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Understanding your foreign investment allowance

South Africans living abroad who have not financially emigrated are entitled to make use of the R10 million foreign investment allowance and the R1 million discretionary allowance each year.

Understanding your R1 million discretionary allowance

South Africans may 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. Your annual discretionary allowance includes the following transfers:

  • Monetary gifts and loans: South African resident to non-resident
  • Travel allowance: South African resident within 60 days before departure date
  • Donations to missionaries
  • Maintenance and alimony payments, as per court orders
  • Wedding expenses, if backed up by documentary evidence
  • Study allowance, if supported by proof of registration
  • Foreign capital allowance or transfers without a Tax Clearance Certificate
  • Travel allowance for minors (R200,000 per calendar year)
  • Any use of your South African debit or credit card abroad

Understanding your R10 million individual foreign capital allowance

South Africans living abroad who have not formally emigrated in terms of exchange control are entitled to make use of the R10 million foreign investment allowance. You may use this allowance for any purpose you wish, so long as it is legal.

To send more than R1 million offshore, you are going to need to obtain a Foreign Tax Clearance Certificate (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 time you will have to wait for your certificate.


Can you externalise more than R11 million a year?

Should you wish to exceed this amount we can also help you apply for a “Letter of Compliance” from SARS, which will allow you to transfer more than R11 million in a year. Once this letter has been delivered, it must also be submitted to the SARB for approval. Once this approval is granted, you will be able to externalise your funds.

There is no limit on how much you can send out of the country with such an application, but each application is judged on its own merits. An experienced forex partner can ensure that your application has the best chance of success.


Financial emigration

Financial emigration, also known as formal emigration, is the process whereby you change your status with the SARB and SARS to non-tax-resident. It is vital you do this if you plan on emigrating permanently from South Africa, as it will allow you to send funds out of the Republic in excess of your yearly allowances.

Consider the following example: If you left South Africa to go and work in Australia for two years on a contract, and then 10 years later you are still living Down Under, you’ll most likely want to move all your assets to your new home. If you don’t financially emigrate in terms of exchange control, the SARB will designate you as a South African Resident temporarily abroad. This means you will only be entitled to the R10 million foreign investment allowance and the R1 million single discretionary allowance.

These yearly limits can become costly and frustrating, especially if you want to send large sums of money out of South Africa. This often becomes an issue when South African expats receive a large inheritance or sell a property.

If you’re planning on emigrating, we can help with all the paperwork and logistics so that your funds reach your new destination without hassle.

You’ll need the following documents to transfer your money out of South Africa:

  • Form MP 336(b)
  • South African ID or passport
  • SARB Formal Emigration Number
  • Proof of address

Whether you’re an expat living in South Africa, or a migrant worker on a short-term work contract, your personal account manager can help you send your money home.

Read more about financial emigration from South Africa.

South Africa

Cape Town

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


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

United Kingdom


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


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



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

Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 7070528) registered in England and Wales. Sable International is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (FSP no. 41900) and holds an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (AFS License number 335 126).

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