If you’ve emigrated from South Africa, chances are you’ll still need a bank account back home to manage your finances for property and investments you’ve left behind. With recent updates to the South African exchange control system, residents and non-residents are to be treated the same for exchange control purposes, but the bank accounts available to South Africans outside of the country are still referred to as ‘Non-Resident Bank Accounts’. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about how to open a bank account in South Africa from overseas.
What is a non-resident bank account used for?
While you might live permanently overseas now, you will still need an account back home if you have plans to:
- Move your South African assets overseas: Private individuals cannot shift assets abroad without properly declaring them and moving them through the correct channels.
- Maintain a South African financial base: Sending money back home for remaining family or servicing assets back home is only possible through a local bank account.
Also referred to as an Emigrant Capital Account, you’ll need one of these if you have plans of moving money out of South Africa. Previously, non-residents were limited to savings-type accounts, but now it is possible to apply for transactional accounts that allow you to handle your banking in South Africa, from anywhere in the world. Some banks have even made it easy for non-residents to save and invest with them while providing forex capabilities to easily move money across borders.
An emigrant’s capital account is necessary in order to access and transfer:
- Financial assets, like retirement annuities, pension or provident funds.
- Proceeds from assets declared in your tax emigration, including policies, unit trust or property sales through this account.
- Cash balances in this account can be used in South Africa or transferred abroad.
- Income such as rental on fixed property or interest on savings can be paid into this account, but you will need to be able to produce proof of source for tax purposes, such as a lease agreement.
Please note that only an Authorised Dealer (i.e: the bank you chose) holding your remaining assets in South Africa may authorise the transfer of funds.
How to open a bank account in South Africa as a non-resident
When opening a bank account in South Africa, you will need to be over 18 years of age and in a position to meet tax verification requirements. To open a non-resident account, you will need the following:
- The minimum opening deposit
- A certified passport copy stamped by your overseas bank
- Bank statements for at least three months
- Proof of income
How to open a bank account in South Africa: choosing a bank
When it comes to banking from abroad in South Africa, it pays to do your homework while choosing a bank to handle your money moves. Not all banking solutions are created equal, so it’s advisable for you to make a list of the features that are priority for you, and to compare offerings accordingly.
Some considerations when opening a bank account in South Africa from overseas:
- What are the fees like, annual or monthly? Are there any discounts on charges?
- How are transactions charged? Do you get a certain number of transactions for free? What are the fees in terms of withdrawals and exceptions?
- What interest rate is offered on your money? What savings and investment products can you access, if you need them?
- What electronic banking services are offered? (telephone, internet, mobile?)
- What features/functionalities do you actually need? The ability to pay Direct Debits? An overdraft facility? A cheque facility? International payments?
- What fraud and security measures does the bank offer to protect your money?
FinGlobal: a full suite of financial services for South African expats
Need help opening a bank account in South Africa from overseas? Let FinGlobal handle it for you. As a proudly Bidvest partner, we can help you open a bank account online. We can also assist you with tax clearance, foreign exchange, tax emigration and so much more!
To date, FinGlobal has provided assistance to more than 60 000 clients in 105 countries on different aspects of their cross-border financial portfolios, and we’re ready to do the same for you. We’re ready to show you how easy it can be to get your money where it needs to be in a time-efficient, tax compliant manner.
Let’s talk banking. Leave us your contact details and we’ll be in touch to handle your cross-border financial requirements.
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