Friday, 30 March 2012

How to keep your South African citizenship?

Planning to apply for a foreign passport, but want to retain your South African citizenship?

Don’t forget to apply for the retention of your South African citizenship first, or you’ll lose it, the South African High Commission in London has confirmed in response to recent queries from ”Saffers” in the United Kingdom.

An application for the retention of South African citizenship must be made before one acquires any foreign nationality. Persons under the age of 18 years do not need to apply for retention of their South African citizenship, as they will not lose their citizenship while still minors.

How do I apply?

You need to contact the consular section of the High Commission in your new home country to obtain the necessary forms.

The processing fee for this type of application varies from country to country, as a rule of thumb the cost in the United Kingdom is £25.00.

Turnaround time for applications also varies, usually it is 15 working days.

What happens if I became a foreign citizen without applying to retain my South African citizenship?

A person who has lost South African citizenship by virtue of failure to apply for the retention of South African citizenship will have the right to permanent residency in South Africa if he or she was born there. Such a person will be allowed to apply for the resumption or reinstatement of South African citizenship in South Africa. An application for resumption or reinstatement of South African citizenship is approved on condition that the applicant will live permanently in South African once his or her application has been approved.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your South African Citizenship is not in any way affected by the process of formal emigration (financial exit) from South Africa.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Why is it such a mission to “migrate my finances”?

Many ex-pats or Saffers living abroad have tried it on their own and bear the (emotional) scars of going through the experience… is the seemingly simple act of moving ones finances (assets & funds) “closer to home”. Don’t be fooled – just like golf, it seems simple until you try to hit that little white ball with that large club head for the first time! Soon you will be going round in circles and taking the road less traveled….

Here is a short course (excuse the pun) in “migration golf”…..

Lesson #1: The rules of the club
In golf, the club has many rules you have to abide to while navigating the course.
In financial migration, there are many stipulations, documents and regulations to navigate in order to successfully emigrate, cash out policies and/or move funds through foreign exchange controls.
We do not make the rules, but are merely knowledgeable players on the course, with paid up membership.

Lesson #2: The swing – the importance of getting it right from the start
Getting off to a good round of golf requires accuracy from the tee-box and completion of a good golf swing.
Accuracy and completeness from the “player” (i.e. you, our client) when completing and supplying documentation in the migration process is just as important for a successful round through the “migration course”. As in golf, any errors and deviations turns a possible fun outing into a nightmare round.

Lesson #3: It’s a time-consuming game
Golf is not a game for those in a rush. It could take quite a long time to complete a round, normally longer than initially anticipated. There are varying factors that could influence this, including the effort and focus you put into the game, your experience, the team members you choose and the toughness of the course you are playing.
The similarities to financial migration is staggering. Migrating your finances have many impacting factors and various situations could play a roll in extending the time it would take to complete a client’s case. These factors include the bank the client chooses to emigrate through, the insurer(s) of the client’s policies and the tax status of the client at the revenue services.

Lesson #4: It can be a complex game with many variations
Golf is golf, right? Well, no, not exactly. There are many formats and variations, not to mention the complexity of just the basic rules of the game. Some ‘Greek terms” for new players include scramble, best ball, modified stableford, and lone ranger.
Following the trend of the previous lessons, financial migration also follows the same route, with multiple complexities and many parties involved. Each organization involved in the process has its own set of stipulations, processes and documents to complete, e.g. SARS, insurers and banks. There is no “inter-operability” between these organizations, thus information has to be duplicated and provided in multiple formats. Inter-working within the same organization between different departments can also be an issue and causes errors and delays.

Lesson #5: There is a cost to playing, even though you have played before
You might have played golf before and you might even be a member of a club, but it still costs to play a round and costs differ depending on the course and sometimes the season or the timing. The experience of playing should far outweigh the cost though.
Similarly, you might have migrated officially before, but there are still costs involved in confirming such migration and obtaining the correct proof and documentation required to initiate migration of funds. Again here, depending on whom you play with, the experience and value delivered should also far outweigh the cost.

With all this said, arguably the most important consideration when embarking on a round of “migration golf” is choosing your playing partners wisely. Astute, friendly, helpful and considerate playing partners in this sometimes-unforgiving game are paramount!

So, come and join the ‘cashkows fourball’.
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