Currency Controls Outbound


Types of Controls: Restrictions on both inbound and outbound transfers.
Regulatory Bodies: State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), People’s Bank of China (PBOC).
Guidelines: Individuals are limited to $50,000 per year. Corporations must provide documentation for genuine trade transactions. For larger transactions, SAFE approval may be required.
Probability of Facing Issues: High (~70% if not compliant with regulations)


Types of Controls: Limits on outbound investment, import financing, and remittances.
Regulatory Bodies: Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Guidelines: Individuals can remit up to $250,000 per financial year under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme. Businesses require specific RBI approvals for foreign investments.
Probability of Facing Issues: Moderate (~50% if not compliant)


Types of Controls: Strict controls, multiple exchange rate system.
Regulatory Bodies: Central Bank of Venezuela.
Guidelines: Approval required for all currency transactions. Unauthorized trading of foreign currency is criminalized.
Probability of Facing Issues: Extremely High (~95%)


Types of Controls: Taxes and limits on foreign currency.
Regulatory Bodies: Central Bank of Argentina.
Guidelines: 30% tax on foreign currency purchases. Strict justification required for businesses for outbound transfers.
Probability of Facing Issues: High (~75%)


Types of Controls: Restrictions on large foreign investments.
Regulatory Bodies: Central Bank of Iceland.
Guidelines: Pre-approval required for large investments. Periodic reporting may be necessary.
Probability of Facing Issues: Low (~20%)


Types of Controls: Mostly due to international sanctions.
Regulatory Bodies: Central Bank of Iran.
Guidelines: Almost all transactions are scrutinized. Special permissions required.
Probability of Facing Issues: Extremely High (~95%)


Types of Controls: Restrictions on certain foreign transactions.
Regulatory Bodies: Central Bank of Russia.
Guidelines: Restrictions mostly on transactions with entities from sanctioned countries.
Probability of Facing Issues: Moderate (~40%)


Types of Controls: Focused on transaction scrutiny.
Regulatory Bodies: Bank Negara Malaysia.
Guidelines: Thorough documentation required for large transfers. Some sectors have specific limitations.
Probability of Facing Issues: Low (~25%)


Types of Controls: High taxes on currency exchange.
Regulatory Bodies: Central Bank of Brazil.
Guidelines: No strict limits, but high taxes and bureaucracy can slow down transactions.
Probability of Facing Issues: Low (~20%)


Types of Controls: Restrictions on large outbound transfers.
Regulatory Bodies: Central Bank of Egypt.
Guidelines: Businesses face restrictions and must justify large outbound transfers, often requiring central bank approval.
Probability of Facing Issues: Moderate (~45%)

South Africa

Types of Controls: Annual limits on remittances.
Regulatory Bodies: South African Reserve Bank.
Guidelines Individuals have an annual limit of R1 million without clearance, and up to R10 million with a Tax Clearance Certificate.
Probability of Facing Issues: Low (~20%)

Saudi Arabia

Types of Controls: Sector-specific restrictions.
Regulatory Bodies: Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).
Guidelines: Mostly affects the real estate and financial sectors. Pre-approval required for large transactions.
Probability of Facing Issues: Moderate (~35%)

Transfers from China

In China, there is technically no fixed annual limit for corporations to transfer funds abroad, unlike the $50,000 USD limit for individuals. However, corporate transfers are subject to stringent regulatory scrutiny and must adhere to various rules and procedures:

  1. Purpose of Transfer: The transaction must be for a legitimate business purpose, such as paying for imported goods or services, royalties, or dividends.
  2. Documentation: Comprehensive documentation is often required, which can include contracts, invoices, tax documents, and sometimes approval from government agencies.
  3. SAFE Approval: For larger sums, approval from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) in China may be necessary. This often involves presenting a compelling business justification for the transfer.
  4. Bank Review: The company’s bank will review the documents and transaction to ensure it complies with Chinese regulations before processing the transfer.
  5. Currency Conversion: Chinese Yuan (CNY) must be converted to the target currency, usually requiring additional documentation to justify the conversion rate applied.
  6. Quotas: Some provinces or industries may have internal guidelines or quotas for outbound investment, but these are not standardized and can vary.
  7. Tax Compliance: Before remittance, it’s usually required to clear any relevant taxes and acquire a Tax Clearance Certificate.
  8. Capital Account vs. Current Account Transactions: Transactions categorized under the Capital Account (e.g., foreign investments, loans) often require more documentation and possibly governmental approval, compared to Current Account transactions (e.g., trade payments, salaries).

Wealthy individuals in China face the same $50,000 USD annual foreign exchange limit as other individuals, but there are various legal strategies they might employ for transferring larger sums of money abroad. Here are some commonly used methods:

  1. Multiple Family Members: Utilizing the $50,000 per person per year quota across multiple family members. This allows for a sum that is a multiple of $50,000 to be transferred legally.
  2. Overseas Investment Programs: China has several government-sanctioned overseas investment programs, such as the QDII (Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor), which allow high-net-worth individuals to invest abroad.
  3. Foreign Business Ownership: Setting up or acquiring a foreign business, followed by injecting capital into the company. This requires additional documentation and justification, but it is a legal avenue.
  4. Offshore Trusts: Establishing a trust in a jurisdiction with favorable tax laws, into which assets can be transferred. This is complex and must comply with both Chinese and international law.
  5. Real Estate: Purchasing overseas real estate is another popular method. This typically involves sending money abroad under the guise of paying for the property, following all applicable laws and regulations.
  6. Export-Import Transactions: Over or under-invoicing in trade transactions can facilitate the movement of funds, though this straddles legal boundaries and can attract scrutiny.
  7. Loan Repayments: If an individual has pre-existing loans or obligations in a foreign country, larger sums can be transferred under the category of loan repayment.
  8. Studying Abroad: Funds can be transferred to an overseas account for education fees and living expenses for family members who are studying abroad.
  9. Immigration Programs: Some countries offer investment immigration options, where substantial investment in the country grants residency or even citizenship, along with a more straightforward way to move funds.

Legal and Compliance Risks

The methods above need to strictly comply with Chinese regulations and laws, which can be complex and are subject to change. Non-compliance can result in severe penalties including fines and legal actions.

When properly complying with regulations, the likelihood of successfully transferring funds using these methods can range from 90-95%.

Due to the complexity and potential for significant legal repercussions, it's imperative to consult legal and financial advisors knowledgeable in both Chinese and international law.