Its the holiday season coming up in Cape Town and Cape Town active welcomes back ‘home’ all our ‘visitors’ who seek sunshine and lifestyle for the next few months.
Going by the affectionate nickname of swallows it is estimated that some 50,000 – 100,000 individuals spend 6 months per year in Cape Town before heading back home for the rest of the year.
For many the normal practise, whereby swallows enter South Africa on a 3 month visitors visa and then extend for another 3 months, has become tiresome and time consuming .. and sometimes created issues.
So today we talk to Intergate Immigration and ask the question how to immigrate to South Africa and what options swallows may have.
What permit categories can swallows look at when considering how to immigrate to South Africa?
All permit categories are open but typically with swallows the best options for how to immigrate to South Africa are the retired permit or financially independent permit.
What can you tell us about the retired permit?
As a permit category for immigration to South Africa the criteria is fairly straight forward. The emphasis of the requirements focuses on the applicants ability to be able to financial support themselves.
What is the financial criteria?
The requirement is for each applicant to demonstrate they have funds of R20,000 per month (or currency equivalent) but how this can be proven depends upon whether they are seeking to immigrate to South Africa on a temporary or permanent basis.
So for temporary retired application to immigrate to South Africa how can they show proof?
Temporary retired immigration permits allow for either, or a combination, of income and capital. The immigration period granted is normally for 4 years and as such if no income can be proven the R20,000 a month required income level can be substituted with the equivalent in capital. In this case it would be R20,000 times 48 months, meaning R960,000 capital would be needed.
You mentioned it could be a combination of the two?
Correct, if for example R10,000 a month can be shown as income then the shortfall would be only R10,000 times 48 months, meaning a capital sum would be required of R480,000 for the immigration application.
Does the capital have to be brought into South Africa?
No, when you immigrate to South Africa, with the exception of a business permit, there are no requirements for any money to be brought into South Africa at all, it must simply be shown as being available.
And how do you prove income?
Income must be in the form of guaranteed income – for example a pension or rental income.
And for those who are seeking immigration to South Africa with permanent residency?
Permanent residency under the retired category indicates that the applicant is wishing to immigrate to South Africa for an indefinite period. As such only income can be used so the applicant must demonstrate the R20,000 per month purely from income.
Is there any age restrictions?
Good question, certain missions abroad indicate that there are but in fact any age of person meeting the criteria can immigrate to South Africa as a retiree.
What are the benefits for getting residency?
Firstly there is a perceived risk in constantly renewing visitors visa’s. If the swallow, for example has a property here in South Africa and stays 6 months every year, are they really tourists or is South Africa their second home?
The issue here is whether the tourist visa is in keeping with the spirit of the act or whether in fact the swallow has basically immigrated to South Africa already – minus the permit. This query could be something that is looked at by the authorities and seen as a loop hole which needs closing.
In addition there are some benefits:
- Protected property rights as a permanent residency holder
- No annual cost for renewals and no more time spent each year queueing in Home Affairs
- The ability for close relatives to obtain residency based on the swallows residency status
- Importation of goods (car, household items etc) with no duty
What about tax?
When thinking of immigrating to South Africa a lot of swallows worry that obtaining residency may effect detrimentally their tax situation and of course advice should be sort. That said South Africa operates a residency based tax system that also looks at days in and out of South Africa, it also levies no tax on foreign pensions and has a number of double taxation agreements in place.
Can you help with tax advice?
Yes we can we offer a tax health check as well as bespoke planing that includes offshore options.
Where can our visitors find out more?
Our website www.intergate-immigration.com has a whole section on retirement and I would suggest looking at the retiring in Cape Town page and also there is a section on taxation.
And are Intergate doing anything special for swallows over the festive season?
We are providing a 50% discount on all tourist visa renewals as well as holding free weekly seminars at our office in Cape Town – 199 Loop Street.
And lastly how can people contact you to discuss how to immigrate to South Africa?
Either through the website, calling us on + 27 (0) 21 424 2460 or emailing us here.