Emigrating from South Africa

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  • Make sure to give someone you trust a general power of attorney such that people can transact matters on your behalf back in SA.
  • Make and leave behind several certified copies of your ID, passport, marriage certificate
  • Get an original, unabridged marriage certificate and certified copies, too.
  • Get original, unabridged birth certificates for yourself and kids.
  • Check when your driver's licence is due to expire. If it's any time soon, go and take the necessary eye test and get it renewed.
  • Ditto your SA passport.
  • Don't forget to settle any outstanding traffic fines and ALL accounts before you leave.
  • Have your mail forwarded to a family member or trusted friend at least for a period of time after you leave.


  • Contemplate opening a bank account with a bank in your target country that has ZA representatives before you leave.
  • Go to your bank and obtain the name of a person with whom you can correspond to handle you ZA banking affairs while you are gone, to help avoid the problems associated with being told "You need to go into a branch".


  • Appoint someone to handle your tax queries in South Africa, grant them a limited tax special power of attorney for tax matters and update your postal address so that your SARS correspondence goes somewhere. The original of this special power of attorney will need to be submitted to SARS.
  • You're not automatically a non-resident for South African tax purposes just because you happen to be outside of the country for even 2 years+.

Exchange control

  • If you're emmigrating permanently, you'll need to complete an mp336(b)[1] and submit it your an authorised dealer (your usual bank) to get approval for exporting your South African assets.
  • If you're in Cape Town, ABSA's exchange control department has so far seemed the most helpful with matters relating to individuals. FNB/RMB's has been quite problematic. This has been my experience with our accounting firm's clients. YMMV. - Andrew
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