Get to know your new life in South Africa

11 September 2020

5 minute read

Relocating to South Africa can be both an exciting and challenging time and there’s a lot to consider.

As part of one of the world’s largest banking groups, we have been helping clients from both the UK and abroad with a wide range of their banking needs, for over 330 years. Here are just some of the things you’ll discover when making your new home in the varied and exhilarating country of South Africa:

Tackle the paperwork first

Before you set foot on South African soil, you need to make sure you have your paperwork in place and that means your residence permit. This lasts indefinitely but if you plan to make the move permanently, you’ll have to apply for permanent residency within a year. As you might expect, you will need to supply some of the usual papers including marriage and birth certificates, a range of medical certificates for a work visa (to make sure you’re not bringing any infectious diseases, particularly Tuberculosis), proof you can support yourself (like a contract) and pay the non-refundable fee.

Choose where to live

If you’re moving to South Africa for a job, where you live may well be restricted by your office location, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still choice. Of the country’s cities, many consider Cape Town the best to relocate to, surveys have suggested that Durban offers the best quality of life.

The country has issues with crime in some areas, including its affluent cities such as Johannesburg1. This shouldn’t put you off as there are a wide range of gated communities with high security provision. Expat communities rarely have a reason to stray into the higher crime zones and with sensible precautions, like keeping cash and valuables out of sight, you can dramatically reduce your chances of falling victim to criminals.

Health and wealth

While there is universal healthcare in South Africa, it has its limitations. The skills of the medical staff are beyond reproach, but the facilities themselves tend to be overburdened. When moving to South Africa, it is strongly advised to consider private healthcare insurance to meet any regular and emergency care. You need to consider which provider suits your needs best, as some only cover certain hospitals or provide basic emergency cover. You will also need proof of coverage when you need treatment, so keep your card in your wallet.

Taking on education

Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions you can make for your family in South Africa. You may wish to choose between an International or Private school, as some companies subsidise fees, with the latter proving much less expensive2. Equally, we can help you understand the best school areas to relocate to, as rush hour traffic – particularly in Johannesburg – means a school in walking distance of home is often a more attractive prospect.

Fun in the sun

South Africa is a country with a wealth of wild life, culture and its people are famously hospitable. Even if you’re travelling for work, don’t forget to take the opportunity to explore the Veldt, take off on Safari, climb Table Mountain, visit the penguins at Boulders Beach or hang out with your neighbours over a Braai  -South Africa’s infamously meaty barbequing style.

In South Africa, there is so much to see and do, it can be hard to know where to start. We’re here to help you live your new life in the Southern Hemisphere to the full.

We serve those with an international lifestyle. Whether you’re a UK national living or moving abroad, a foreign national in the UK, or looking to hold funds outside of your home country, we can help. You’ll need to have a deposit of at least £100,000 (or currency equivalent) maintained across your accounts.


Make your dreams happen

We’re ready to move, invest and preserve your wealth, so you can make the most of your world. Apply for a Barclays International Bank Account today.

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