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SJ272

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Everything posted by SJ272

  1. So nice to have another direct to CPT option from overseas. We'll probably replace our current SFO-CPT route to go via NY than LHR when this takes effect, assuming prices are reasonable vs the BA route.
  2. SJ272

    DV-2019

    Sure, but it’s the people whose dogs are being attacked that are the ones reporting the aggressor - it’s not up to them to get help for that dog’s behavioral issues, it’s up to the owner. People do feel they have the right to walk their own dogs without being attacked, and of course it increases the possibility of a human being bitten if you’re trying to protect your dog. This is a different situation to shaun’s “Don’t pat my dog” scenario. I have seen some people walking their dogs with a muzzle. 99% of the time everything is fine, but it’s the 1% that’s the problem. Hope you get everything sorted out with your doggie. Despite all the warnings above, the US is generally very dog friendly.
  3. SJ272

    DV-2019

    This could be a problem too depending where you are. I know where we live, dogs that are aggressive to other dogs have been reported to animal control for checks too. Fencing ...very home dependent. For example in our town, most houses don’t have real fences or walls in front (other than for privacy on main roads) but just about all have their backyards fenced in for dogs. The flip side of all the above is that the US is very dog friendly in other ways, for example, many hotels allow dogs for an extra fee, the dog run parks etc.
  4. SJ272

    DV-2019

    [at]FranetteMthis might help https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/states-where-your-dog-might-banned.html/ interestingly some states have bans on some breeds and other states actually don’t allow bans on dog breeds. bear in mind that the US is generally much more “in control” when it comes to dogs - check your state laws - in the event that your dog bites someone, it may have to be reported to the police and/or animal control, who may take it away and euthanize it depending on the circumstances. (Any dog, not just pit bulls). Happened to friends of ours who ended up with a rogue Labrador - yes, a Lab - that bit a kid in the face bad enough for stitches.
  5. SJ272

    DV-2019

    ^ the service Oscar is talking about is called usps informed delivery. It’s great, especially when you are waiting for stuff. There is no expiry by the way Oscar. And yes,most people get amazon etc left on their front porch, no walls etc around the houses! sometimes problems around Christmas time when people come looking to steal stuff as they know high value items arriving. The level of safety & comfort vs SA takes a while to get used to. Can you imagine in SA if SARS sent refund cheques in the post with the envelope labeled what they are.... but that happens here. Credit cards too. Etc. Mail system is mostly fast and overwhelmingly trustworthy. *btw I know hardly anyone uses cheques in SA anymore but they are different here. A check is effectively a one time debit order. You can deposit it by taking a photo on your banking app on your phone. Physical copies don’t need to go back to the bank.
  6. SJ272

    Notes to maximise your credit score

    We found the anxiety over credit scores a little overblown tbh. 2 credit cards each (paid down at least 80% every month but more usually paid in full, creditkarma helps you keep track of how your balances affect your score) and a car loan with both our names on it, and we had scores around the mid 700s within a year or 18 months, I don’t recall exactly but not longer than that. It’s not the top score, but it’s good enough for anything you need.
  7. SJ272

    Notes to maximise your credit score

    Creditkarma is quite a helpful site too.
  8. SJ272

    Follow Our Story As We Settle In The Usa

    Congratulations [at]stana!
  9. SJ272

    DV-2019

    [at]Kallas, in addition to britsimon’s advice, I’d suggest sending an email to notify KCC that you’ll be adding the baby so that they have a heads up. IN case they schedule you before you get the update done they will be able to let the consulate know (once you are scheduled you won’t be able to update the DS260).
  10. SJ272

    DV-2019

    1. SSN should (should) automatically arrive within 2 weeks after you land. Sometimes it doesn’t and you need to go into a SSA office. You may be able to get your number before your card arrives by going in - seems some offices do, some don’t. 2. You technically don’t need a SSN to open a bank account but it’s easier if you have one. Capital One are good for secured credit cards for new immigrants. 3. If you rent through an agency they might want a credit record. A private landlord will probably be more flexible. Absent a credit record, be prepared to put down a few months’ deposit or show a bank account with a few months’ rent in it. 4. Book for the tests as soon as you land. How long you have before you need it is state dependent, but better to get as soon as possible. Waiting times vary. (People here complain about the DMV a lot but compared to most traffic departments in SA it’s a breeze.) by the time you go in for the test you will need your SSN. Your stamped immigrant visa = temporary green card will be needed too if your plastci card hasn’t arrived yet. You will need proof of residence to take in too (varies by state, check local dmv website, and note the website dmv.org is not official , you need dmv dot state abbreviation usually) 5. This just builds up over time. You will probably have no score for 4-6 months as there won’t be enough history. 6. F350 rotfl. One parked next to me at the supermarket the other day. My car looked like a dinky toy next to it! 7. Phone and cable, utilities, school registration if you have kids. be aware Hawaii is wonderful but it’s also expensive and quite isolated from the rest of the US. I found it like a curious mix of the US and a bit of a third world feeling (but just a bit). Depending where you end up it can take quite a while to get to say a hospital or something, maybe watch some episodes of house hunters set there that give an idea of the pros and cons of lifestyle. One of my best friend’s family comes from Hawaii... all the younger generation left to the mainland. Hawaii and Texas are very, very different in almost every way I can think of. Spending some time in different places to try get a feel is probably a good thing.
  11. SJ272

    SA passport expiry to enter SA?

    Does anyone know if a minimum passport validity applies to SA passport holders entering SA? Or is it ok as long as it’s unexpired? (I do know we would need to check transit requirements too)
  12. SJ272

    DV-2019

    Hi Heidi - the graph kind of has a structural break in the year that Nigeria became ineligible (I don’t recall exactly when that was, maybe 5 years ago?) but that kind of halved the number of African selectees and had a big downward adjustment on the maximum case numbers too. So you can’t really compare like for like on the before and after. (It would have an effect on the gradient too because Nigeria was notorious for fraudulent entries, so they’d need more case numbers interviewing per successful visa.) re medical insurance - even for a saffer it is a minefield - it depends on state but also if it is private or via employer, for example when we first arrived and we had no jobs we paid around $1700 a month for what is called a silver PPO for a family of 4, we now have pretty much the same plan via my husband’s work and it is around $450 a month!! Huge difference. Also here you pay separately for dental and optical plans. Hawaii is a popular entry spot for Australian DV selectees, sounds like it’s usually an easy entry. And of course it’s gorgeous. If you enter any time in 2019 you will submit a 2019 tax return, by April 2020 (tax day is usually 15 April). And shamus - yes, as woekes says, it’s random. Your probability of being selected resets each year and for a SA entrant depends on the total number of entrants and what % of entrants are being selected for Africa.
  13. SJ272

    SA passport expiry to enter SA?

    Thanks, Malamute!
  14. SJ272

    European Visa for US Passport holders from 2021

    Oh, apparently that site that Oscar linked to that looks official (I thought it was) isn’t, and the EU has clarified that it is indeed a travel authorization not a visa - this article specifically calls out that company for the misleading info. https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Americans-must-soon-register-but-not-get-visas-13675945.php
  15. SJ272

    European Visa for US Passport holders from 2021

    From what I understand it’s not really a visa as such even though that’s what they call it. It’s an advance travel authorization, like we (green card holders) have to do to fly to Canada now or like Europeans and other VWP nationals have to do ESTA to visit US. Its going to be required for Australia, NZ, Canada etc too by the way.
  16. I’m sure everyone here has the utmost compassion for all victims of violent crime, no matter their race. It’s one of the main reasons for emigration.
  17. Yup, highly misleading video if that’s the case. “As of July 2018, there were over 733,000 pending [asylum] immigration cases and the average wait time for an immigration hearing was 721 days.” https://immigrationforum.org/article/fact-sheet-u-s-asylum-process/ They have moved to a last-in-first-out type process for asylum hearings due to the upsurge in frivolous applications in the last couple of years, so their case will probably take somewhere less than average. Hopefully we’ll be kept updated on the outcome of this one - I can guess at what the basis for the asylum claim will be. As malamute says, many cases have been denied. The same source linked above notes just under 62% of asylum cases denied in FY2017.
  18. I haven’t looked at the video but asylum claims take months to years to adjudicate here, so it’s clearly BS if the claim was 2 days. So sad that our beautiful country manages to produce such hate-filled people amongst all the good ones.
  19. SJ272

    Possible Pregnant Wife - Dv Lottery 2017

    You can access /update the DS260 (by emailing KCC to ask them to “unlock” it) until you have an interview scheduled. If the baby is born too late for that, then yes just inform the interviewer (maybe call or email the consulate ahead of time to “warn” them, it can’t hurt). Be sure to apply for a long-form birth certificate and passport as soon as the baby is born. Sounds like you have a very exciting year ahead of you
  20. SJ272

    Passport Renewal

    Glad to hear it’s on the way, Oscar. One thing I will rant about is an unexpected closure of the consulate - when they decided to take an entire week off rather than just the 2 public holidays in that week, with no notice on the website or anywhere else. Likely cost Oscar a week of his wait. Cost us the chance to get it all done at the consulate rather than getting fingerprints, notarized statements etc elsewhere. (And yes I did email to ask /check they’d be open, 3 times to 3 different email addresses within the consulate, with no response from any of them. Security guards in the building told us a number of others had also had to be turned away.)
  21. SJ272

    Retention of SA citizenship

    For those of you that filed these forms in the US, especially if by mail - how long did the process take? Do you get confirmation that the form has been processed? Any issues in the process? we’re probably going to be back in SA during the summer and I’m wondering if it’s worth spending an hour or 5 in a local home affairs office and doing it in person rather. Any thoughts on this?
  22. SJ272

    Retention of SA citizenship

    Here’s a KPMG article on it that describes it properly. https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/insights/2018/01/flash-alert-2018-020.html the main point to note is that it’s not blanket anyone who is a SA citizen and hasn’t financially emigrated as is implied by the one newspaper article - see “who will be affected” below. The background indicates that this is indeed part of the push to get tax from those people who are working in Dubai etc and not paying any tax in SA because of the physical presence exemption but who don’t have tax residence anywhere else either. Another article I read that wasn’t as detailed said that if you have tax residence elsewhere (home, family, assets, pay normal tax there etc) this doesn’t affect you, it is aimed at SA tax residents abroad on employment contracts. Who Will Be Affected? The new cap will mainly affect South African tax residents working abroad; either as self-sponsored individuals who take a job opportunity in a foreign jurisdiction, or as employer-sponsored assignees that may or may not be tax protected/equalised. Background South African tax residents are taxed on their worldwide income through the residence-based system. While DTTs exist to prevent double taxation under certain circumstances, a specific provision in the South African tax legislation provides a pre-emptive exemption, i.e., an exemption that statutorily limits South Africa’s taxing rights based on a set of criteria. Many South African tax residents work abroad for a period during their working lives. Section 10(1)(o)(ii) of the Income Tax Act, No. 58 of 1962 (ITA) exempts employment income received by a South African tax resident during any year of assessment for services rendered outside South Africa for or on behalf of any employer, if that individual was outside South Africa for: a period or periods exceeding 183 full days in aggregateduring any 12-month period, and a continuous period exceeding 60 full days during that 12-month period. The exemption is only available to employees of private-sector companies. According to National Treasury, the exemption of foreign employment income from the South African tax net appears excessively generous, particularly in instances where the individual worked in a foreign country with a low or zero personal income tax rate.
  23. SJ272

    DV-2019

    The sending things to kcc is new this year. I’d suggest you send the other documents with a note that you’re still waiting for the PCC and send it along when it arrives.
  24. SJ272

    Retention of SA citizenship

    SARS definitions - http://www.sars.gov.za/ClientSegments/Individuals/Tax-Stages/Tax-and-Non-Residents/Pages/default.aspx According to this I still don’t see how an expat actually living abroad is subject to the above. Is the above perhaps some kind of crackdown on people who are living in SA but have somehow got themselves classified as non resident for tax purposes? Or linked to previous talk about getting people working in tax free locations? Details in the text and the last paragraph especially 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. Avoiding double taxation Since tax systems differ from country to country, there is a chance that a particular amount could be taxed twice. This possibility of double taxation is, however, often alleviated by tax relief contained in various Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs). These DTAs are international agreements contracted between countries to deal with potential competing taxing rights against the income of the same taxpayer. DTAs are important for encouraging investment and trade flow between nations. South Africa has DTAs with a number of other countries with a view to, amongst other things; preventing double taxation of income accruing to South African taxpayers from foreign sources, or of income accruing to foreign taxpayers from South African sources. Top Tip: Do you need to apply for a directive for the relief from South African tax on pension and annuity income or want a refund of tax that was withheld, click here for more information. Why do we need to know whether an individual is a non-resident? 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 situated in South Africa). A distinction therefore needs to be made between a resident and a non-resident for tax purposes. In addition, certain tax exemptions are afforded to residents and non-residents. For example, any amount of interest received by or accruing to a non-resident will be exempt from tax in South Africa, provided certain criteria have been met. Who is regarded as a non-resident? Let’s start by defining what we mean by "resident". Understanding that, you will know whether you meet the criteria or not and thus whether you can be regarded as a resident or a non-resident. Under South African law there are different types of residents, for example a resident defined by the Income Tax Act, 1962 in terms of the so-called "physical presence test" and an ordinary resident defined in terms of South African common law. Any individual who is ordinarily resident (common law concept) in South Africa during the year of assessment or, failing which, meets all three requirements of the physical presence test, will be regarded as a resident for tax purposes. An individual will be considered to be ordinarily resident in South Africa, if South Africa is the country to which that individual will naturally and as a matter of course return after his or her wanderings. It could be described as that individual's usual or principal residence, or his or her real home. If an individual is not ordinarily resident in South Africa, he or she may still meet the requirements of the physical presencetest and will be deemed to be a resident for tax purposes. To meet the requirements of the physical presence test, that individual must be physically present in South Africa for a period or periods exceeding – 91 days in total during the year of assessment under consideration; 91 days in total during each of the five years of assessment preceding the year of assessment under consideration; and 915 days in total during those five preceding years of assessment. An individual who fails to meet any one of these three requirements will not satisfy the physical presence test. In addition, any individual who meets the physical presence test, but is outside South Africa for a continuous period of at least 330 full days, will not be regarded as a resident from the day on which that individual ceased to be physically present. If the individual is neither ordinarily resident, nor meets the requirements of the physical presence test, that individual will be regarded as a non-resident for tax purposes. This means that individual will be subject to tax only on income that has its source in South Africa, for example, interest earned from a South African Bank; rental income earned from a property in South Africa; and services rendered in South Africa.
  25. SJ272

    Retention of SA citizenship

    I don’t understand why this is an issue for expats, can someone clarify? The article says “...South African tax residents abroad...” people living elsewhere are generally not tax resident. The article is not clear at all on the exact requirements. It talks about South Africans “working abroad” (not living abroad). Does anyone have a link to the SARS directive /publication on this?
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