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First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Old May 14th 2012, 2:16 pm
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Default First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

My husband and I are moving to Pretoria (from London) this December (2012) to work with a charity. He's lived there before - but as a single guy (totally different scenario!) and I've not been before.

Could anyone advise us on a) shipping options and rough costs (we'd be shipping anything from a few boxes with the basics to essentially a small one-bed flat - no car) and b) other requirements for an extended visa permit for charitable organisations - eg medical requirements, time taken to process,

Also, it would be good to know how "easy" it is to buy a car and drive on a UK licence as well as renting v buying a property. We're looking in the Moreleta Park/Hatfield area.

And any other advice you'd care to give for first time Brits living in Pretoria! We don't have kids (yet) though anyone's maternity experiences would be welcomed.

Thanks!
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Old May 18th 2012, 10:29 am
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Hi Mrs G, some answers (hopefully) for you....

Shipping options - there are new members who have moved her more recently than me, but I moved a 3 bedroomed house with Robinsons and they charged me £4000. Expensive - but they packed and did everything. That was 5 years ago mind. It took 12 weeks door to door.

Medical certificates, police clearance etc are quick - make an appointment, turn up and collect once you have had the meeting. Mine were done on the same day.

Buying a car is difficult as you won't have a bank account or an ID - and you will need an international driving licence or get yours converted (there is a thread all about the joy of doing this). Typically, if you have a work permit for 2 years you will need to finance your car over the same period (or less). If you can get someone (an employer?) to stand surety then it's no problem.

Renting vs buying? Rent first - get to know the area. Hatfield is ok - you can try www.g.co.za as a place to look for property - they have all the different estate agents listed. The transfer duties and legal fees are high - to buy you can add another 8-10% of the value of the house in fees. Again, without residency it will be very hard to buy unless you have around 40% deposit - as it is, you won't get a mortgage for more than 90% currently, and the interest rate is around 10%

Any other advice? Learn a few words of Afrikaans if you are moving to Pretoria, and be prepared to drink beer and eat red meat!

Good luck, let me know if you have any specific questions.
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Old May 18th 2012, 10:45 am
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Hi MrsG,

Ed is spot on.

I will just say that you can drive on a UK licence for 12 months. After that you will need to get it swapped for a S.A. one which can be swapped back for a U.K. one if you go back to the UK. No driving tests will be needed.

Here's a link to have a good read.

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-...a/south-africa

Last edited by Alfresco; May 18th 2012 at 10:49 am.
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Old May 18th 2012, 10:48 am
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=659603

Here's the converting a licence thread.

I still don't have one.
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Old May 18th 2012, 4:58 pm
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Times have changed. I arrived in SA back in 1980, and sent in my UK licence with my application for an SA ID book. It arrived in three weeks, with my SA license. This was under the old system, when the license was part of the ID book, not a separate credit card one.

I got my UK license back some years later when I was going overseas, by telling Home Affairs I would have problems hiring a car in the UK on an SA one. This wasn't a problem, but the tannie who gave me back the old license reminded me to return it when I got back to SA. Somehow this slipped my mind.
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Old May 18th 2012, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Originally Posted by MartynK View Post
Times have changed. I arrived in SA back in 1980, and sent in my UK licence with my application for an SA ID book. It arrived in three weeks, with my SA license. This was under the old system, when the license was part of the ID book, not a separate credit card one.

I got my UK license back some years later when I was going overseas, by telling Home Affairs I would have problems hiring a car in the UK on an SA one. This wasn't a problem, but the tannie who gave me back the old license reminded me to return it when I got back to SA. Somehow this slipped my mind.
In SA, corruption is the new honesty.
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Old May 19th 2012, 5:24 am
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Originally Posted by Pablo View Post
In SA, corruption is the new honesty.
It's hardly new.
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Old May 21st 2012, 1:46 pm
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Thanks for all the advice. Driving licences look like a complete nightmare. Would it be worth getting an international driving licence first -would that negate the need for an SA one?

How do you get an ID? Is that part of the visa process? Do you know if the corruption is as bad at the embassy in London too?! Haven't been there yet...Has anyone got experience of dealing with them?

Thanks for options re: shipping. We'll start getting some quotes. £4k is a lot but we might just get there first and then arrange for everything to be shipped once we've found a place etc. I think renting is definitely the easier option. As we're part of an organisation, we won't be totally destitute!

Thanks again for the much needed advice.
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Old May 21st 2012, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Originally Posted by mrsginafrica View Post
Thanks for all the advice. Driving licences look like a complete nightmare. Would it be worth getting an international driving licence first -would that negate the need for an SA one?

How do you get an ID? Is that part of the visa process? Do you know if the corruption is as bad at the embassy in London too?! Haven't been there yet...Has anyone got experience of dealing with them?
Yes, get an international one - although it is only valid for a year. It costs a fiver from certain post offices (not all of them issue them - details on the post office website)

You can get an ID once you have residency - not before. Once you get a PR stamp in your passport, they will also issue a certificate - you need both. Take them to Home Affairs, fill out a couple of forms and you're good to go. Takes anything from 6 weeks to a year, depending on which office you use.

As a final piece of advice - get a load of passport photos done too. Some colour, some black and white. You will need them when dealing with most government agencies. They don't seem to stress about size and the usual UK laws around photos (for my bike licence I had to give them 2 - and used 2 different ones!). I actually keep half a dozen in my car as I know I will need them now and again. Also, get certified copies of your passport and any papers made too - you will need these as well. They can be done for free at any SA police station. Take the original and a few copies. Marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc etc... It will save hours of frustration having these to hand. Finally, when going to these offices remember there is almost always a fee - so check beforehand and take cash - more than you think you need because prices can change without warning - and you will need R5 to pay the car park guard while you enjoy your free parking!
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Old May 21st 2012, 2:08 pm
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Originally Posted by mrsginafrica View Post
Thanks for all the advice. Driving licences look like a complete nightmare. Would it be worth getting an international driving licence first -would that negate the need for an SA one?

How do you get an ID? Is that part of the visa process? Do you know if the corruption is as bad at the embassy in London too?! Haven't been there yet...Has anyone got experience of dealing with them?

Thanks for options re: shipping. We'll start getting some quotes. £4k is a lot but we might just get there first and then arrange for everything to be shipped once we've found a place etc. I think renting is definitely the easier option. As we're part of an organisation, we won't be totally destitute!

Thanks again for the much needed advice.
Agree with Ed. Note too that international driving licences are issued only in your home country, and as he says are valid for a limited period and cannot be renewed elsewhere.

As a temporary resident or visitor you can drive on a UK licence (unless, Ed, that has recently changed).

Once you become a Permanent Resident, you need to exchange your UK licence for a SA one (see Ed's frustrated posts passim on this).

The UK High Commission does not actually process visa applications, they are sent to SA for processing. So SA House in London is just the front end. The corruption/incompetence at home is where the problem lies.

The SA House web site does have lots of blurb for you to read through regarding the types of visas and the processes to be followed for each.
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Old May 21st 2012, 2:14 pm
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Originally Posted by Pablo View Post
As a temporary resident or visitor you can drive on a UK licence (unless, Ed, that has recently changed).

The UK High Commission does not actually process visa applications, they are sent to SA for processing. So SA House in London is just the front end. The corruption/incompetence at home is where the problem lies.
Yes - you can drive here on a UK licence. Supposedly only for a year but I have been on mine for 5 years now and been stopped a couple of times. They look confused when they see it but it's been ok so far. Getting insurance and finance are certainly easier with an SA licence though - I have been threatened with arrest for not having one when driving but this is a bluff, and R50 seems to provide me with a "short-term conversion solution".

It's interesting that all SA applications go to Pretoria too and get handled in the same office (to Pablo's point about the front end in London) yet some offices (Randburg for example) seem to get them handled more quickly. It shouldn't be the case but I guess they way they are handled at point of entry and exit probably counts for a lot.
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Old Jun 6th 2012, 11:35 pm
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Pretoria is lekker! Moved to the UK in September from there and missing it terribly. Go for Moreleta ahead of Hatfield
Theoretically you can only drive on a foreign licence for 1 year and the police may ask you how long you have been in SA so if you havent converted it then always say less than 1 year. You cannot convert a foreign licence unless you have permanent residence ie you have to go through the test in theory although about R1500 will avoid you having to do the test and get a legitimate licence.
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Old Jun 7th 2012, 9:20 am
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Default Re: First time in SA - Moving from UK to Pretoria

Most people are hopelessly unadaptable. I don't know why they waste their time and money emigrating in the first place. Watching too many empty-headed TV programmes, probably.

Last edited by Pablo; Jun 7th 2012 at 9:59 am.
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