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How to Open a Bank Account in South Africa as a Foreigner

Are you a foreigner and want to know how to open a bank account in South Africa? You’re at the right place. In this guide, you’ll learn all the necessary steps needed to open a bank account in South Africa for foreigners.

There are so many opportunities in South Africa for foreigners and there comes the need to have a functional bank account in South Africa. To support these businesses, there are over 50 commercial banks operating in the country.

You can open any type of account (corporate and personal) in any of these banks. Some of these banks are local while others are foreign serving both locals and foreigners. On this basis, foreigners who seek to invest or start a business in South Africa need an operating bank account.

Firstly, to open a bank account in South Africa as a foreigner, you need to have a work or residence permit.

Can I Open an Account as a Non-resident?

Different banks have different requirements for non-residents. The non-resident account can be opened by anyone. However, they are some restrictions which are only accessible to persons with valid residence permits.

Requirements Needed to Open a Bank Account in South Africa  as a Foreigner

Requirements needed to open an account in South Africa vary from bank to bank as well as the type of account. Generally, these are the things that will be required of you.

Requirements Needed to Open a Personal Bank Account in South Africa as a Foreigner

To open a personal bank account in South Africa as a foreigner, you will need to visit any bank of your choice for more detailed information. However, the process usually only consists of filling out a form and submitting the appropriate documentation. This may include:

  • A valid form of identification such as a passport.
  • A utility bill showing your name and current residential address
  • Provide at bank statements for at least three months
  • Provide proof of income
  • Passport Pictures
  • Work and residence permit.
  • A letter of introduction from your banking institution in your home country
  • Some banks may request a reference letter from an account-holder of the bank to which you are applying in South Africa and/or a letter of reference from your employer.

Requirements Needed to Open a Corporate Bank Account in South Africa for Foreigners

To open a corporate bank account in South Africa as a foreigner, you will need to visit any bank of your choice for more detailed information. However, the process usually only consists of filling out a form and submitting the appropriate documentation. This may include:

  • Certificate of Incorporation and Certificate of Registration.
  • Two passport-size pictures of the Signatories to the account.
  • Proof of identification such as passport.
  • Proof of residential address for all directors and signatories
  • Company physical address confirmation
  • Annual returns (for companies registered over one year ago)
  • Revenue stamp and constitution of the society if not registered
  • Residence permit (if the account signatories are foreigners)

How Much is Needed to Open an Account in South Africa as a Foreigner?

The amount needed to open an account in South Africa varies considerably. However, the minimum amount needed may vary between $6 and $9 depending on whether the account is a current account or a personal account.

Can I Transfer Funds Outside South Africa as a Foreigner?

Foreigners who are operating an account with South African banks are allowed to freely transfer funds overseas provided they can substantiate the source of the fund. The banks will only require support documents in respect of the transfer of funds.

Things to Know About Opening an Account as a Non-Resident

As a non-resident visiting South Africa, your account will have certain restrictions. All deposits made into your account, from local sources, will only be made available once you have provided supporting documentation validating the source of funds and exchange control requirements.

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