Country – South Africa

7. South Africa

South African Embassy in Manila:

Registrations of South Africans Abroad (ROSA):

What is ROSA?

ROSA is the acronym for the ‘Registration of South Africans Abroad’, a software programme developed by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation allowing travellers to register on-line.

The information travelers register on ROSA allows the Department to assist South African citizens in event of an emergency. The registration is a free, voluntary service provided by Government (through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation). ROSA is only available to South African citizens who are travelling, living or working abroad.

ROSA is an initiative that is endorsed and supported by the Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA).

Why should I register?

Vast numbers of our people who travel abroad every day do not encounter any difficulties. However, through our missions abroad, we have assisted a growing number of South Africans who have become victims of crime, accident/s, illness, death, natural/man-made disasters, civil unrest, or whose family and/or next-of-kin needed to contact them in an emergency.

Registration through this website is NOT considered proof of South African citizenship. If you apply for any service from an Embassy, High Commission or Consulate General (mission) while abroad, you will be asked by staff to provide proof of South African citizenship, such as a passport or bar coded ID book.

By registering your trip on-line with ROSA you assist the Department to locate you during an emergency, verifying your status and liaising with your next-of-kin. Information on ROSA is not continuously monitored and will only be accessed during a declared consular emergency.

Registration is voluntary and free of charge. We encourage you to consider registration as an integral part of your travel planning and security.

How do I register?

The ROSA software is an on-line registration process available on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation website.

The ROSA software is unique as it allows for a traveller to:

  • Register as an Individual Traveller
  • Register as Group Travellers
  • Register multiple destinations
  • Update their profiles (Individual or Group)
  • De-register their profile from the system.

A combination of your South African passport and identity document are the best proof of your South African citizenship. Anyone who intends travelling abroad should have a valid passport. If you do not have a passport, apply for it well in advance. Temporary passports can be issued on short notice but they are not accepted in all foreign countries. If your passport is damaged in any way it is advisable to replace it before travelling.

Passport application forms are available at all offices of the Department of Home Affairs countrywide and at South African Embassies abroad. If your passport is due to expire within the next six months or has less than two blank pages, check with the embassy or consulate of the country of your intended destination in South Africa for its rules and restrictions regarding passport validity and expiry.

If you have any questions about passports, you can either contact the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria at telephone (012) 810-8911 or any regional office of the Department of Home Affairs. Keep certified copies of your passport (including the visa pages) with you for identification purposes. Do not keep the passport and the copies in the same place. An additional precaution is to leave a copy with a relative or friend at home.


Government funded social and medical benefits do not seem to apply to South African citizens residing abroad.



Expatriates – South African Living Abroad:

South African tax status

South Africans who work abroad should first consider whether they are still regarded as tax resident in South Africa. See Residency Test.

  • Should you be a tax resident in South Africa, you will have to disclose your worldwide income in your South African individual tax return. Many exemptions and deductions may then be claimed against the income that you derived outside South Africa. See Foreign Tax Credit and Earnings exemption.
  • Should you not be tax resident, you will only have to disclose your South African source income in your individual income tax return. This will be for instance interest from a South African bank account and income from a property that you are renting out in South Africa. Should you have no South African source income you may deregister from South African tax. See also the above links.

It is important to still ensure that your tax returns are accurately completed. If not, you may find it difficult to answer all the South African Revenue Service questions to their satisfaction when you return to South Africa one day and start submitting normal income tax returns.

South African Tax Planning and Compliance

The basic rule is that, should your affairs be planned well, you will normally not have to pay any additional taxes in South Africa. This is because the way our system is structured and taking into account the various exemptions and relief available. However, where tax matters are not planned and income tax submissions are not kept up to date, we know of many instances where the tax authorities enjoyed a bit of a windfall. Your planning should incorporate the following:

  • The income you earn should always be employment income. Should you be an independent contractor, planning should be done to change the nature of your income by for instance the interposition of a company;
  • Where your investments are located and the type of structures that you are investing in should be considered. It is better, from a tax perspective, to earn South African dividends than foreign dividends, often better to earn foreign interest as an expatriate that to earn South African interest. Also, it is a good idea to reconsider whether your South African retirement annuity, unit trusts etc still makes sense;
  • Think carefully about how you rent out your South African property to minimise your net rental profits legally and thereby also reducing your income tax payable;
  • Certain matters need to be considered depending on where you are in life. Retirement planning, share options, non-South African property, donations, whether a legally established trust structure will benefit you, capital gains tax planning etc.

Let us know should you have any specific questions concerning your personal circumstances. It is only by looking at your specifics that we will be able to provide you correct advice. See Your Tax Questions

South African Revenue Service Expatriates

SARS has committed itself to refining our service offerings to Expatriates. An Expatriate Unit has been established, with the following focus:

To manage, guide and optimise the relationship between SARS and the Expatriates. When referring to Expatriates, provision has been made for for 1) South Africans who have moved abroad and 2) Foreigners earning an income in South Africa.

Subscribe to SARS emails!

To receive email updates from SARS, please click here to submit your email address.

In addition to our Expatriate segment, we have segment pages for Small Businesses, Tax Practitioners, Employers, Embassies and Exempt Institutions.

Our Service Offerings What’s New
We offer the following services to Expatriates:
  • Webpage for frequent updates on developments;
  • Email updates on developments.

Frequently Asked Questions



Our Key Activities Our Policies, procedures, guides and regulations
Segmentation of the SARS taxpayer base is fundamental to the new operating model of the current SARS modernisation programme.The segmentation of the taxpayer base implies that SARS will be in a postion to interact with taxpayers in a more focussed manner in order to address the needs of specific target groups. In line with our new operating model, the different tax types will have dedicated owners who will be responsible for the product end-to-end.Expatriates have very unique needs in terms of their relationship with SARS and as they pose a number of operational challenges to SARS, the Expatriate unit was thus established to manage, guide and optimise this delicate relationship. When referring to expatriates, provision has to be made for two subsets:

  • South Africans who have moved abroad
  • Foreigners earning an income in South Africa

The intention of the Expatraite Unit is to manage the end to end activities which impact on the above relationship, specifically focussing on the following areas:

  • Management of the operational service delivery to expatriates nationally;
  • Enhancing the current service offerings to cater for the unique needs and requirements of expatriates;
  • Ensuring that expatriates are fully empowered to comply with their tax-related obligations;
  • Monitoring and tracking of compliance.
Once the new dedicated service offering has been fully conceptualised, the formal policies, procedures and regulations will be published. In the mean time the following guides are available for your easy perusal:Tax Guidelines

Tax Clearance

Payments to SARS


Useful Links Forms
Capital Gains Tax

Income Tax


Subscribe to SARS emails Contact Us
Subscribe to SARS emails!To receive email updates from SARS, please click here to submit your email address.
  • Call our SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277 (0800 00 SARS)
  • International Callers may contact our Contact Centre on +27 11 602 2093
  • Email or fax one of our dedicated four mail centres:
  • Northern South Africa: Taxpayers residing in Gauteng north (including Centurion and Pretoria), North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, please use: and fax 0126706880
  • Central South Africa: Taxpayers residing in Gauteng south (including Midrand, the Greater Johannesburg area, Kempton Park, Boksburg, Vereeniging and Springs), the Free State and Northern Cape, please use: and fax 0102085005
  • Eastern South Africa: Taxpayers residing in KZN and the northern parts of the Eastern Cape (up to and including East London) please use: and fax 0313286018
  • Southern South Africa: Taxpayers residing in the Eastern Cape south of East London and the Western Cape please and fax 0214138905.

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