Exchange Control Allowances


Individuals

1a. Offshore investment allowance

  • Taxpayers in good standing who are natural persons, over the age of 18: R4 million each
  • Tax clearance certificate required.
  • Income earned on investment may remain offshore.

1b. Setting-in allowance on emigration

  • Single persons: R4 million (Less any amount invested in terms of the foreign investment allowance)
  • Family unit: R8 million (Less any amount invested in terms of the foreign investment allowance)
  • Household and personal effects, motor vehicles, motorcycles, trailers, stamps and coins (excluding Kruger Rand) to the insured value of R2 million (These goods, other than clothing, must have been in the emigrant’s possession for at least one year prior to emigration.)

The distinction between the setting-in allowance and private individual allowance has fallen away.

Emigrants can, on application, request to transfer blocked assets in excess of the limit of R4 million per family unit or R2 million per single person, subject to an existing schedule, at the discretion of the Exchange Control Department of the South African Reserve Bank, and an exit charge of 10% of the amount. Persons who have emigrated, but have not fully utilised the current authorised foreign capital allowance, may be accorded additional capital transfers, provided the amount availed of does not exceed the current limits.

2. Travel allowance

A single discretionary allowance of R 1000 000 granted per individual for maintenance, gifts, travel and study.

Travel Allowances for visits outside the Common Monetary Area (CMA) :

Adults – the travel allowance forms part of the discretionary allowance referred to above.

Persons under the age of 18 – R200 000 per calendar year.

Travel facilities may be provided by way of travelers cheques, foreign bank notes and credit/debit cards.  Travel facilities not availed of during one calendar year may not be carried forward to the following year.  Travelers proceeding on visits outside the CMA are permitted to export up to R5000 per person in SA Reserve Bank notes.  This is not regarded as being part of the travel allowance.

Common monetary area residents travelling to and from Namibia may be provided with Botswana Pula to an amount of R5 000 per annum over the above limits.

3. Blocked Rand

  • Unlimited blocked funds may be released locally for any purpose, except the granting of a loan to a South African resident.
  • The remaining assets constitute blocked assets and must be placed under control of an authorised dealer (the emigrant’s banker) with effect from the date of departure.
  • Authorised avenues for blocked Rand investments include SA securities and unit trusts.
  • Blocked assets can be used to pay premiums on policies and retirement annuity funds which existed prior to emigration.
  • New policies are not authorised avenues of investment. Special approval is required.
  • New emigrants wishing to transfer more than R2 million can apply to Exchange Control to do so, with approval subject to an exiting schedule and an exit charge of 10%.
  • Persons who have emigrated but have not fully utilised the current authorised foreign capital allowance, may be accorded additional capital transfers, provided the total amount availed of does not exceed the current limits are exceeded, an exit charge of 10% is payable.
  • There is no limit on the daily utilisation of blocked funds during a visit by an immigrant but these funds may not be loaned to an SA Resident.
  • Return airfares to and from the Republic may be paid from blocked Rand’s

4. Income from the Republic

Current income earned on blocked assets may be transferred to the emigrant’s new residence through normal banking channels. Income includes: interest, director’s fees, monthly pension payments, retirement annuity payments (specific approval required), the income portion only of a voluntary annuity.

5. Study allowances

  • Tuition fees may be paid in full on production of documentary evidence.
  • Travel and maintenance costs are included in the single discretionary allowance.

6. Maintenance payments

Maintenance payments to family members (mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers) of up to R9 000 per month are allowed on the production of certified documentary evidence proving need and the relationship.

7. Alimony

An amount of R9 000 more than the amount of the court order is allowed.

8. Inheritances

Inheritances bequeathed to non-residents are freely transferable.

9. Gifts

Residents may send gifts of money to the value of R30 000 per year to non-residents.

10. Reserve Bank notes

Up to R5 000 in cash may be taken in Rand notes when departing from the Republic, in addition to travel allowance.

11. Credit card payments

Credit card payment can be made for offshore purchases up to R20 000 per transaction.

Controls on SA and foreign corporates

Exchange control limits on new outward foreign direct investments by South African corporates are abolished. Requests by corporates to invest overseas are considered in the light of the national interest. Application to the Reserve Bank’s Exchange Control department is still required for monitoring purposes and for approval in terms of existing foreign direct investment criteria, including demonstrated benefit to South Africa. The South African Reserve Bank reserves the right to stagger capital outflows relating to very large foreign investments so as to manage any potential impact on the foreign exchange market.

South Africa corporates will be able to retain foreign dividends offshore. Foreign dividends repatriated to South Africa after 26 October 2004 may be transferred offshore again at any time for any purpose.

Foreign companies, governments and institutions may list on South Africa’s bond and securities exchanges, (South African private individuals will now be able to invest, without restriction, in inward listed instruments on South African exchanges.)

Foreign portfolio investment by South African institutional investors

As an interim step towards prudential regulation, retirement funds, long-term insurers, collective investment scheme management companies and investment managers are allowed to transfer funds from South Africa for investment abroad.

The exchange control limit on foreign portfolio investment by institutional investors applies to an institution’s total retail assets.

The foreign exposure of retail assets may not exceed 15% in the case of retirement funds, long-term insurers and 25% in the case of collective investment scheme management companies and investment managers registered as institutional investors for exchange control purposes.

Institutional investors will on application, be allowed to invest an additional 5% of their total retail assets by acquiring foreign currency denominated portfolio assets in Africa through foreign currency transfers from South Africa or by acquiring inward listed securities.

Immigrants

On arrival, immigrants must notify their bank of their foreign assets and undertake not to dispose of these to residents.

Within 5 Years of immigration, an immigrant may freely transfer from SA all assets brought into the country.

After 5 Years, the same rules which are applicable to SA residents apply to that person.

Non-residents

Non-residents may freely invest in or disinvest from SA

Non-residents have unrestricted rights to invest in gilts and shares listed on the JSE and export the proceeds on the sale thereof.  Interest and dividends are also freely remittable.  Loans by non-residents to SA individuals/entities require prior Exchange Control approval.

Where certain assets such as unlisted shares, fixed property or businesses are transferred between non-residents and residents, the value of the asset must be verified by a commercial bank.

Ex con approval is required for the remittance of certain income such as royalties and certain dividends.