Foreign nationals and asylum seekers can open bank accounts in South Africa but not all banks follow the same procedure.
- First National Bank will allow you to open a bank account once you have received a Section 22 permit.
- ABSA Bank allows recognised refugees, with Section 24 permits, to open bank accounts.
It’s advisable to check with the Department of Home Affairs that your work permit or temporary resident permit is in order. There is a possibility that a business banking account cannot be opened in your name because there is any question to the legitimacy regarding your residency in South Africa.
Standard Bank has a policy of vetting non-citizen customers who would like to open any account with the bank. For FICA and KYC (know your customer) purposes, Standard Bank accepts a valid passport and proof of residence, the requirements are the same for citizens and non-citizens: all are required to bring acceptable documents (e.g. utility bill) that confirm place of residence in SA.
Standard Bank states that they are always willing to engage with the customer to find out more details about the issue if the contact details are available.
The requirements may change slightly from bank to bank but in terms of the basic documentation, the following is required:
- Original business registration documents
- A green identity document or valid passport
- A clean credit record
- Two business trade references (or a business letterhead)
- South African income tax number (if issued and available)
- Three months of personal bank statements
- Any one of the following documents (they must show your business’ street address and/or physical residential address):
- Municipal rates and taxes invoice
- Water and electricity bill
- A bank statement from another bank
- A recent lease or rental agreement
- Telkom statement
- Letterhead of the business
8. When you open a banking account, no matter what type, you have to consent to credit check.
9. Where additional services are required – applying for an overdraft for instance -additional documents may be required from the applicant depending on the financial institution’s criteria.
10. If you are married to a South African then you can apply for a joint bank account through your wife. In this case you will need all the above documentation as well as
11. Identity document of your wife/husband
12. Proof that you are legally married to a South African resident.