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Immigrating to the USA: How and why South Africans are doing it

By March 9, 2020June 27th, 2023FinGlobal

Immigrating to the USA: How and why South Africans are doing it

March 9, 2020


The United States of America is rising in popularity as an immigration destination for South Africans as they leave the motherland in pursuit of a different lifestyle and better job opportunities. Data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services show that around 10 200 South Africans obtained permanent resident status between 2015 and 2017. What’s so great about the US of A? Why are South Africans choosing to immigrate to the USA? Let’s take a look at what all the fuss is about.


What’s the attraction for immigrating to the USA from South Africa?

If you think about it, the US is a nation made up entirely of immigrants. This means that they’re usually welcoming and South Africans are likely to feel right at home with such cultural diversity in the United States. There is also incredible climate diversity in the US – with something for everyone – and a growing number of South African communities are popping up in places like Florida, Georgia and southern California. Farmers are particularly drawn to the US because of an abundance of farmland available at reasonable costs. International buyers actually own more than 25 million acres of American farmland.

South Africans are also moving in search of better opportunities for their next generation. The US is world-renowned for the best universities and colleges, with access to opportunities, technologies, and companies not possible elsewhere.  Furthermore, a stable, growing economy is exceptionally attractive to South Africans and with an unemployment rate of only 4.0%, the US is still the land of golden opportunity. Here, it’s possible for anyone who works hard to build a good life for their family. When it comes to wealth preservation, the US dollar is one of the most sought-after currencies in the world, which can be extremely beneficial in saving for a decent retirement.


How to immigrate to the USA from South Africa

The number of South Africans moving to the USA has risen in the past few years, and it is estimated that around 70 South Africans leave for the US weekly. How are they getting in? Around 40% on visas given to South Africans who are relatives of US citizens, 29% getting in on employment-based visas and 9% through the diversity visa program, aka the green card lottery.


Immigration to the USA from South Africa: the requirements

Immigrant visas to the United States must be processed in the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg.


What do you need to immigrate to the USA?

  • You’ll need sponsorship from a US citizen or lawful permanent resident immediate relative, or prospective US employer; as well as an approved petition before applying for an immigrant visa.
  • Your sponsor will need to initiate the process by filing a petition on your behalf with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 
  • Take a look at the Directory of Visa Categories to learn about the different types of immigrant visas to the United States, including their Diversity Visa Program.
  • You’ll then simply follow the steps on applying for either the Immigrant Visa Process or on the Diversity Visa Process – depending on your choice.
  • Once USCIS has approved your petition and you have completed pre-processing with the National Visa Center (NVC), or if you have been selected in the Diversity Visa Lottery and completed processing with the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC), you will be sent instructions as to your next steps.

Here are the possible immigrant visas for South Africans:

If you’ve got your heart set on immigrating to the USA from South Africa, we’ve put together some essential reading for you:


FinGlobal: Financial emigration experts

While we can’t help you decide which US city is the best choice for you and your family, we can help you make the best choices with your cross border financial requirements. We’re ready to offer practical, tailored advice on aspects of your financial future, including financial emigration, retirement annuity withdrawal, tax clearance, exiting the South African tax system and foreign exchange.


Why choose to partner with FinGlobal?

We provide a full suite of financial services to thousands of clients across the world. Choosing to work with us means you’re assured optimal payouts within a shorter period than other providers, and better exchange rates than commercial banks.

You’ll also get:

  • Peace of mind: everything we do is SARS and SARB compliant because we’re a licensed FSP and SARB approved foreign exchange intermediary.
  • Extensive expertise: our team includes certified international financial planners, lawyers, chartered accountants, tax specialists and bankers providing expertise in all areas of cross-border finance.
  • Hassle-free convenience: we take care of everything for you, rendering our services remotely and delivering signature-ready completed documentation for your approval.
  • Great value and transparent costs: we offer highly-competitive exchange rates and expert advice, plus you’ll always know what fees you’re in for, upfront.
  • Efficiency: we boast a 100% success rate and we’ve got the client testimonials to back it up.

Planning a move to immigrate to the USA from South Africa? Let’s get started with your financial future today!


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