annual Discretionary Allowance. This allowance is also ZAR1 million per annum for adults over the age of 18 years, and ZAR200 000 per child under 18. The important point about the Discretionary Allowance is that it can take the following forms, according to the allowance section of the Exchange Control Manual:
* Travel allowance
* Donations to missionaries
* Monetary gifts and loans
* Maintenance transfers
* Study allowance
Therefore, your Discretionary Allowance may take the form of the Travel Allowance, in which case your annual limit of ZAR1 million will be reached.
In order to be eligible for the Travel Allowance, you need to be either a permanent resident of South Africa, whether or not you are recognised as a citizen, or you need to have resided in South Africa for at least five years and are now emigrating permanently to another country.
The significance of the calendar year
The Allowance is determined according to the calendar, so that no unused allowance may be carried over from one calendar year to the next. If your travels extend over two years, you will need to apply for a new allowance for the new year.
Who may receive payment
The discretionary allowance may paid into the bank account of the person who is travelling, or in another authorised form, and children (under 18, therefore minors) may have their allowance paid into their parents’ account. However, you may under no circumstances pay the allowance into the account of a third party.
Considerations in assessing an application
Authorised dealers (such as banks) have been delegated authority by the SARB to supervise certain aspects of the exchange control process. Listed below are some of the factors that they will take into account when assessing your application to make an allowance.
* The passenger tickets, as well as the mode of transport, date of departure and the destination
* Where passenger tickets are not going to be used, the dealer will look at the date of departure and the destination, in addition to the border post at which the travelling party will make their exit from South Africa
* Undertakings will be required by the traveller to the effect that:
o Travelling will start within 60 days from the date of the request for foreign exchange
o If the journey is subsequently cancelled, the foreign exchange supplied will be re-sold to the dealer within 30 days of the cancellation being made
o Any more foreign exchange exceeding the applicable limits will not be purchased
In addition to the above factors, the dealer will also look at the following, so as to ensure that the foreign exchange provided is not used for purposes other that those stated in the application.
* The duration of the visit to a foreign country
* The ages of the applicants
* Any disabilities or special needs
* Any aspects of the planned journey that may have an effect on costs:
o Accommodation expenses
o An inventory of planned expenses
o What allowances have already been used
o Destination countries
o Any other special circumstances that may influence expenses