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How do I transfer my inheritance overseas from South Africa?

Home » How do I transfer my inheritance overseas from South Africa?

How do I transfer my inheritance overseas from South Africa?


If you’re a South African living abroad with family back home, it’s likely that you’ll be included in someone’s last will and testament at some point. Cross-border inheritance claims can get complicated quickly, so it’s worth ensuring you have a grasp of things you’ll need to consider when you find yourself in this situation.

First, some context: South Africa’s exchange control just got a makeover

Now that the concept of formal emigration as recognised by the South African Reserve Bank has been phased out, all new emigration applications from 1 March 2021 onwards will be processed instead by the South African Revenue Services in terms of a new verification-based system that examines whether the individual has ceased to be a resident for tax purposes.

Exchange control previously differentiated between resident and non-resident, applying different rules and procedures to limit the flow of money out of South African borders. These outdated rules and onerous exchange control procedures have been replaced instead by positive list framework in which all cross border transactions are permissible except those that are subject to capital flow measures or transactions that pose a high risk of being illegitimate.

Furthermore, amendments have been made to the Currency and Exchanges Manual for Authorised Dealers, Section B.2(J) in dealing with private individuals ceasing to be South African tax residents. This section now provides:

  • The concept of emigration as recognised by FinSurv has now been phased out.
  • The distinction between South African resident assets and non-resident assets remains unchanged.
  • However, natural person emigrants and natural person residents are now to be treated the same.

What does this mean for an expat living abroad with an inheritance claim in South Africa?

Now that there is no longer a distinction between resident and non-resident for the purposes of moving money across borders, Authorised Dealers may, on confirmation that a private individual has cleared tax residency status with SARS, allow the transfer of funds abroad, subject to tax compliance.

  • Where the amount to be transferred is less than R1 million in a single calendar year, authorised dealers may transfer these funds offshore without a TCS PIN letter.
  • Authorised dealers are permitted to facilitate the transfer of up to R10 million in total per calendar year per private individual who ceases to be a resident for tax purposes in South Africa, where this person is 18 years and older, tax compliant and able to submit the applicable TCS PIN for verification.
  • South African non-tax residents who wish to transfer more than R10 million offshore will initially be subject to a stricter SARS verification process and will require a subsequent approval process from FinSurv. Such transfers will trigger a risk management test that will cover tax status verification, funds source, as well as a risk assessment of the private individual in terms of the anti-money laundering and countering terror financing requirements, as mandated in the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001.
  • To transfer an amount larger than R10 million, an application to FinSurv must be supported by a TCS PIN letter containing the tax number and TCS PIN to verify taxpayer tax compliance.
  • All transfer of assets by private individuals that have ceased to be South African tax residents will be subject to tax compliance checks.

What’s the point of tax residency, then?

The tax residency status determines how FinSurv treats resident domestic assets, taking into account that sale proceeds and assets of non-residents are freely transferable offshore.

What does this mean for you?

It means that if you are a private individual who has already ceased to be a tax resident, you should have little trouble transferring your inheritance proceeds out of South Africa, once you’ve verified your tax compliance status. If you are still a South African tax resident, you’ll need to obtain prior tax clearance depending on the amount to transfer, and provide proof of the source of the funds through inheritance.

What happens if you inherit a house in South Africa?

Where the bequest is not monetary, you might find that a relative has left you property or their home in their will. What happens in this case? While most people worry that inheriting a house will come with a whole bunch of hidden costs, this is not the case. Most costs are covered by the estate, and typically conveyancing fees and transfer duties are not payable by the beneficiary. As such, the only real cost, aside from settling outstanding debt on the property (if any) along with maintenance and improvements, comes in with Capital Gains Tax. This tax becomes relevant when the beneficiary sells the property, and the amount of tax payable is calculated based on the difference between the property’s present-day value and the value on the day of inheritance.

FinGlobal: expert financial services for South African expats

Dealing with an inheritance claim in South Africa can quickly turn into a bureaucratic headache, which is why you shouldn’t have to handle it alone. FinGlobal is ready to assist you access your inheritance and transfer the proceeds abroad in a safe, time-efficient manner, helping with tax clearance where necessary. We offer highly competitive foreign exchange rates, fixed fees and accelerated timelines – all of which add up to a faster, larger payout for you.

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Ready to discuss how we can assist you with transferring your South African inheritance money abroad? Leave us your contact details and we’ll be in touch shortly.

South African Airways

Travel Documentation

Please ensure you have the correct documentation when you present yourself at check-in, security and Immigration formalities. You must present the same documentation at the boarding gates. For international travel, government regulations require all travellers to be in possession of a valid (return) air ticket, a passport, visa and health documentation (if required) and any other documents that could be required by government regulations. Travellers without the necessary documents will be not be allowed to board to avoid flouting immigration rules.

Passports and Visa – South Africa Collapsed Content

Passport, visa and health requirements can vary according to your country of citizenship and your destination. It is your responsibility as a traveller to ensure you have the correct documents. Please check the requirements with the consulate or embassy of all countries on your itinerary. Failure to comply with visa and/or passport requirements may result in denied boarding. SAA is not responsible for any losses or inconvenience incurred as a result.

Please note that visitors who wish to travel to South Africa must have a passport that is valid for at least 30 days after their intended return date from South Africa. Visitors with an extended validity on a machine readable passport are not allowed to enter or transit South Africa.

It’s important to note that non-South African passport holders must have at least 1 completely unused visa page for entry or departure endorsements by South African Immigration Service in their passport. Government regulations prohibit airlines from boarding travellers without the required blank visa pages, even if you hold a valid ticket and a valid passport. That requirement for a blank page does not include the page reserved for Observations, Amendments or Endorsements. This rule is not applicable to nationals of South Africa.

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Customers travelling to international destinations must ensure that their passports are signed on the space provided at the bottom of the page that lists contact details. This is a requirement from the Department of Home Affairs to which SAA must adhere to.

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The Republic of South Africa is currently implementing the biometric capturing system at ports of entry. If you are a non-South African citizen, travelling through the ports of entry you will be expected to provide your fingerprints and photograph at the Immigration counter.

To view the biometric process, click here.

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Click here to view the official website list of South African embassies, consulates and high commissions.

Please note this list only represents those organisations with their own websites. For a complete listing of embassies and consulates representing South Africa abroad, click here.

Travel Requirements for Minors Travelling to and from South Africa Collapsed Content

The South African Department of Home Affairs amended the requirements for minors (children under 18 years) to travel with birth certificates from 11 November 2019. The requirement is only applicable to minors traveling on South African Passports and they may be required to produce, in addition to their passport, a birth certificate or equivalent document which shows the details of both parents for all international travel to and from South Africa. Additional supporting documents may be required should they fall in a specific category. Customers are urged to obtain more information prior to travel.

Further documentation may be required. For full details please visit the Department of Home Affairs website or refer to the travel advisory.

Travellers will be asked to produce the required documentation at check-in for each flight.

Important contact information:

  1. The South African Department of Home Affairs,0800 60 11 90 (toll free from South Africa)
  2. Your local South African Embassy

For International Passport, Visa and Health requirements, travellers are encouraged to visit the IATA Travel Centre.

SAA’s role is to ensure the new Immigration Regulations are communicated and adhered to by its customers, however, SAA is in no way responsible for the Act and the new Immigration Regulations. SAA will ensure it communicates any new amendments to the regulations in a timely manner, however, SAA accepts no liability for any inaccuracies in the content.

Travel Requirements for Minors Travelling to and from Namibia Collapsed Content

Minors younger than 18 years traveling to Namibia must have an unabridged birth certificate. In addition, when traveling:

a) with an adult who is not their biological parent: an affidavit from their parents giving consent for the minor to travel with the adult is required.
b) with an adult other than a parent/legal guardian: copies of their legal guardians’/parents’ passports or documents of identity are required. Contact details of the parents/legal guardians should also be provided.
c) with a parent: an affidavit from the other parent giving consent for the minor to travel is required. A death certificate should be provided if one parent is deceased.
d) unaccompanied: an affidavit from their parents/legal guardians consenting their travel, a letter containing the contact details and residential information of the person who will receive the minor passenger, a copy of the identity document, valid passport or permanent residence permit of the person who will receive the minor passenger, and the contact details of the minor’s parents/legal guardians are required.

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The United States Government requires all foreign travellers to hold specific travel documents to enter the country.

South African passport holders will need to apply in person for a visa, and should do so before booking a flight. The US Diplomatic Mission to South Africa says:

  • Applicants should be prepared to demonstrate their strong social, economic and/or family ties to South Africa as well as their purpose and duration of travel.
  • Flight tickets: Applicants should obtain a visa BEFORE purchasing tickets or making irrevocable travel plans.
  • Visa Interviews are by appointment only. We suggest that appointments be scheduled at least 60 days before the travel date wherever possible.
  • Appointments are available Monday – Thursday.

For details, see:

US Visa Waiver Program

Passport holders from other counties may be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. If so, you can apply for authorisation to enter the US before you travel, using the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). Check your eligibility for the Visa Waiver program here:

Electronic System for Travel Authorisation

Travellers eligible under Visa Waiver Program must obtain authorisation via the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) prior to travelling to the United States.

This automated system will confirm your eligibility to enter under the Visa Waiver Program and determine whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk. Upon completion of the application, you will be notified of your eligibility to travel to the United States.

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You can apply by visiting and answering all the required questions. Anyone trying to travel without authorisation may be:

  • denied boarding
  • delayed upon arrival and referred to US Customs and Border Protection for secondary inspection
  • required to submit an application and pay a fee
  • refused admission into the United States and returned on the next available flight

Application for the ESTA authorisation costs $14. You must pay by credit or debit card during the online application process.

What do you need to travel overseas from south africa

Planning a trip to South Africa and looking for the best way to stay connected? Get yourself a local prepaid sim card and avoid slow overseas data plans and high roaming costs. In this guide you will read everything you need to know about buying a prepaid sim card for South Africa: where to buy one, up to date prices as per November 2022, the best 4G/5G network, buying a sim card at the airport, my recommendation and experiences and even information about international and e-sim sim cards for South Africa.

The first thing I do when getting to a new country is buying a local prepaid sim card. It is the best way to save on high roaming costs. As I am on a journey to visit every country I get to a lot of places and airports and providing tourists with helpful travel tips is a huge passion.

That is how on Traveltomtom you can find more than 150 guide for buying prepaid tourist sim cards: Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Europe, UK, London, New York, USA, Canada, Hong Kong and many more.

When flying into South Africa then go directly to my articles about buying a sim card at Cape Town Airport or Johannesburg Airport.

Why buying a sim card in South Africa?

Local sim cards are cheap and you can find some great sim only deals in South Africa. Just visit a shop with your passport and within a couple minutes you are connected.

Being connected when traveling has so many advantages. Think about ordering an Uber on the streets, find a cool nearby roof top bar or restaurant with good reviews or simply getting directions from Google Maps. There are so many reasons I can come up with for getting a local sim card.

On top of that it makes you not depend on WiFi. Because yes, the hotel offer free WiFi, Im sure. But that is no guarantee that it actually works or is fast enough. Also keep in mind that public WiFi is an UNSECURED network.

My recommendation

I recommend people to get a MTN sim card for South Africa. They have the best network by far and prices are the cheapest. The best prepaid sim card deals for South Africa you can actually find at the airport on arrival. More about that later.

Another way of staying connected is an international travel sim card that works in multiple countries, sometimes a great alternative. Check out my comparison of the best international sim card to travel the world in 2022 and pick the one that suits your trip.

When changing phone numbers and swapping sim cards has not your preference then have a look into so called portable WiFi devices. These pocket WiFi’s are one of the best ways to stay connected while traveling. Click on the link to read my HONEST review about these little travel items.

However, we are in 2022, there are e-sim cards: the easiest way to stay connected when traveling abroad.

E-sim cards for South Africa

One of the easiest ways to stay connected when traveling abroad is a so-called e-sim card. The best thing is that you can order one directly from the internet. You receive a code in your email which you will enter on your mobile and that is it. No need for swapping physical sim cards anymore. Check out the following South Africa e-sim card deals for you:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $17 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $33 USD

Click here to order the above South Africa e-sim card deals directly online and find more info how it works exactly. With an e-sim card you keep your phone number from home.

Order a sim card for South Africa online

Buying a local prepaid sim card is ALWAYS cheaper, but there are some options buying a sim card for South Africa online is you like the convenience of getting one before you fly to South Africa. These prepaid sim cards will be send to your home address before your trip to South Africa and are automatically activated.

For example an international sim card for South Africa with 10 GB data for $50 USD. Click on the link to order one directly or for more info.

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Mobile internet operators in South Africa

There are 4 main mobile internet providers in South Africa with country wide network coverage:

On top of that there is a fairly new provider on the market called Rain. They provide data-only sim cards for South Africa, phone calls are NOT supported. However, they offer great prices and unlimited data sim cards.

Rain operates on the Vodacom network. More about the best 4G/5G network in South Africa later.

Where to buy a South Africa sim card

If you are looking to buy a local sim card your best bid is to get one straight away on arrival. All the international airports sell prepaid South Africa sim cards.

Buying a sim card at Cape Town Airport

When flying to Cape Town international airport you have the option between MTN and Vodacom. Their shops are located next to each other on your right when you enter the arrival hall from either the international terminal or the domestic terminal.

Buying a sim card at Johannesburg Airport

At Johannesburg Airport you have 1 extra option. When you walk out into the arrival hall you go to your right and you will find: MTN, Vodacom and Cell C all next to each other. They all sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. Check here my guide for buying a sim card at Johannesburg Airport.

Bigger shopping malls

In case you didn’t get a chance to buy a sim card at the airport then there are numerous mobile phone stores scattered around the city center of every big city in South Africa. Convenient places are the bigger malls. If you travel overland to South Africa you can find kiosks at the border that sell sim cards for tourists.

If you are looking to buy a Rain data only sim card with unlimited data you can simply pick up a free Rain sim card at any Pargo store. Pargo is like the DHL/Fedex of South Africa. You will find them everywhere.

Prices prepaid sim cards South Africa

Cell C

A prepaid Cell C sim card costs 25 SAR ($1.80) and comes with loaded credit:

  • 600 MB data
  • 30 minutes
  • 20 SAR calling credit
  • Valid for 15 days
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Additionally you can buy weekly and monthly data bundles. Here are some examples:

  • 199 SAR = 2 GB data + 4 GB data after midnight till 6 am – valid for 30 days. ($14)

Well these after midnight data bundles etc. are useless when you ask me. I am not a fan of the Cell C prepaid sim card deals. Value for money is NOT what I had hoped for.

The Cell C website is very slow and not helpful either when it comes to finding info about additional data bundles for prepaid sim cards. You can try to give it a go in the link for the latest info.


A great thing about a Telkom prepaid sim card is that they are for free. After registration you can top up with one of their plans. Find here the latest sim only deals for Telkom South Africa.

These are the best bundles they offer:

  • 189 SAR = 2 GB data + 50 minutes + 100 sms – valid for 31 days ($13)
  • 289 SAR = 4 GB data + 100 minutes + 100 sms – valid for 31 days ($21)

telkom sim card south africa

In the above Telkom bundles there are also minutes to Telkom numbers included as well as some free GB for WhatsApp and YouTube. Overall these bundles sound very complicated to me and I would not quickly recommend buying a Telkom sim card when traveling to South Africa.


A Vodacom South Africa sim card costs 20 SAR ($1.5) and comes with no credit. They offer tourist sim cards with Voice & Data combo bundles:

  • 399 SAR = 3 GB data + 30 minutes + 30 SAR credit + 30 SMS – valid for 1 month. ($28)
  • 549 SAR = 5 GB data + 50 minutes + 50 SAR credit + 50 SMS – valid for 1 month. ($39)
  • 799 SAR = 10 GB data + 100 minutes + 100 SAR credit + 100 SMS – valid for 1 month. ($57)

vodacom sim card south africa

Vodacom South Africa calls it summer sale… Well, I call it EXPENSIVE! At least with these bundles is what you see is what you get.

A much better option is to choose your bundles yourself. Get one of the data bundles (1 month) and add some calling time separately:

  • 349 SAR = 5 GB data ($25)
  • 469 SAR = 10 GB data ($33)
  • 699 SAR = 20 GB data ($50)

sim card vodacom south africa

Then adding just a couple minutes for emergency calls and you get much more value for money with Vodacom South Africa. In the link you will find the latest info and prices of the Vodacom prepaid data bundles.

An MTN South Africa sim card costs 4 SAR ($0.3) for the registration and you will have to add voice and/or data bundles. MTN offers weekly and monthly bundles:

  • 70 SAR = 1 GB data for 1 week. ($5)
  • 199 SAR = 5 GB data for 1 week. ($14)
  • 189 SAR = 2 GB data for 1 month. ($13.50)
  • 469 SAR = 10 GB data for 1 month. ($33.50)

mtn south africa sim card

The MTN slogan is: Complicated. Combo offers. Simplified. GREAT! Because that is what it actually is. MTN is more expensive than Telkom and Cell C, but at least not so complicated. Check out the latest MTN data top up deals on their website.

As mentioned before a Rain sim card is free and can be picked up from any Pargo store around the country. You will have to do the registration and activation yourself through their website, so you need WiFi. It is simple though…

A little more complicated for tourists may be, but Rain has some of the best sim only deals in South Africa. Keep in mind though that this is a data only sim card, voice calls are NOT supported, but data calls are available.

  • Rain unlimited data plan with a 4G connection costs 299 SAR ($21) for 1 month.

A hotspot is NOT available on the Rain data plans. Comparing with the other operators a Rain sim card is obviously great value for money. Rain uses the Vodacom network. Check out the Rain website for the latest info and prices.

Best 4G/5G network in South Africa

As briefly mentioned before MTN and Vodacom have the best network in South Africa. Telkom and Cell C are not recommend for road trips in South Africa as their network is much weaker.

Is there 5G in South Africa?

Yes there is! Unlike anywhere else in Africa, 5G has been introduced to South Africa already! At the moment only Vodacom and MTN offer 5G. As Rain operates on the Vodacom network they also offer 5G. When I was in Cape Town in September 2021 I was enjoying a 5G signal almost all the time!

Let’s have a look at the 4G/5G network coverage maps for South Africa.

Cell C mobile internet coverage map 4G

cell c 4g 5g coverage south africa

Telkom mobile internet coverage map 4G

telkom 4g 5g coverage south africa

Vodacom mobile internet coverage map 4G/5G

vodacom 4g 5g coverage south africa

MTN mobile internet coverage map 4G/5G

mtn 4g 5g coverage south africa

Looking at the above 4G/5G coverage maps for South Africa updated in January 2022 confirms that MTN and Vodacom have the best network by far. For the most up to date South Africa network coverage maps have a look at the Nperf website that collects data about 4G/5G coverage.

Best prepaid sim card for South Africa in 2022

You would hope that the smaller mobile internet operators Telkom and Cell C come with great prepaid sim card deals and data bundles to make up for the smaller network, but instead they make it pretty complicated. They are slightly cheaper, that is a fact, but not significantly.

Therefore I definitely do NOT recommend you buying a Telkom or a Cell C sim card for traveling in South Africa.

If you wouldn’t mind registering and activating your sim card yourself then Rain is by far the best prepaid sim card in South Africa. However, it is a data only sim card! But if you are a data lover, this is your best bid!

Comparing Vodacom and MTN is a little difficult as they are very similar in price as well as in network. However, I come to the following conclusion: MTN is the best prepaid sim card in South Africa in 2022!

Ask in the MTN stores for the 1 GB per day offer for 99 ZAR. This is what they offer at Johannesburg Airport as well as at Cape Town Airport.

Also another last reminder that you can order an international sim card for South Africa online and get it shipped to yoour home address before your trip or simply arrange everything online by ordering an e-sim card for South Africa.

Check out my video with everything you need to know about buying a sim card in South Africa. Here you can find my experiences going to the mobile phone shops, checking the prices, the details, requirements, etc.

My experiences buying a sim card in South Africa

buying a sim card in south africa

On my latest trips to South Africa in March and September 2021 I had only positive experiences with getting connected. When arriving to the Cape Town Airport there were only two options available: MTN and Vodacom. I checked both shops and found out that MTN was much cheaper than Vodacom, so that was an easy decision regarding the fact that they both have a great network.

I was happy with my MTN sim card and it worked very good all around Cape Town and on my hiking adventures in the nearby hills. The internet speed was fast and I had no problems whatsoever. In August I even enjoyed a 5G signal all over Cape Town. Read all about my experiences in my article buying a sim card at Cape Town Airport, including a vlog.

As part of my big Africa overland trip I ended up in South Africa again in July and September 2021 and this time traveled to Lesotho and Eswatini. Are you traveling to South Africa soon? Then I can personally recommend you to get an MTN sim card for your trip to South Africa.

In some South Africa sim card guides I read some wrong information:

  • There is free roaming with MTN South Africa in Eswatini. NOT TRUE!
  • There is free roaming with Vodacom South Africa in Lesotho. NOT TRUE!

For more info about buying a sim card in Lesotho, click on the link to read my article.

How do I know? I asked in the stores and they confirmed this, but I also traveled to both, Eswatini and Lesotho and tried it out myself! I told you I am trying to visit every country in the world. As of November 2022 I have visited more than 140 countries around the world.

I hope all the above tips for buying a sim card in South Africa were helpful. May you have any additional questions please let me know in the comments below and I will try to help you out.




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