Old

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Old last won the day on November 7 2016

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  1. Well I hesitated to post this, because I realise that what I am going through is probably "normal", but I find this so much tougher than I expected. To explain - we are in the process of an employment sponsored green card and things are moving along, although it is a slow process. I was so certain when we started this, but the doubts have been keeping me awake at night recently (what the heck am I doing!). Perhaps my biggest concern is that I am turning 50 this year and the thought of having a mortgage again and then not having that much time to build something up for retirement is pretty scary. Then there is all the anticipated stress of trying to juggle things in SA while trying to build a new life in the USA (I do not intend to officially emigrate at this stage). Added to this is the fact that I am not unhappy in SA (at the moment) and am fortunate to live in what I consider a beautiful area. Also leaving behind my aged parents (and having to consider the implications of emigration on an inheritance). I am not blind to all the problems in SA, but I just don't know if the sacrifices to get to the USA will be worth it. My wife remains 100% certain we should push on and that of course is causing friction. She is a SA permanent resident who came to South Africa 25 years ago, so perhaps she does not have such an emotional bond with the country and she has lived through emigration once before. But it also complicates things as she will lose her residency after 3 years out of SA and thus making it harder to return if things don't work out. Then there is my daughter who turns 7 this year (hey, I only got married at 38). I know she will probably find it the easiest of us, but I still worry about taking her away from where she is happy now. For all of you who have gone through this process - you have guts! Thanks for reading through this long post - any words of encouragement?
  2. Thanks for your replies. I assume it would also be better to deal with the bigger banks when it comes to large international transfers - BoA, Chase, Wells Fargo? other suggestions?
  3. Has anyone had hassles transferring larger amounts of money to their US bank account? I am asking because of this quote from a website called Tax for Expats: FinCEN Form 104: This form is known as a Currency Transaction Report, and it should actually be filed by your bank if your account receives a transfer exceeding $10K. If you’re expecting a large transfer from a foreign account from abroad, take the time to notify your bank of the nature of the transaction so that it’s not reported as ‘suspicious activity.’ Did you notify your US bank before the transfer as advised here?
  4. Just have a question about filling form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets). I have 2 RA's in South Africa which I will declare, but in SA interest and dividend income within the funds are not taxable (similar to 401K's I believe). In fact I do not even receive a report on what the interest and dividend income is. So do I need to ask for this information and declare any interest and dividends in these funds on form 8938?
  5. Yes, but to obtain a new passport after age 16, an identity document is needed.
  6. Just wondering if anyone has applied for a SA ID book/smart card while in the US, particularly for kids turning 16. This is on the consulate website: Persons applying for their South African ID book for the first time must submit applications through the nearest Department of Home Affairs in South Africa. South African Embassies and Consulates can only process applications for re-issuance. So does that mean having to travel back to SA to apply for ID for your kids when they turn 16?
  7. H1b is essentially a work permit valid for 3 years, can be extended for 3 years. No guarantee of ever getting green card. Would the employer be willing to consider this: An EB3 Green Card is an employment based, third preference visa that provides lawful permanent residence in the US to professionals, skilled workers and unskilled workers with a permanent offer of employment in the US
  8. Just a question for those of you with children in school - one always hears about the bad things (bullies, drugs etc), but what have your experiences been regarding quality of schooling (public/private), problems encountered, differences to SA schools etc. My little girl will likely have to start in the US in grade 1 and I am somewhat apprehensive as she has been lucky in SA to be able to attend an excellent private school.
  9. To anyone contemplating return to SA - if you have been away for a while, the SA you remember may be very different from what you will find. Please don't forget about the crime, that SA is the rape capital of the world, the hijack capital of the world, the (violent) public protest capital of the world, the farm murder capital of the world, the BEE and AA legislation that will likely discriminate against you, laws such as expropriation of property without compensation, high inflation, high taxes with little in return (no SS, Medicare, Medicaid), a weak currency, universities that are rapidly changing and where you will be unlikely to want to send your children, where private school is almost mandatory (if you can afford it) etc. All I am saying is, please think very carefully and return if you wish, but do not be under an illusion of what you will find.
  10. I understand that after 5 years of permanent residencey one can apply for citizenship. It seems that children under the age of 18 then automatically become citizens as well: "You may already be a U.S. citizen and not need to apply for naturalization if your biological or adoptive parent(s) became a U.S. citizen before you reached the age of 18." - quote from USCIS website. Anybody with personal experience of this? Also anyone had trouble extending permanent residency after the 10 year period?
  11. Thank you for the positive messages and encouragement. Reading on these forums it seems there are those who are really happy in the US and also those who are not. I guess each person's circumstances will differ. We will be going to Washington State, probably one of the smaller towns south of Seattle where it is more affordable. Anyone living in that area and if so any comments? I have visited there twice and it was definitely cold and raining!
  12. At age 48 I am contemplating a move to the USA. This will be an employment sponsored green card. We actually went through this same process 5 years ago and ended up not going (that is another story). However, now that I have another opportunity and my little girl is 6 years old, we must face this decision. It seems much harder the older I get and I will likely be 50 by the time we arrive. I understand we will likely be taking a step back, but I am willing to do that for my daughter if need be. Does anyone here have advise/words of wisdom re taking the plunge at my age and also the effect it may have on my daughter? What are your experiences with kids adapting?
  13. SJ27, do you still have your Standard Bank Isle of Man accounts? They were pretty clear that they will close my accounts. And yes you are right about ABSA not being FICA compliant - Superkruz may have a problem when ABSA asks him to re-FICA (which they are now doing every few years it seems), unless he can still provide proof of a South African address.
  14. JumpingJasonFlash, are you filing yourself or have someone in SA helping you? Does the tax treaty with the US mean that there is no tax payable in SA? Do you have to submit proof of taxes paid in the US? Do you just declare all your US income and show that you paid tax on it in the US? Do you also submit provisional returns or just annually? Sorry for all the questions, but understanding this is stressing me out somewhat
  15. Thanks for that - looks like one has to continue submitting returns. Anyone in the US actually doing this and any difficulties with double taxation etc?