Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in South Africa?

I have recently been contemplating moving to South Africa, not that I do not love my own country, Zimbabwe, but because Zimbabwe can be a painful place in which to live. Even if you have a job and your own money, there is something about Zimbabwe that’s pretty depressing. We seem to be stuck in a merry-go-round. Anyway, that is not the story that I wish to tell here. One of the things that you will be interested in knowing, if you intend to migrate to South Africa, is whether or not you will be able to open a bank account in that country. So, can a foreigner open a bank account in South Africa?

Foreigners can open bank accounts in South Africa

The good news is that yes, foreigners can open bank accounts in South Africa. In fact, there are some banks over there appear to actively encourage non residents to open bank accounts. FNB, as an example, has what it calls a Non Resident Account. The great thing about FNB, if you are a freelancer like me, is that you can link your Paypal account to your FNB account. This makes it easy to move money to and from the accounts.

the non-res account from FNB
FNB offers an account for non-residents

Requirements when opening a bank account in South Africa

Opening a bank account in any part of the world can be rather daunting. But the process is understandable. Banks need to do everything in their power to ensure that they don’t fall prey to fraud. The following are some of the requirements for foreigners who wish to open bank accounts in South Africa;

  1. Proof of identity. This could be your national identity document or a valid passport.
  2. Proof of residence: Where are you staying in South Africa? A utility bill showing where you are living will suffice.
  3. An initial deposit amount. This varies from bank to bank.
  4. Proof of income or employment. This can be from your current employer, showing that you will be earning something per month. If you work for yourself, e.g if you do online work, you can also print your income statements to use as proof of income.
  5. You can also produce a study or work permit as part of the process of opening a bank account.

Overall, the requirements for opening bank accounts are pretty similar, whatever the country you are in. In order to open a bank account in South Africa, foreigners may be required to make a declaration of the funds that they have brought into the country. Foreigners may also be required make a declaration that the assets will not be given to other people residing in South Africa.

Can asylum seekers open a bank account in South Africa?

I have previously been asked the question; “can asylum seekers open an account in South Africa?” The answer is yes. If you are an asylum seeker, you probably have the documents to prove your status. These can be used to open a bank account in the country.

Can I open a bank account with a passport?

This is another question that I often hear from foreigners who wish to open bank accounts in South Africa. The answer is yes, you can open a bank account with a passport in South Africa.

Can a Zimbabwean open a bank account in South Africa?

If you are a Zimbabwean and are wondering whether or not you can open an account with a bank in South Africa, the answer is yes. Zimbabweans can open bank accounts in South Africa. The requirements are the ones that are outlined above. In fact, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans already have bank accounts in South Africa.

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