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South Africa’s Updated Regulations on Overseas Asset Transfers

In a world where financial borders are becoming increasingly closer, the freedom to move assets across national boundaries is paramount. However, the recent amendment by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) heralds a new era for South Africans wishing to transfer their assets overseas. This article aims to dissect these new regulations, providing a roadmap for the South African expat and financial community.


Old Regulations vs New Regulations: A Comparative Lens

Under the former regulations, South African residents could transfer up to ZAR10 million per year abroad under the foreign investment allowance, with minimal tax compliance obligations. This framework provided a relatively straightforward pathway for overseas asset transfers.


However, as of June 5, 2023, a more stringent framework has been introduced. The Approval International Transfer (AIT) application is now a requisite for individuals wishing to export capital funds abroad beyond an annual discretionary allowance of ZAR1 million. This shift underscores a more controlled approach to overseas asset transfers.


Unveiling the Approval International Transfer (AIT) Application

The AIT application is central to this regulatory shift. It mandates individuals to furnish extensive disclosures and supporting documentation, a departure from the previous less rigorous compliance requisites. This includes articulating the source of the capital to be invested, be it local or foreign, and presenting a detailed statement of assets and liabilities for the preceding three years.


Aligning with Global Financial Compliance Standards

The catalyst behind these new regulations is South Africa’s aspiration to revamp its financial regulatory framework in line with global standards, particularly in light of its ‘grey list’ status by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). By tightening regulations on overseas asset transfers, South Africa is showcasing its commitment to fostering a robust, transparent financial ecosystem that thwarts money laundering and terrorism financing.


Impact and Implications

While these regulations herald a step towards greater transparency and global financial compliance, they also entail challenges. The diminished annual discretionary allowance and the meticulous documentation required for the AIT application could potentially impede the pace of overseas asset transfers.


Furthermore, financial planners, tax practitioners, and legal advisors will need to recalibrate their strategies to align with this new regulatory requirement. A thorough understanding of the AIT application process, the requisite documentation, and the broader regulatory landscape is crucial to provide astute advice and ensure a smooth asset transfer process.



The new regulatory framework around overseas asset transfers is a testament to South Africa’s evolving financial landscape. It’s imperative for individuals and professionals to stay abreast of these changes, adapting strategies to ensure seamless financial operations across borders. Engaging with seasoned financial advisors who can assist with the SARS Compliance requirements and process, keeping a pulse on regulatory updates, and fostering a culture of compliance will be pivotal in navigating this new financial frontier.



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About Mike Coady

Mike Coady is an expat expert based in Dubai and is on hand to help with all of the above and more.

Mike is an award-winning money coach and industry leader in the financial sector.

Qualified to UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) standards, a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, a Fellow of the Institute of Sales Management (FISM), a Fellow of the Association of Professional Sales (F.APS), a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (FIoD) and featured as a highly qualified Financial Adviser in Which Financial Adviser.

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Blog published by Mike Coady.