Things you should know before you immigrate to South Africa

Moving to South Africa: Things you should know before you immigrate to South Africa

With majestic wildlife, vibrant culture, and sunny beaches, South Africa is like a heavenly paradise. When you decide to move to South Africa, every single one of your friends will come out and visit you within no-time. Right, who doesn’t want to have a reason to go on an adventure? Join us when we explore all the essential things you need to know about immigration to South Africa.

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South Africa is home to people with different religions, cultural backgrounds and who speak many different languages. For centuries South Africa has been home to millions of immigrants and you feel that every day in the lively culture of South Africa. Many are drawn to this eclectic mix of cultures, which is unrivaled in the world. So, when you also want to enjoy all the magnificence that South Africa has to offer, why not consider moving to South Africa from the USA? Book your plane tickets and let Eurosender take care of your shipping.

When you are relocating from the USA to South Africa, you want to be sure that you have your facts straight. In the table below you will find all the essential info about the Republic of South Africa.

CapitalThere are 3 capitals in South Africa: Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town. However, the biggest city is Johannesburg with a little under 1 million inhabitants.
TimezoneSouth Africa has one time zone: UTC+2
CurrencySouth African Rand (ZAR)
PopulationSouth Africa has a growing population of more than 57 million inhabitants.
How do you call someone from South Africa?South African
Official languageIn South Africa, there are 11 official languages with English and Afrikaans being the most common. Besides that, there are 8 recognized regional languages including Dutch and Portuguese.
International dialing code+27
Emergency number10111 or 112 when you call from a cell phone
DrivingIn South Africa, they drive on the left side of the road.
TippingUsually people 10-15% with satisfactory or good service.
Unusual factSouth Africa is Africa’s largest meat producer.

When you want to have the best deal for your international removals South to Africa, all you have to do is contact Eurosender. We will find you the best and cheapest way to transport your belongings to your new life in South Africa.

Eurosender also offers storage facilities at convenient prices. Another service often used for removal is our dedicated van delivery. With this option we reserve an entire van for you alone, to transport all your items at once. You can contact our team of logistics experts, in 15 languages, by phone and email. We have already helped thousands of people relocate with ease and comfort.

Living in South Africa

There are most likely many things that will take some getting used when you move to South Africa. To get you started we compiled a short list of things that were noticed by people who decided to make the move before you.

  • Although English is spoken by most people in the bigger cities, it is only the fourth spoken language in the country. When you move out of the urban areas many people will speak different languages with most of them also knowing Afrikaans, a variant of old Dutch.
  • With widespread poverty, it is advisable to avoid any display of wealth.
  • Pay attention when using public transport as this often a place where much crime occurs.
  • In rural areas navigation might not work or be incorrect.
  • Tap water in the big cities is drinkable. In the countryside, it is better to use bottled water.

Visa Regulations for South Africa

Citizens from many countries can visit South Africa visa-free for 30 or 90 days. These countries include the USA, Canada, Australia, all countries from within the EU and many countries in South America. When your country doesn’t have a visa-free regime with South Africa, you can apply for a visa at the local South African Embassy.
When you want to stay for a longer period and maybe also want to work, you need to apply for a residence permit no matter where you from. These visas are granted for different reasons such as work, study. marriage to a South African citizen etc. The requirements vary for each permit. So, get in touch with your local South African embassy and check out for which visa you can apply and which documents you need.



Healthcare in South Africa

In South Africa, you can find both public and private healthcare. Public healthcare is accessible for everyone but has shortages of funding and material. Approximately a fifth of the population can afford private healthcare. With private healthcare, you can expect better quality and shorter waiting lists.
Always contact your doctor when you visit South Africa to check which vaccinations you need.

School and education

The public school system in South Africa looks as described in the table beneath. Public school is free for everyone, though many school lack funds and material for proper education. Most expats choose to put their children on private international schools, which are up to international standards.

Primary school1-9yes
Secondary school10-12NO

After finishing secondary school, you can go on to study at a public or private university. There are few scholarships available in South Africa and university education is not free.

The job market in South Africa

There is a high unemployment rate in South Africa. Therefore companies usually fill their positions with local employees. However, when you have the skills that are in demand, companies will be eager to assist you with the paperwork. Positions can be found in the field of agriculture, medicine, finance, and engineering.

Property information

It is possible to rent living space in many different price classes in South Africa. There is something available for every budget. There are some things you have to pay attention to though.

  • You can find many apartments without the help of a real estate agent. Just make sure that you understand the rental agreement when signing.
  • You might be asked about proof of income.
  • Rental agreements are usually signed for a period of 12 months, though in some cases it could be shorter.
  • Most spaces come with an outdoor barbeque area, which is called a “braai” in South African.
  • Living space is usually quite spacious and there is often a pool on the territory.

Cost of moving to South Africa

The cost of moving house South Africa depends on several factors. The number of things that you want to ship to your new accommodation, the pick-up and delivery address and the time frame of the delivery. So when you are struggling to understand: How much is shipping from the USA to South Africa? Just contact Eurosender and we will make sure that you use the cheapest way to move furniture to South Africa. With our clever team of logistics specialist and our network of famous logistics companies, we are sure that you will pay less than the average moving costs South Africa at any other company.

Cost of living in South Africa

The cost of living in South Africa is lower than in most European and North American countries. However, you have to keep in mind that local salaries are also much lower. The cities Cape Town and Johannesburg are by far the most expensive. When you are on a budget and you have the possibility to choose, go for Pretoria or Durban where life is more affordable.

Driving in South Africa

You can go and rent a car with any driving license written in English. When your license is in another language, you will need an International Driving Permit. Make inquiries about renting a car before you travel as the requirements for car rental may vary per company. Here are some other things that are good to know about driving in South Africa.

  • Roads in South Africa are mostly in good condition. Most highways are tollways, which makes that they are well maintained. When you enter a toll road, you pay by a card or in cash.
  • In South African slang, traffic lights are often called “robots”.
  • There is no self-service at gas stations in South Africa. Pump attendants will fill up your tank and it is common to give ZAR5 or more as a tip.
  • Make sure your car has air conditioning. In urban areas, you will have to keep your windows closed at all times because there is a risk of a mugging when waiting for a traffic light.

See the most popular destination from where you can move


When you really want to change something in your life, how about moving to South Africa from Canada? With a pleasant climate and the relaxed way of life, you can be sure that your world will change 180 degrees. More and more Canadians are coming to South Africa for the nice temperatures and amazing wildlife. So when you are also thinking of leaving the cold behind, contact Eurosender to help you get your household across the ocean.



Other destinations?

Disclaimer: The materials provided in this article were collected from other credible resources to be used for general information purposes only. Given that the legislative basis of the country and its economic development have a changing nature, the information provided in the article could be subject to change. Whilst we endeavour to keep the information up-to-date and correct, Eurosender will not be liable for any inappropriate, incomplete, or inaccurate information. Certain links will lead to websites which are not under control of Eurosender. Thus, Eurosender accepts no liability in respect of materials, products or services being not under control of Eurosender.