Opening a South African Bank Account – Individual Immigrants

Opening a South African Bank Account Individual Immigrants
Opening a South African Bank Account Individual Immigrants

The procedure for opening a bank account in South Africa relates directly to the type of visa you have been granted.

Whilst on a tourist visa you are only able to open a bank account in South Africa that is classified as a non resident account. Whilst these accounts can have all the features of a normal banking account they are restrictive in so much as they cannot generally receive deposits in Rands. Not being able to deposit rands into your account can at times be troublesome.

There are exceptions to the rule, such as if you own a property and let it out (in these exceptions the paper trail is of prime importance).

If you are in possession of a valid visa that confirms your temporary or permanent residency status then you are able to open a bank account in South Africa which is known as a residents account. A residents account is in essence a ‘normal’ bank account with no special restrictions.

How does Intergate help its clients?

Opening a bank account in South Africa as a foreigner can be a little tiresome. The normal course of events is to gather all required documentation and queue at the bank. There one sits (normally after lengthy wait) whilst any number of forms are completed. Often there is confusion over the residency status, sometimes hard to proof address and lack of credit history.

At Intergate we have set up special arrangements with First National Bank, RMB and Investec private banking. This means no queues, no confusion and quick facilitation of the establishment of your banking facility.

High Interest and Private Style Banking

In addition to this, for clients with funds in excess of R250,000, Merchant West Incompass operate a high interest private banking facility in conjunction with Investec Private Bank. This account is ideal for those individuals who wish to keep funds in a secure, accessible and high interest paying environment. An added advantage is that this account can be opened up before arriving in South Africa, allowing you to transfer funds directly into your account from abroad in anticipation of your arrival. The account has the added advantage of transactions and client interaction being in line with private banking. Therefore offering high interest rates and superior service. You can read more about the Merchant West Incompass Cash account here.

For those who arrive without their visa in place, the first place we would assist you is to open a non-residents account so you may transfer funds in from abroad and later on (after your residence visa has been secured) this would be converted to a residents bank account.

For those making their own arrangements to open a South African bank account please ensure you have contacted them prior to arrival as each bank may require some specific documentation to support your application. Typically you will need your passport, proof of your current visa, proof of residential address and possibly some proof of source of funds.

Opening a South African Bank Account – Business

Your close corporation or Pty Ltd can obtain a business account. There would be no currency restrictions in terms of rand deposits into this account, as the company is viewed as a legal identity in its own right and would be incorporated in South Africa.

When opening an account for in South Africa for a close corporation you will be required to provide the following documentation:

  • Founding statement and certificate of Incorporation (Form CK1) and an Amended Founding Statement (CK2), if applicable
  • One of the following documents reflecting the trade name and physical business address:
    • An original company letterhead
    • Electricity or water bill
    • A bank statement (from another financial institution)
    • Lease or rental agreement
    • Telkom account
    • SARS tax return statement

In addition you will be asked to provide information in respect of your source of income and the type of activities that can be expected on the account.

All members, authorised signatories and/or any other person who may act on behalf of the closed corporation must provide the same information and documentation as stated above, as well as written confirmation that they are authorised to act on behalf of the CC.

Intergate maintain close ties with First Bank, RMB and Investec and are happy to facilitate the opening of accounts with these institutions. Below are the contact details for the 4 major high street banks.

Standard Bank Hotline:Tel: 0860 123 456Web: Bank Hotline:Tel: 0860 008 600Web: First National Bank Hotline:Tel: 0860 987 654Web: Hotline:Tel: 0860 115 060Web:

For start up companies in South Africa and companies that expect to maintain positive cash balances in excess of R250,000, Merchant West Incompass operates a high interest, immediate access money market style account. The account has the added benefit of being operated in lines with a private banking facility offering a superior service and highly competitive interest rates.


Opening a bank account in South Africa can be frustrating and time consuming. Intergate Immigration offers it clients the most comprehensive immigration service available. We realise that a successful immigration is not just about the visa or visa but every day living necessities. At Intergate our clients can look forward to opening a bank account in South Africa with the minimum of fuss, with great service and great rates.

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