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Foreign Nationals to ‘Bank like a local’
Community Coordinator
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As Africa’s largest financial services organization, we offer a wide range of banking services to foreign nationals who are moving to South Africa on a temporary basis, either for work or study. When making a move to a new country, setting up a local bank account becomes of critical importance. With access to local banking services, it becomes easier to arrange essentials like a mobile phone, internet access or transport.


Foreign nations typically come to our shores for work purposes, study or to retire in the country. As the economic hub of the continent, South Africa attracts entrepreneurs and business people from various African regions.  

Moving to a new country, even for just six months or more, can be daunting. There is nothing worse than feeling out of place in a new environment. With access to local banking services on arrival, it allows for foreign nationals to get settled quickly and easily and feel more at home.


Ahead of arriving in South Africa, foreigners can apply for a fully functional bank account with Standard Bank – no matter their location and this application stays valid for 90 days. Once in the country, the next step is to visit any of Standard Bank’s local branches to provide supporting documentation. This includes:

  • Passport
  • Valid permit (for work or study)
  • Proof of residence

If all the requirements are met, the customer's profile will be activated, and they can begin transacting straight away. It then widens access to other solutions that support or work towards attaining financial and lifestyle goals.


Once the transactional account has been set up, it allows for foreign nationals in the country on a temporary residency basis to take advantage of other offers available to SA citizens such as home and vehicle financing, lending options, investment products and more.

When developing the solution, we considered the challenges and needs of those who are coming from other countries to live and work or study in the country on a temporary basis. That is why when applying for a transactional account, the power is in the hands of the foreigner to select an account that suits their needs.


We have for example a specific account for students or graduates with professional qualifications. Further to that, students who are 24 years old or younger qualify for lower banking charges.


We have also taken into consideration that for the majority of the time, foreigners living in the country will need to send money home on a monthly or ad-hoc basis. With a local transactional account, they can make payments anytime via the mobile app or online banking.


Standard Bank’s Shyft forex app, which comes at no cost, will then also be available to foreign nationals once set up with a transactional account and this allows for clients to buy and store foreign currency without having to visit a physical bank or forex branch.


The app takes the pain out of foreign currency exchange, which typically requires having to physically visit a bank branch, by allowing customers to make transfers on the app at any time of the day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the world at a competitive rate.


At Standard Bank, we are driven to make you feel at home. With non-resident banking, foreign nationals can ‘bank-like home’ without any hassle. We are committed to widening access to tailored solutions that promote convenience and support clients in achieving their goals and dreams.

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