South African Rand (ZAR) - Onshore/Offshore

Overview: 

Explanation of Onshore/Offshore South African Rand (ZAR)

Background

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has currency exchange control rules in place for South African residents. A South African resident is a person (i.e. a natural person, body corporate, foundation, trust or partnership) whether of South African or any other nationality who has taken up residence, is domiciled or registered in the Republic of South Africa (RSA). A resident account is also the account of persons resident, domiciled or registered in the Common Monetary Area (CMA). The CMA comprises of the Republic of South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. There are no exchange control restrictions between the members of the CMA and they form a single exchange control territory.

The rules stipulate that there is a yearly limit placed on the amount of ZAR that can be taken out of the country by South African residents – i.e. taken "Offshore". ZAR that remain in South Africa are deemed “Onshore”.

Each resident can take the following amounts offshore per calendar year:

  • ZAR 1 million can be taken offshore as a “Single Discretionary Allowance”
  • ZAR 10 million can be taken offshore as an “Foreign Capital Allowance”

Only institutions licensed as “Authorised Dealers” (AD) are able to send ZAR outside of South Africa and so offshore. An AD is responsible for reporting the offshoring of any ZAR to the SARB. As a result, residents sending ZAR offshore must accurately state the purpose for which the ZAR is being sent. Residents must receive approval from an AD before they are able to send any ZAR offshore. Prior to taking ZAR offshore as part of the Foreign Capital Allowance, residents must also have additional clearance from the SA tax authorities.

The full exchange control rulebook from the SARB can be found here: https://www.resbank.co.za/RegulationAndSupervision/FinancialSurveillanceAndExchangeControl/EXCMan/Pages/default.aspx

Current ZAR Situation

Our ZAR cashiering account is a non-resident account. Therefore, we are permitted to:

  • Receive deposits in ZAR from other non-resident accounts.
  • Disburse ZAR from our cashiering account to non-resident accounts.

We are not permitted to:

  • Receive deposits from accounts of South African residents.
  • Disburse ZAR to accounts of South African residents.