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Financial emigration FAQ

We provide financial and immigration solutions to South Africans living abroad. One of our areas of specialty is financial emigration (or formal emigration from South Africa). Below are some of the questions we most often hear from clients. If you don’t see the answer to your question below, please send it to us on safe@sableinternational.com and one of our financial emigration specialists will assist as soon as they are able.

1. Who is Sable International?

We provide professional services to private individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, and clients with international interests or links. We manage the accounting, wealth, financial, currency and nationality needs of our clients and are fully qualified to provide comprehensive financial and immigration solutions.

2. What does the financial emigration service do?

Our financial emigration service assists South Africans, about to leave the country or already abroad, to successfully financially emigrate and recover their retirement annuities and remaining assets in South Africa. We pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive, competitive solution with exceptional customer service and great rates.

Essentially, we help South Africans withdraw their retirement annuities before they mature and transfer that money out of South Africa.

3. How secure is my personal information?

Our clients’ data and information is treated with the utmost respect and security. It will only be used for specific actions as requested by you.

We are registered and accredited with all relevant South African financial institutions and bodies.

4. What is the difference between emigration and financial emigration?

If you emigrate without properly notifying the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), you are classified as a South African resident living temporarily abroad. You will then be subject to the same tax laws and financial regulations as people living in South Africa. If you wish to leave the country permanently and avoid this tax scenario, financial emigration from South Africa is, in most cases, recommended. To do this, you must register your intentions with the SARB.

You will need to ensure that your tax affairs are up-to-date and in order before you submit your application and supporting documents. You may also have to submit a tax clearance certificate from the South African Revenue Service (SARS), depending on how long you have lived abroad.

If the application is successful, the SARB will issue you with a proof of emigration certificate. Once you have financially emigrated you will then be able to use a non-resident bank account to freely transfer your funds abroad.

5. What happens to my South African citizenship if I financially emigrate?

It is often believed that officially emigrating requires you to give up your citizenship and identity as a South African – a very emotive issue. This is incorrect.

Registering an official emigration with SARS and the SARB does not affect your South African citizenship. All that happens is that the SARB declares you a non-resident. Until you actively relinquish your citizenship, you will be classed as a South African citizen and will retain the right to return - and again become a resident - whenever you choose.

6. Can I return to live and work in South Africa if I have financially emigrated?

Being declared a non-resident does not mean you are giving up your South African citizenship. Unless you formally renounce your citizenship, you will always legally be South African. You are able to come back to live and work in South Africa whenever you wish.

To ensure you do so legally and without any restrictions, you will have apply to the SARB to be declared a resident once more.

7. Why should South Africans financially emigrate?

Whether financial emigration is right for you will depend on what kind of retirement funds and assets you hold; it is not necessary for all expats. All South Africans have the annual R1 million single discretionary allowance and R10 million foreign investment allowance (which requires a SARS tax clearance certificate). These can be used for foreign investment and asset transfer without having to financially emigrate. However, if you have retirement annuities that you would like to cash in, then financial emigration is the only option.

There are many reasons to financially emigrate, which will depend on each client’s individual circumstances, however the main benefits are:

  • Being able to access your South African retirement annuities before age 55.
  • Being able to transfer future SA inheritance funds out of the country without being subjected to the SA resident exchange control process.
  • Should you have no intention to return to SA, financial emigration would tidy up your financial affairs with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Until you have formally (or financially) emigrated, your status will be as a South African tax resident temporarily abroad, and you will not be permitted to withdraw your South African retirement funds out of the country.

8. How much does it cost to financially emigrate?

Our service assists South Africans, about to leave the country or already abroad, to successfully obtain a financially emigrated status and recover any remaining assets in the country. Our fees are highly competitive and we encourage clients to compare our service offering with other business in the financial emigration market.

If you are interested in financially emigrating, or recovering financial assets from South Africa, fill out our short financial emigration questionnaire below and a consultant will contact you shortly.

Please tick all remaining assets that you have in SA (if applicable)








Please tick all remaining liabilities that you have in SA (if applicable)


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Disclaimer: Please do not act in reliance on information published or advised without consulting a suitably qualified independent legal or other professional adviser of your own choosing. Sable International will not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of their use or reliance on any of the advice provided by any one, or all, of the professional advisers identified by Sable International.

South Africa

Cape Town

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120

Durban

201 The Annex
Ridgeside Office Park
Umhlanga +27 (0) 31 536 8843

United Kingdom

London

Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1DG +44 (0) 20 7759 7514

Croydon

5-7 Selsdon Road
South Croydon
CR2 6PU +44 (0) 20 7759 7581

Australia

Melbourne

9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

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