Understanding what funds you can and can’t transfer out of South Africa

You may have been living overseas for several years and now you are the beneficiary of a deceased estate. When you have an inheritance due to you the executor of the will is going to get in touch with you to make payments and asks you some complicated questions. Often heirs are unsure of how to answer these questions or how to best send their inheritance overseas. We can help you on both counts.

Inheriting money from overseas as a South African expat

If you are living overseas and you receive an inheritance from a South African estate, you will fall into one of the three categories below.

  1. South African resident temporarily abroad

    This means that you have not completed formal financial emigration (before 1 March 2021) and are considered a resident “temporarily abroad” by SARB. You are subject to the same exchange control and financial regulations as people living in South Africa.

    If this is your situation, you can transfer your funds using your R1 million discretionary allowance (SDA) or your R10 million foreign investment allowance (FIA). The FIA requires an AIT (tax clearance) and your green barcoded South African ID book or ID card. We can obtain your tax clearance certificate for you, as well as transfer your foreign investment allowance at the best possible exchange rate and lowest fee.

    Financial emigration is no longer an option for South Africans living overseas as this was removed from exchange control on 1 March 2021. For South Africans inheriting, financial immigration has been replaced by a requirement to demonstrate being a non-tax-resident as well as a resident in another country. At Sable, we are experienced in the complexities of the scenarios our clients face and we will find a solution to ensure you receive your inheritance as quickly as possible.

  2. You have financially emigrated from South Africa (pre-March 2021) and are a non-resident of South Africa

    The inheritance funds can be transferred to you, provided that you have proof or confirmation of your financial emigration. This involves providing the South African Reserve Bank with your reference number (also called the ECA number) which you would have received when you originally emigrated from the bank at which the emigration was done. We can assist you should you wish to verify your financial emigration status.

  3. You were never a South African citizen

    This is a straightforward process of providing evidence of your non-residence status and transferring your funds overseas. You will then be able to send any South African inheritance out of the country with relative ease.


Frequently asked questions about transferring money to and from the UK

You may have some questions, and that’s only natural. The good news is that we have the answers you’re looking for. Below are the answers to some of the most common questions we receive about our online international money exchange service.

1. How long does it take to activate my account once I’ve registered?

As soon as we have received a copy of your passport and proof of residential address (signed and dated by yourself), we will activate your account on the same business day. If your transfer exceeds £20,000, we will request a few additional documents.

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2. What is the best way to transfer money out of the UK?

Whether you’re sending a remittance or settling debt, the quickest and most convenient way to convert your money and transfer out of the UK would be online, with your UK debit card. All you have to do is charge your card on our website and, when you submit your transfer, your exchange rate will be locked in automatically. This ensures the rate you see is the rate you get.

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3. What is the processing time for a transfer?

Once we have received all the necessary documentation associated with the transaction and your funds have cleared in our client account, the converted funds will be credited to your nominated overseas account within one to three working days.

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4. How are your exchange rates determined? Why are they better than the banks’ rate?

To get you competitive exchange rates, we canvass the market on your behalf, add a small margin to the rates we obtain and pass that rate on to you. The exchange rates we offer fall between the interbank rate (the truest exchange rate) and the rate offered by high street banks and bureaux de change.

We are able to undercut the high street banks and pass that saving on to you in the form of great rates. Do note though, while the rates on our site are updated throughout the day, they must be viewed as indicative only.

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5. What are the minimum and maximum amounts that can be transferred?

There is no minimum or maximum amount when you transfer money with us. There are, however, certain benefits to sending larger amounts.

Please note: When transferring £10,000 (or foreign currency equivalent) or more in a single currency transaction, or £30,000 (or foreign currency equivalent) in a number of transactions over a 12-month rolling period, Sable International requires proof of “source of funds” as prescribed by HMRC’s Money Laundering Regulations.

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6. How much money can I transfer into South Africa?

There are several limits on sending money out of South Africa but there are no limits as to how much money you can send into South Africa. If you’d like to learn about how much money can be transferred out of the republic, check out our page on discretionary allowances.

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7. What are the transfer fees?

Our fees are dependent on the size and destination of your transfer. Although you’ll be glad to know that any transfer above £2,000 (excluding transfers out of South Africa) is automatically processed free of charge. If you are transferring less than £2,000, the table has some general information on our fee structures.

We can send money to South African credit cards only. At present, we cannot transfer money to Australian, New Zealand or UK credit cards.

Fees to transfer from the UK

UK to Australia


UK to Eurozone destination


UK to New Zealand


UK to Poland


UK to South Africa


UK to UAE, USA and Canada


Australia to the UK


Eurozone destinations to the UK


New Zealand to the UK


Poland to the UK


South Africa to the UK


Remember, these are simply our most popular destinations; we can transfer to others, so if yours isn’t on the list, please contact us.

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8. How can I be sure that my funds will be correctly allocated?

If you are using internet banking, it is imperative that you ensure that your funds will clear under your name and surname. If you use your name and surname as the payment reference, we will know that the funds are from you and we can process your transfer as soon as the funds clear.

If the funds will be clearing under a reference other than your own name and surname, please send an email to, informing us as to what name the funds should clear under. Following these guidelines will decrease the likelihood of a delay.

*Please note, we do not accept third party payments.

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9. How secure is the site?

Our site uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) 128-bit encryption to protect your transaction details. This 128-bit encryption is the latest and strongest data encryption technique commercially available for securing information between you, our client, and our website.

SSL works by encrypting/scrambling data from our website to your computer. The data is encrypted on our web server and can only be decrypted/unscrambled by the person with the correct decrypt/unscramble key. You can visually verify our site’s use of SSL in two places: The "s" in https in the site’s web address and by the padlock on the left-hand side of the address bar.

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International money transfer specialists with offices in London

For over 20 years, we have been helping UK citizens and non-citizens transfer money into the UK. Our experienced team in our London office is always on hand to help ensure you get the best deal when you’re converting your money into Pounds.

Registered and regulated

Our forex service is registered with all of the relevant authorities globally. Sable International is a trading name of Sable International FX 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) and the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (Sable International FX [PTY] Limited - FSP no. 41900).

We are registered as a Money Services Business with FinCEN in the USA (Sable International FX Limited -registration no. 31000236345657).

We meet the required capital and liquidity requirements required by prudential regulation. We also stand under the financial controls and KYC (Know Your Customer) policies and procedures of our corporate bankers and regulatory institutions.

As an FCA Authorised Payment Institution it is our responsibility to segregate funds. Where we are required to segregate your funds. We do this by placing the funds in a segregated account (known as a "safeguarding account") at Barclays Bank PLC.

We are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Instead, where we have segregated your funds in a safeguarding account, it means those funds would be separated from our other assets in the event of our insolvency and used to repay you and other clients.

Barclays Bank PLC provides us with safeguarding account(s) but does not monitor the funds we place in them or how we operate these accounts.

The funds of clients who utilise our Currency Solved service, backed by Currencycloud, are safeguarded by their FCA-regulated e-money partners at a credit institution.