Foreign Discretionary Allowance

What is a single discretionary allowance?

It is an allowance within an overall limit of R1 million per calendar year which a South African resident over the age of 18 years may avail of.

What can be transferred under the single discretionary allowance?

The single discretionary allowance may used for any legal purpose abroad (including for investment purposes). This dispensation may be utilised solely at the discretion of the resident without any documentary evidence having to be produced to the Authorised Dealer except for travel purposes outside the Common Monetary Area where a passenger ticket needs to be produced. The resident individual must produce a valid green bar-coded South African Identity Document or Smart ID card for identification purposes and the identity number is mandatory when reporting the transaction in terms of the Reporting System.

What rules are applicable to South African residents travelling abroad?

  • Residents over the age of 18 years may avail of a travel allowance within the single discretionary allowance limit of R1 million.
  • Residents under the age of 18 years may only be accorded a travel allowance of up to R200 000 per calendar year.
  • Foreign exchange, in respect of a travel allowance may be provided in any authorised form. The travel allowance may also be transferred abroad to the traveller’s own bank account, but not to an account of a third party.
  • Foreign currency for travel purposes may not be bought more than 60 days prior to the departure of the traveller.
  • You may not use the foreign currency you purchase for any purpose other than stated/ declared when you purchased it.
  • Travellers must convert unused foreign exchange to Rand within 30 days of returning to South Africa.
  • In the case of a travel allowance, if you do not spend all the funds on holiday expenditure you may not keep the funds offshore or buy offshore assets.
  • The cost of land arrangements (hotels, cruises, tours, etc.) forms part of your travel allowance, but payment locally of airfares do not.
  • A Form NEP must be attested by your bank when the insurance value of goods taken out exceeds R50 000. When the value of the goods exceeds R200 000 prior approval of the Financial Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank must be obtained before the Form N.E.P is attested by the bank.
  • Travellers may also take up to a total value of R25 000 per person in the form of Rand notes.

How much can an individual invest offshore?

(i) A tax-payer in good standing and over the age of 18 years, can invest up to R10 million in his/her name outside the Common Monetary Area (CMA-Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia), per calendar year. A Tax Clearance Certificate (in respect of foreign investments) must be obtained. These funds may not be reinvested into the CMA countries thereby creating a loop structure or be re-introduced as a loan to a CMA resident.
(ii) In addition, up to R1 million, within the single discretionary allowance facility, can be transferred abroad, without the requirement to obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate.

What if I want to invest more than R10 million per calendar year?

Your bank must submit an application to the Financial Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank for approval. A Tax Clearance Certificate, in the prescribed format, must always accompany the aforementioned application.

Can a private individual open a bank account in South Africa denominated in foreign currency?

Yes. Private individuals (natural persons) resident in South Africa may open a Foreign Currency Account for permissible transactions.

What value of Krugerrand coins can be taken out of South Africa?

Banks may allow the export of Krugerrand coins or the equivalent in fractional Kruggerrand coins up to an amount of R30 000 as gifts by residents to non-residents. Non-resident visitors may export up to 15 Krugerrand coins or the equivalent in fractional Krugerrand coins, supported by the prescribed SARS Customs Declaration, provided that they can prove that the coins were acquired with the proceeds of foreign currency introduced.

What is the maximum amount of cash (both Rand and foreign currency) that can be introduced into South Africa?

Visitors to South Africa and South African residents are not permitted to import or export South African Reserve Bank notes or any bank notes of other member countries of the Common Monetary Area (CMA – Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland) in excess of a total value of R25 000 per person. Visitors to South Africa are entitled to bring foreign currency in any format into South Africa, which foreign currency is convertible into Rand at any bank. Confirmation of this conversion should be retained should the visitor want to convert the Rand back into foreign currency.