During our visit to South Africa, Elaine and I got many different questions from many different people. In fact, some questions just kept coming around over and over again, so we’ve decided to dedicate this post to answer all your questions.

The popular and frequent ones were:

Q: Do you guys like living in the UK?
A: I think it’s fair to say that we don’t just like it, we love it! Especially life in London because the job and travel opportunities far exceeded all our expectations.


Q: Are you guys planning to return to South Africa?
A: This seems to be an unpopular answer to some South Africans but we have no plans to return to the Republic. As it stands, we plan to settle in the UK permanently.


Q: How long do you guys still have to wait before you become British citizens?
A: We are less than two years away from Settlement, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This means we can live in the UK permanently without being subject to visa/immigration rules. After 12 months on ILR, we can apply to become British Citizens.

So if all goes well, we’ll become British nationals around Aug 2021.


Q: If you guys become British citizens, do you automatically become dual-nationals? (have 2 passports)
A: No, the rules recently changed and you no longer become a dual-national by default. Nowadays, you need to apply for special permission at the SA High Commission to retain your SA citizenship before applying for foreign citizenship. If you do not have permission to retain your SA citizenship prior to applying for foreign citizenship then you automatically lose your SA citizenship and your SA passport is cancelled.


Q: …and you guys will obviously apply for dual-citizenship right?
A: Actually no.

If you take emotion out of the decision-making process then we hardly see any real benefit of retaining our South African passports. As British nationals, we’ll be able to enter South Africa without a visa and should visa rules in SA ever change, then we still have permanent residency status in South Africa anyway.

This means, if we need to move back to South Africa in the future, we can do so with our British passports, reside in South Africa for 12 months and then have our South African citizenship reinstated.

And, if you look at the expat tax that SARS is introducing next year, it might not be the worst idea to let the green passport go.


Q: Can you guys travel visa-free like the Brits?
A: Nope. We still have SA passports and our UK visa only allow us to live and work in the UK. If we want to travel to other countries we still need to apply for visas just like all the rest of you.


Q: What’s it like to work in London
A: Compared to SA Corporate we find the setup over here much less hierarchical and people with ‘chief’ titles seem much more approachable than they did in Joburg.

London is a big player on the world stage, so in terms of experience and clients, we don’t think it’s possible (or even fair) to compare it against SA because the economies are just so different.

But we really enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone!


Q: Would you raise your kids there?
A: This is awkward. We don’t want to get onto the kid-train in the first place, heck, we’re not even looking for the platform at this moment. So sorry, can’t answer this one.


Q: How are you guys coping with the weather?
A: This question tends to be the most popular and South Africans are stunned by our answer – we love the English weather!

Firstly, it’s not raining all the time. It’s also not cold all the time. And it’s definitely not grey skies all the time.

Our summers are very hot with long days (the sun rises around 04:30 and sets just after 22:30) and the winter months are not as bad and terrible as many make it out to be.

Secondly, to put it in perspective, over the last 3 years, our central heating has only been on between mid-December to mid-February. On mainland Europe, the US, Canada, Scandinavia and Russia it’s way colder than over here.

Also, Elaine and I prefer winter over summer, so we love living in the northern hemisphere where we have proper winters with snow.


Q: Do you guys have a car
A: No we don’t.

And we don’t need one honestly. London has one of the best public transport systems in the world, so in the last 3 and a half years we didn’t need a car to get from A to B.


Q: What is the weirdest thing you’ve started doing since moving to the UK?
A: Good question!

Firstly, over here it’s the norm to leave your shoes at the door when you enter your own (or someone else’s) home. This is simply because we walk WAY more than you guys do in SA and your shoes tend to get very dirty.

Secondly, we started eating mayonnaise with chips. I know what you are thinking, but mayonnaise in the UK is much different (I mean better) than in SA, so it’s really not disgusting, it’s quite nice.


Q: Do you guys ever eat meat over there?
A: Yes we do indeed eat meat over here! In fact, I think we eat more fillet in the UK than we ever did in South Africa.

But I get where you are coming from, in South African Rand terms it is expensive to buy meat over here whilst on holiday.


Q: Surely everything isn’t glamorous abroad?
A: Agreed, no place is perfect and there are some things that aren’t as glamorous.

For example:
– in the UK we do our own laundry and clean our own homes – no domestic help whatsoever.
– when the transport system has an issue (like a train signal failure) then your commute becomes very frustrating.

As I said, each place has its problems, but as long as the pros out way the cons then I’m sure we can tackle any issue head-on.


Q: What do you miss about South Africa?
A: We miss thunderstorms. I guess this is more specific to Johannesburg than South Africa in general.


Q: Why do the English drink their beer warm?
A: Uhm, they don’t. Hate to break it to you but you’ve been misinformed 🙂


If you have any other questions, please get in touch and we’ll add them here.