Top

Understanding your R1 million single discretionary allowance

South Africans are allowed to transfer up to R1 million offshore per calendar year without having to obtain a Foreign Tax Clearance Certificate. This amount is covered by your annual discretionary allowance. The annual R1 million single discretionary allowance (SDA) applies to all South African residents over the age of 18 who hold a green bar-coded ID book or the new ID card.

Your discretionary allowance is applicable for the following reasons:

  • Monetary gifts and loans: South African resident to non-resident
  • Travel allowance: South African resident within 60 days before departure date
  • Donations to missionaries
  • Foreign capital allowance
  • Wedding expenses, if backed up by documentary evidence
  • Study allowance, if supported by proof of registration
  • Maintenance and alimony payments, as per court orders
  • Travel allowance for minors (R200,000 per calendar year)
  • Any use of your South African debit or credit card abroad

If you need to make a transfer for any of the above reasons, then please, don’t hesitate to get hold of us. We can make sure your transfer is processed as efficiently as possible. We’ll also make sure you get the best rates and lowest fees. It’s what you deserve after all.

Get a quote
 

Understanding your R10 million individual South African foreign investment allowance

Resident South Africans, or South African citizens living abroad who have not yet formally emigrated in terms of exchange control (also known as financial emigration) are entitled to make use of the R10 million foreign investment allowance.

The R10 million foreign investment allowance may be invested into offshore investment portfolios, property, bank accounts or other investments. The allowance has not always been this high, but in 1 April 2015, the foreign investment allowance increased from R4 million to R10 million per person per calendar year and R20 million per family unit.

To send more than R1 million offshore, you’re going to need a Foreign Tax Clearance (FTCC) from SARS. This certificate is valid for 12 months and it allows you to transfer up to R10 million. As part of our forex service, we can apply for your FTCC, greatly reducing the amount of time you will have to wait for your certificate.

We can help you make use of your allowances, free of charge, and if you wish to exceed the amounts above, we can assist you with applying to the SARB for special dispensation. These applications can be complex, and are judged on a case by case basis, so having the right partner in your corner can make all the difference.

How to transfer more than R11 million out of South Africa

We can assist you in applying for a Letter of Compliance from SARS if you want to exceed this R11 million amount. This will allow you to transfer more than R11 million in a year. As soon as this letter has been delivered, it must also be sent to the SARB for approval. Once we've reviewed your approval we can transfer at the lowest fees.

There is no limit to how much money you can send out of the country with such an application, but each application is judged on its own merits. We have experience with these applications and can assist you through the process of applying to both SARS and SARB to ensure your application had the greatest chance of success.

What about financial emigration?

When you left South Africa permanently, you used to be able to undergo a process called financial emigration, which meant changing your status with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to non-resident. Once non-resident, you were no longer limited in how much you could transfer out of the country.

Financial emigration no longer exists. The updated process requires "tax emigration" with the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Once you are officially non-tax resident in South Africa, and are in good standing with SARS, you can transfer funds to an overseas bank account.

Our South African tax team has years of experience dealing with SARS and processing cases like this are are able to offer help and advice.

The best time to use your annual allowance

All South African citizens have transfer allowances that renew on 1 January every year.

When you plan to move large amounts offshore, it can be tempting to wait for the currency exchange to be in your favour, but in doing so you can end up waiting too long.

Tax clearance certificates are valid for a year after being issued, but your allowances are based on the calendar year. The best thing you can do, if you have a valid tax clearance certificate and haven't transferred the full amount you're cleared for yet, is transfer before the end of the calendar year. Anything you don't transfer will be taken from your allowance for next year.

If you wish to transfer a large sum that exceeds your transfer allowance (for example, R2 million using your SDA), we recommend splitting the transfer into two: One at the end of the year (in November/December) and one in January/February of the next year when your SDA refreshes. In this way, you can transfer a much larger amount over the course of a couple of months than you would otherwise be able to do. 

Obtaining special dispensation from SARS to go beyond your allowance can be a difficult process, so you should always take advantage of your current allowance while you are able to.

Contact one of our forex specialists to make sure you stay on the right side of SARS with all of your international money transfers.

Why transfer with us?

We are an established foreign exchange service with over a decade of experience, as well as offices across South Africa, the UK and Australia. As your forex partner, we can ensure you are always compliant, and you get the most competitive exchange rates. What’s more, we pride ourselves on exceptional customer service, and our South African team is always on hand and will be happy to assist you with any query you may have along the way.

Forget about your bank

Many South African’s first port of call when thinking of making large international money transfers is the bank. However, the bank falls short when it comes to advice, competitive pricing and attractive rates. A trusted forex provider can save you a considerable amount on every transfer you make and advise you on how to make the most out of every transfer.

Why our clients love our forex service

Great rates

We transfer your money at excellent rates. All of our fees are disclosed up front, so you never have to worry about unexpected costs.

 

Fully regulated

We are fully compliant with the South African Reserve Bank, Financial Services Conduct Authority and South African Revenue Services.

 

No obligation consultations

We offer all prospective clients complimentary no obligation consultations on their personal or business forex needs.

 

Expert advice

We always provide a personalised service and all our solutions are tailored to our clients’ needs.

 

Let us answer your questions about transferring money

You may have some questions about transferring your hard-earned money, and we understand. You are right to want to know more about our service before you choose to transfer with us.

Below are the answers to the questions we get asked most regularly.

If you still have questions after reading the FAQs below, you can contact our South African based team on +27 (0) 21 657 2153. If you’d rather keep things online, you can email saregistrations@sableinternational.com and we’ll help you out.

1. Once registered, how long does it take to activate my account?

As soon as we have received your compliance documents, your account will be activated within 24-48 hours.

If your remittance request exceeds R1 million, you will need to obtain a tax clearance certificate (we can assist with this) and provide us with a PIN.

2. How long does a transfer take to be processed?

Once we have received all the necessary documentation associated with the transaction and your funds have cleared in your account, we will quote you a rate for your transfer. The converted funds will be credited to your nominated overseas account within two to three working days.

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

Our minimum transfer amount is R100,000 to be able to benefit from our services. As a South African resident, you are able to remit R1 million under your discretionary allowance and an additional R10 million per year with the aid of a tax clearance certificate for foreign investment. We can help you apply for this certificate from SARB.

If you are a South African non-resident (this means that you have never been issued with a South African ID book or ID number) there is no limit to the funds that you may remit from South Africa, provided that you can prove the source of the funds. Please contact us on saregistrations@sableinternational.com for more information.

There are certain benefits to sending larger amounts. To find out more about the benefits of sending larger amounts pop us an email, or give us a call, and tell us how much you’d like to send, and we’ll walk you through the currency conversion process.

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

While there are several limits on sending money out of South Africa, there are no limits as to how much money you can send into South Africa.

5. What methods of payment can I use to transfer the funds to your account?

We accept internet banking payments. You will be supplied with a bank account in your own name to which you will transfer the funds. Proof of payment must be emailed to us at saforex@sableinternational.com, so that we can confirm receipt of payment and allocate your funds for transfer.

6. Are there any hidden charges or receiving bank charges?

Not at all. Our transfers carry a shared swift fee of R250, which ensures that the South African bank charges are covered. When the funds clear in your recipient account, the intermediary and receiving bank may charge a bank fee to depending on whom you bank with and this is generally £15. Alternatively, we charge R500 which ensures that all bank charges are paid for. We also make a margin on the exchange rate, which is disclosed and agreed upon up front.

Get in touch

Fill in your details below and one of our consultants will be in touch as soon as they are able.

In the section "How can we help you?", please include the following information:

Do you have a South African ID?

Do you have a SARS tax number?

What Rand amount would you like to send?

Are you sending money to your own account or a third-party account?