Services to South Africans abroad
Statistics show that almost a million South Africans are living abroad. If you’re one of them or planning to travel or work abroad find out how you can still access crucial South African services while you’re out of the country.
Assistance for South Africans abroad
Depending on the service required, you’ll need a valid form of identification such as an ID or passport.
Consular Services are provided free of charge (unless otherwise specified) and offer several advisory and non-financial services to South Africans living abroad.
What are Consular services?
Consular Services works in close collaboration with the Consular Sections of the South African Diplomatic Missions (Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates-General) abroad. The services listed are often performed through or with the Diplomatic Missions abroad.
What services can South African citizens expect from consular officers?
There's several services you can access from the consular offices. For a full list, visit the DIRCO website.
• Humanitarian help in emergencies. This includes providing a support service in hostage cases or natural disasters.
• Logistical support and non-financial help for South African nationals who are in a hospital or need to be repatriated to SA for urgent medical or professional attention.
• Communication with the next-of-kin when someone dies or suffers a life threatening illness or injury. They also provide logistical assistance with the importation of mortal remains (including import permit applications) or burials of South African nationals abroad. However, they don't provide financial assistance arising from the death of a South African national abroad.
• Assistance to families under certain circumstances in facilitating the transfer of funds to family members in distress, or who are destitute abroad.
• Advice, guidance and support to a parent/guardian in matters of child abduction.
Other services offered by DIRCO:
• Assist to replace lost, stolen, damaged or expired passports abroad and South African identity documents (the service is performed on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs, and prescribed fees apply).
• Request the local authorities to investigate suspicious deaths of and crimes against South African citizens.
• Provide guidance in partnership with the Department of Social Development on matters relating to intercountry adoptions.
If you need Consular assistance while living or traveling abroad, you can contact the Consular Section of the South African Diplomatic Mission in the country directly.
Alternatively, you contact DIRCO in Pretoria or in person during official working hours by appointment only at:
Department International Relations and Cooperation
Consular Services, NE2A-Ground Floor
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
- Tel: +27 (0)12 351 1000
- Fax: +27 (0)12 329 1752
- Email: email@example.com
In case of an after-hours emergency, contact the Department's Opsroom at:
Tel: +27 (0)12 351 1000.
Info that’s good to know if you’re living abroad
Tax and non-residents
South Africa has a residence-based tax system, which means residents are, subject to certain exclusions, taxed on their worldwide income, irrespective of where their income was earned. By contrast, non-residents are taxed on their income from a South African source.
Although South Africa taxes residents on their worldwide income, taxpayers who are non-residents will be taxed only on their income that is sourced in South Africa (such as interest on capital invested in a local bank; or rental income generated from a fixed property in South Africa).
How to register and vote abroad
The Electoral Amendment Act 2013 gives all South African citizens the right to register and vote abroad (national elections only).
If you’re a registered voter and either live abroad or will be abroad on election day in South Africa, and you have valid South African ID as well as a valid South African passport (valid temporary passports are also accepted), you're eligible to vote abroad. However, you must also submit a VEC10 during the period specified in the election timetable (15 days from the date on which the election is proclaimed) notifying us of your intention to vote abroad.