If you’re a South African living abroad and you’ve been doing your homework on the ins and outs of financial emigration, you’ve probably come across the terms “Non-Resident Banking Account” and “Blocked Rand Account”, or even “Emigrant’s Capital Account” on your internet travels; but what does this actually mean for you? How do you open a Non-Resident Bank Account in South Africa if you’re already living abroad and what would you need it for? Let’s take a look at answering your big questions around banking back home as a South African living overseas.
What is a Non-Resident Bank Account in South Africa?
The type of bank account you can hold in South Africa relates directly to your classification as a South African resident or non-resident. South African residents have unfettered access to the South African banking system including credit, while there are a number of restrictions on non-residents in terms of the financial moves they can make across South African borders.
What else is a Non-Resident Bank Account called in South Africa?
As Willy Shakespeare was fond of proclaiming, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, and the same is true in this case. Once called a “Blocked Rand Account”, today this type of banking account is called an “Emigrant Capital Account” which sounds a lot less menacing than “Blocked Rand Account”. This was simply the banking industry lingo that referred to an account in which the contents were “blocked off” for a specific purpose.
A Blocked Rand Account does not signify that your money is frozen or blocked from leaving the country. It’s simply a vehicle conceptualised by the South African Reserve Bank that allows for asset allocation after financial emigration from South Africa has been successfully concluded. No matter what you choose to call it, in terms of South African exchange control rules, a Non-Resident Bank Account is the only legal avenue through which capital and assets can move out of the Republic. This is because exchange control rules have been applied to this account so that it works in your favour.
What is a Non-Resident Bank Account used for?
As mentioned, this type of account is the only means by which to move your bucks abroad. When sending money to or from South Africa, you’ll need a local bank account in order to receive the funds. However, holding a transactional/current bank account in South Africa is only possible if you’re a considered a resident for exchange control purposes, which you cease to be once you’ve completed the process of financial emigration and the South African Reserve Bank has noted the change in your exchange control status.
Using your Non-Resident Bank Account you will be able to access and transfer your financial assets, like retirement annuities, pension or provident funds. You can also access and transfer the proceeds from assets declared in your financial emigration, such as policies, sale of unit trusts or a property through this account. Additionally, funds in this account, as well as cash balances in your other accounts can be utilised in South Africa or transferred abroad and income such as rental on fixed property or interest on savings can still accumulate and be paid into this account once you’ve emigrated financially, but you will need to be able to produce proof of source, such as a lease agreement. However, it’s worth noting that only the Authorised Dealer (your bank of choice, in other words) holding your remaining assets may authorise the transfer of funds.
Why do you need a Non-Resident Bank Account in South Africa?
Although you now live overseas, it makes sense for a number of reasons to keep an account back home. You’ll need an Emigrant Capital Account if you are planning:
- On taking your assets with you: Private individuals cannot move assets abroad without properly declaring them.
- On maintaining a South African base: Sending money or maintaining assets back home is only possible through a non-resident bank account.
How to open a Non-Resident Bank Account in South Africa
When opening a non-resident bank account, you will need to be over 18 years of age and comply with exchange control rules and requirements. To open a non-resident account it is necessary to provide:
- The minimum opening deposit
- A certified passport copy stamped by your overseas bank
- Bank statements for at least three months
- Proof of income
Everything else you need to know about Non-Resident Bank Accounts in South Africa:
- 5 Things You Need to Know About Blocked Rand Accounts
- Transferring Money to a Blocked Rand Account
- How to: Open a Blocked Rand Account
FinGlobal: South African exchange control experts
Feeling overwhelmed by all the admin and paperwork involved in financial emigration and becoming a South African non-resident? FinGlobal can help you with the entire process, making it seamless and hassle-free every step of the way.
- Expect impartial, objective advice from the financial emigration experts and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that we’re 100% compliant with all the necessary exchange control and tax authorities.
- All the paperwork is handled for you, from start to finish. All you need to do is sign on the dotted line, sit back and let us do what we do best.
- Everything is submitted to the right institution at the right time, with the right supporting docs.
- We pull all out all the stops and go the extra mile to ensure the shortest possible turnaround time to completion.
- You benefit from our professional assistance on complex exchange control matters.
In addition to helping you with your financial emigration and handling your questions on Non-Resident Bank Accounts, FinGlobal also offers South African expats a full suite of cross-border financial services, including:
- Financial emigration
- Tax clearance
- Retirement annuity withdrawal
- Exchange control advisory
- Foreign exchange
- Tax emigration
- Tax refunds
- Pension Income
- Pension, Provident & Preservation Funds
Let’s talk financial emigration. Start your free, no-obligation assessment today.
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My wife is a British Citizen who lived in South Africa in her youth and has family there. Although she lives in the U.K., she frequently visits South Africa and has just bought a property there. Can she open a bank account as a Non-resident “foreigner” so she can pay regular levies and rates on the property etc.?
Hi Gustave. Thank you for your query. Given you are currently residing outside of South Africa, you can please submit your contact details via our website one of our financial consultants will contact you to see if they can assist: https://www.finglobal.com/please-call-me/