Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Malamute last won the day on July 19

Malamute had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

114 Excellent

1 Follower

About Malamute

  • Rank
    Certified Addict!
  • Birthday 12/10/1963

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Denver, CO
  • First Name
  • Landed
    Dec 2008
  • SA Location
  • Language

Recent Profile Visitors

1,276 profile views
  1. Hello Eliab You will find this forum is not nearly as active as it used to be - I think many have moved on to social media platforms like Facebook pages for South Africans etc. However, there are still a few posts now and again here. Sorry to hear about the tough times you have been through. The job market in the USA is pretty good right now - although it always depends on what you are looking for and where etc. So, if you are not too picky, there are certainly abundant opportunities. Most important is probably your ability/status to work - i.e. did you get citizenship before you left to go back to SA? If you did, then you can pretty much move anywhere (and maybe try somewhere new this time - the States is a vast place full of great places to live). If you didn't - be aware that you may likely have lost your permanent residency if you moved permanently back to SA a couple of years back - and therefore moving back to the USA would indeed be starting from scratch with some sort of sponsorship visa etc. Hopefully that is not the case. All the best in what you decide - there isn't a 'right' decision, only what is 'right for you' decision.
  2. Hi Oscar I was also with Nedbank, and they are pretty sticky about the whole FICA thing etc. I started this late last year, and it took about 5 months in total. Yes, you can cash it all out - but only by doing financial emigration. I ended up using a company called Rand Rescue - and paid their fees, because I didn't want to try and deal with it all myself - it is quite a process! I can recommend them - the process was fairly painless, when you take into consideration dealing with SA banks, SA Reserve Bank, SARS and Old Mutual. Also, a friend was doing the same thing at the same time, and had to complete some SARS tax returns for some arbitrary years....that is quite common, it seems, but I didn't have to. I also still had an active SARS tax number. If you don't have one, they will re-register you with SARS. (you can deregister again after the whole process is complete and you have done the final return). Basically, they opened a Mercantile Bank account for me (blocked account), and Mercantile did my financial emigration - a ton of paperwork with the reserve bank. I had to obtain a certificate of residence from the IRS this side as part of that process (that proved not too hard to get, but in itself took about a month). Mercantile was then able to submit paperwork to Old Mutual to cash out my policies with them (RA's) - as they could only be cashed out due to emigration - this is because of the laws related to the Pension Funds Act - or some such - in SA. Your bank in SA has to do this and give the instruction to the company holding the policy - it isn't something you can do. They also had to get tax directives from SARS before the money could be cashed out, which stipulated how much tax was to be paid - this was deducted by Old Mutual and then the nett amount was paid into the Mercantile account. At that point, they were able to transfer the money to me in the USA. As for the SARS tax - the first R25 000 you cashout is tax free, and then the rate is 18% on the amount up to R660 000 - at least that is the current tax table.
  3. Hi Oscar, I'm not an expert, but had similar situation (investment in a RA that I continued paying etc after I moved to the USA). For the USA: 1. IRS - if the value exceeds $100k (if you are married, filing jointly) or $50k (married filing separate/single), then you need to submit a form 8938 with your tax return each year. It sounds like this will not be the case with you. 2. FINCEN - Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (i.e. anti money-laundering) requires you to file an FBAR each and every year you have control of assets outside of the USA which exceed $10k. Sounds like this will be the case with you. For SA: 1. This is going to depend on whether it is just money invested, or whether you are drawing it as an income. If the rules of the policy state that they MUST now convert it to an RA - this usually means that you can cash out 1/3 in a lump sum - with up to R500k being tax free, (although on $160k, the tax free lumb sum will only be a bit north of R53k) while the rest must be now used to purchase an annuity, which gives you a monthly income for life. You cannot now, or in the future, cash that out, once you have purchased the annuity - it remains in place for life, whether or not you have financially emigrated, or what citizenship you hold. The 1/3 can be cashed out only into a South African resident bank account (and you will have to access it from there including abiding with reserve bank rulings). Likewise, the annuity can only be paid out - this will be monthly income - into a South African resident bank account. If you don't have one of those (and you would have to FICA to get one), you may have to do it as a non-resident. 2. For a non-resident bank account, you will first have to do financial emigration which is handled by a bank in SA. For this, I had to get a letter from the IRS stating that as far as they know, I am resident in the USA for tax purposes. Once you have financially emigrated, you can either keep the non resident bank account open, and have the funds paid into that (and use it on return trips to SA, for example, or have it sent to you in the USA - which involves bank fees each time). 3. The money remains SA source income, and is subject to SARS tax, but you would still have to declare this annuity income on your IRS tax return each year, AND claim the foreign income tax credit (due to tax treaty with SA). To be honest, in the long term, it will be such a pain to keep going with the investment (which is not that big) - with all the filings you will have to do each year, that you may want to bite the tax bullet now - and cash it out, and bring the funds over to the USA. I did this earlier this year - financial emigration, paid the tax in SA, brought the funds over to the USA etc. I will have to file one more SARS return, and one more FBAR next year, as this year I did still have control of $10k+ in a foreign country (SA), but after that, the extra paperwork is done. A final note: I actually did the calculation: Had I cashed my funds out in 2007, when I left SA, I would actually have got MORE $ for it, than I did cashing it out in 2019, despite the fact that there had been good growth in the interim (in ZAR), AND I had been still paying a premium into one policy for these 12 years)! So, for me, keeping an investment in SA while doing lots of extra paperwork, was not worth it.
  4. Malamute


    On Point number 2: No, I did not have a derivative in the situation that you describe, but it seems that your sister will not be eligible for a derivative visa. USCIS has a very specific formula for calculating the age in the case of DV derivative in this situation - you can read the details of how they calculate this in Chapter 7 of the policy manual - scroll down to section F - where they show how it is calculated for DV derivatives. Basically, they take the age your sister is on the first day of the month in which a visa is available - e.g. 01 September 2019, when your father's number is current. In your sister's case, that would be about 22 years and 11 months based on what you describe. Too old for a derivative visa - so that is when the CSAP kicks in - where they look at giving her 'credit' for the number of days the application was pending prior to when a visa was available. For DV derivatives, this 'credit' is based on the time from the DV entry period (October 2017) until the date of the notification of selection (May 2018) - i.e. about 7 months. They will then deduct those 7 months from your sister's actual age on the date (01 Sep 2019) that a visa is available. If she is 22 years and 11 months on that date (my assumption), then her CSAP age for visa purposes is that age MINUS 7 months - i.e. 22 years and 4 months. That is still too old for a derivative - as the CSAP age needs to be under 21 years. In any case, she should remain unmarried - the wait for your parents to sponsor her in the future is much shorter for an unmarried child, than it is for a married hcild. https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-7-part-a-chapter-7 HOWEVER: While your parents may be hesitant to 'leave your sister behind' - this would only be temporary, and they CAN bring her over - just not initially. Once they have landed in the USA and validated their GC - i.e. they actually become permanent residents, they can petition to bring her over as the unmarried child of a permanent resident. According to the latest Visa bulletin, numbers in this category (F2B)are current for applications filed in June 2014 - so it is about a 5 year wait. They need to be prepared for this - i.e. leaving her behind, and waiting 5 or so years (while she remains unmarried) before she too can move to the USA. For them not to come over, means everyone stays behind in SA.
  5. Malamute


    At minimum wage - which is the lowest you may, by law, pay - you will still be paying around $10.87 an hour this year (you have to pay 1.45% of the minimum wage as the employer over to Medicare, and an additional 6.2% as social security tax) - but the minimum wage is rising to $15 per hour over the next couple of years, so that makes it $16.14 per hour.....and that is still minimum wage (farming is a LOT harder than other minimum wage jobs, so it will be a hard sell at that rate - you will likely have to offer a few $ above that to attract and retain any workers). Hawaii also has the lowest unemployment rate in the entire USA - companies really battle and compete to find workers - so the actual going wage is much higher than the minimum wage and many have to offer other benefits to have a chance of getting workers - e.g. paid time off, medical insurance etc. Even hourly Starbucks workers get that. I would double the wage calculation part of your equation at least, to be realistic. Workers are fickle for just 20c more an hour at that price point. Good luck with the nut farming.
  6. Malamute


    I have found that people really enjoy a different accent - and in all of my work environments, there has been not just acceptance of it, but appreciation. Diversity is highly valued in most US workforces - companies have a big focus on it. I once presented to a group along with some of my colleauges (who famously gave me an English>American dictionary as a joke gift), and said something like 'nought to 100' instead of 'zero to 100' - and I saw my colleagues crack up. I later asked them whether I should focus on using the US lingo - and they all said 'NO' - they all understood what I meant, and it was refreshing to hear things differently. That said, I have changed much of my vocab (post has become mail, queue has become line, lift has become elevator and so on) just because that is what you hear all around. Subtle changes to accent too - as SJ272 says, with the 'Rs'. Don't however, try and cultivate an American accent - it will come off as phony - and is totally unnecessary.
  7. I can give you my perspective/experience: 1. I did my interview in London - and my police clearance from SA was more than 6 months old, - in fact was more than a year old, and it was fine - I got it in about May 2007, but was gone from SA within a few months after that, and I used it at the consulate in London in September 2008. 2. As for you son, I would think it would be fine, as he was under 16 when he last resided in SA, despite the fact that it is his country of nationality. If, however, if you are applying for everyone else, it is probably easy enough to add him to the pile - but, to be honest, I wouldn't think you need it - e.g. I don't believe applicants in South Africa have got police clearances for their kids - after all, what is the cutoff then? 10 years old? 5 years of age?
  8. Malamute


    That IS a low number of South Africans drawn - lowest I've seen for at least a decade, (in 2014, there were over 1 000). Also a low number of people notified. The last time it was around 84k was 2017, then all numbers for Africa were current by the May, so you are definitely in with a pretty good chance, despite a fairly high number. Yes, I did two trips before the 'final' trip. 8 months in total between the first trip when I landed on the visa, and the 'final' landing, with the intermediate trip done at the 5 month mark.
  9. Malamute


    Congratulations, Kallas It can all start out to be quite daunting, and everyone seems to get VERY nervous about the interview (and there IS a lot at stake) - but for most people, like yourself, it is really almost anti-climactic, and so simple. People get themselves in knots about it, thinking it HAS to be more complicated, it HAS to be more difficult.....but it isn't. Key is being prepared with documentation, and the rest is really a breeze. Let the adventure begin!
  10. Malamute


    I do know that when I had my interview (which was the days before you sent the documents beforehand) - they were very specific about it being unabridged, and the machine printed one. I had, some years earlier, obtained an unabridged certificate, but it was filled in by hand by Home Affairs - and I had to get another - and now, of course, they are all machine printed. But yes, my understanding is that it must be the unabridged version. I would suggest applying for that asap - but keep your interview appointment, and take what you have. They could put you in administrative processing - i.e. approve everything, but not approve/issue the visa until that outstanding document is supplied. As your visa must be issued by 30 September, or you lose it, get the application in immediately. You could find that they are lenient and grant the visa on the basis of what you have, but unlikely....but you may be lucky.
  11. Malamute


    Congratulations, Oscar - and enjoy the change. I'm so glad I've moved around a bit in the States - I know of quite a few South Africans who moved to the States - and to a random city/state because that is where they got their first job etc, and just stayed there. Atlanta, the San Francisco Bay Area, and now Colorado have all been very different, and it is quite liberating to reinvent your life in a new place - it is for me, anyhow. New York is a great springboard to get anywhere in the world - including hopping on the direct flight to SA - especially now that United will be starting direct to Cape Town too.
  12. Malamute


    That number of DV visas for South Africa up to the end of April is actually quite high compared to prior years, but should still not cause any concern. From 01 Oct - end April = 7 of 12 months = 179 visas For DV2017, a total of 215 visas were issued in 12 of 12 months (i.e. by end September) For DV2016, a total of 182 visas were issued in 12 of 12 months (i.e. by end September) For DV2015, the total was 197, for DV2014, the total was 211 (despite the fact that over 1 000 South Africans were actually drawn that year). (These numbers are the total for those with South Africa as country of chargeability, so includes not only those visas issued in Johannesburg, but visas issued to South Africans at other posts, such as London, as well as those already in the USA on some other type of visa - i.e. non-immigrant, who did a change of status) Also, these are the total DV visas, both the primary and derivatives. So, if over a 1 000 people were drawn, and only 211 visas issued (includes visas issued to spouses and children of those drawn), it shows how few actually pursue it.
  13. Malamute


    Heidz - happy to share my timeline, as far as I remember: - May 2007 - sold my house in SA, got my UK visa (Highly Skilled visa at the time), and then received my DV 2008 notification (number was AF62XXX - so very similar to yours) - Sep 2007 - Moved to the UK (with dogs....they went to France, where I also stayed for a while - to get through quarantine etc) - Sep 2008 - Obtained the actual DV visa at the US consulate in London - Dec 2008 - Actually landed and validated that visa in the USA. 10 day trip, returned to UK (applied for Social Security card while in the USA, but actual plastic GC had not arrived) - May 2009 - Made a 5 day visit to the USA (The Visa, once stamped, is valid as a GC for one year, so that was my entry document). I did this trip so that I was not absent from the USA longer than 6 months - if you are, the 'clock' to the 5 year wait for citizenship resets. I had already resigned my job in the UK to move over to the USA, but had to work a 3 month notice period. - August 2009 - Arrived for good in the USA. I still did no have my plastic GC (Turns out later, it HAD arrived at my friend months earlier - but her husband had carefully filed it away for me in his office, neglecting to tell her.....). I still, therefore, entered on my visa. They questioned me about it, but no big deal, and let me through. - Oct 2013 - Applied for US citizenship (just less than 90 days before the 5 year initial arrival in the USA) - Jan 2014 - Naturalized as a citizen Agree with SJ272 - kids and dogs will settle. Although the logistics are more complex, it is much easier to feel at home quickly here in the USA if the whole family unit (including canines) are here together. You will be moving in various circles (schools, work etc, so will have multiple channels to build relationships). I moved on my own. It was fine - logistics much easier (My dogs both passed away before I moved full time to the USA - it WAS complex moving them from SA) - but when you are on your own, you only have yourself to rely on too - and the onus is on you soley to build friendships etc. (Bringing dogs into the USA is a breeze - no quarantine, and easy to meet health requirements). Depending on where you move to, finding a house with a fully enclosed yard for them, is a bit more challenging - especially if you are looking to rent - with dogs. (Americans like the open feel in neighborhoods) - but you certainly can find them. Enjoy the wine - and the braai!
  14. Malamute


    Congratulations... (I think...). I was selected in 2008 with a very high number, and I was already in the process of moving to the UK - so I did. My number became current - and only just with about 200 to spare - in the very last month, so I proceeded with the visa. However, I had settled very well into the UK, and was on the fence for quite a while before deciding to leave there and move to the USA. To be honest, still not sure I made the right decision, but I do feel the opportunities and outlook here have been excellent. I was in the UK for about 2 years before the actual move to the USA, so not long enough to get citizenship there, so no option of going back now. I presume you may have by now - so that will always be open to you. One of the things that made me really decide was how rare the opportunity to move - Green Card in hand - to the USA actually is, and clearly the universe was giving me a message. Perhaps, being drawn TWICE now - you are getting a message too! Good luck with it all, whatever eventually happens.
  15. Malamute


    Also, even 'though the email may contain only the first 5 images, you can follow the link in the email to your 'dashboard' - where you can see ALL the mail due - as well as select to view all packages due, and when previous packages arrived. It is a great service, and often think of how hopeless the SA postal service is in comparison. Also, it isn't linked to the hold of mail while you are away - also free of charge - so the Informed Delivery service can continue into perpetuity if you want.
  • Create New...