South Africa

Exchange Control for Travel

South African citizens have to comply with a number of exchange control rules that restrict how much money you can take abroad. If you live in any of the common monetary countries (South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland), you can only buy foreign exchange in your home country.

Making or receiving an international transfer

When making or receiving an international transfer, you need bring your identity documents and the relevant exchange control documents.

If you  don’t have a transactional account at Standard Bank, you will also need to bring proof of your residential address not older than three months.

When ordering your travel forex, you will need to provide:

  • a valid ticket to a foreign destination
  • a valid passport
  • car registration details (if you’re travelling by road outside of the common monetary countries).

Travel forex rules:

  • you may not do so more than 60 days before you leave
  • you will have to present a valid air ticket, showing the departure date, when applying for forex
  • any unused foreign currency must be exchanged within 30 days of returning to South Africa
  • using your credit card while travelling abroad is part of your travel allowance
  • personal belongings on a flight valued at more than R50 000 require a No Exchange Provided (NEP) form from a bank or from Customs and Excise

South Africans wanting to travel abroad need to know:

  • you can take up to R1m offshore per calendar year, if you’re over 18 years
  • this can be used at your discretion – for travel, investment, donations, gifts, etc
  • children under 18 can take R200 000 abroad per calendar year as a travel allowance
  • every traveller is allowed to take R25 000 in cash abroad
  • the cost of travel arrangements like hotels, cruises, tours, etc are part of your travel allowance. Airfares are not included in this calculation of travel allowance

Temporary exportation of personal effects and jewellery

(i) All residents of the CMA may be required to present the prescribed SARS Customs Declaration on their departure from the CMA. In the case of any jewellery to be temporarily exported, it must be fully manufactured and not crudely produced.

(ii) Should the insurance value of the goods taken by the traveller exceed R200 000, the prior written approval of the Financial Surveillance Department must be obtained.

(iii) The items to be exported must be returned to South Africa within a period of six months.

(iv) Where the items exported will not be returned to South Africa and where the insurance value thereof exceeds R50 000, an application must be submitted to the Financial Surveillance Department.

All foreign exchange transactions are subject to:

  • the requirements of the Financial Intelligent Centre Act (FICA)
  • exchange control regulations that limit how much money you can take abroad.