Frequently Asked Questions
U.S. Government departments and agencies assisting in the development of trade ties and offering valuable information and guidance:
- U.S. Commercial Service, South Africa
- African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
- International Trade Administration (ITA)
- U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)
- Overseas Private Investment Corp(OPIC)
- Export -Import Bank of the United States (EX-IM)
- Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)
- United States International Trade Commission (USITC)
State & Business Representatives
A number of states have trade representatives in South Africa. They will assist in promoting business ties and opening offices and businesses in those states:
Council of Great Lakes Governors Southern Africa Trade Office- The Council of Great Lakes Governors is a partnership initiated by the Governors of the Great Lake States. The Council of Great Lakes Governors Southern Africa Trade Office provides a range of services to firms from New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The office assists companies from within participating states to locate business partners within southern Africa.
American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa- AmCham is affiliated to the US Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation which represents nearly 3 million businesses of every size and which is based in Washington DC. Through AmCham, business people of the United States and South Africa are able to come together and promote their mutual interests.
Import/ Export Regulation
To gain a better understanding of the U.S. import and export process and what, if any, actions can be taken by traders to avoid unnecessary risks and difficulties, the following links may prove useful:
- South African Department of Trade and Industry (dti) - The dti is responsible for the promotion of economic development and participation in the global economic and trade environment. It facilitates development and strengthens trade and investment links with key economies.
- Trade Law Center for Southern Africa (tralac)- tralac is a not-for-profit organisation, building trade law capacity in the southern Africa region; in governments, the private sector and civil society.
- BuyUSAinfo (U.S. Dept of Commerce)- BuyUSAinfo.net is a comprehensive source for commercial information about the United States of America.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Basic Importing and Exporting- A general explanation of import and export requirements for those interested in establishing an importing or exporting business or importing or exporting something for personal use only.
- Tariff Information Center- The Tariff Information Centre is a resource for finding out the tariffs for different products or whether products are eligible for duty-free or reduced rate tariff programs such as AGOA.
The Bioterrorism Act requires compliance by local food exporters. The Act requires South African facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States to register with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA must receive prior notice of the arrival of food shipments.
Interactive Tariff and Trade Dataweb- Provides international trade statistics and U.S. tariff data to the public full-time and free of charge. U.S. import statistics, U.S. export statistics, U.S. tariffs, U.S. future tariffs and U.S. tariff preference information are available on a self-service, interactive basis.
Corporate Council on Africa- The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), facilitates the commercial relationship between the United States and the African continent. CCA works with governments, multilateral groups and business to impact the African continent's trade and investment climate, and to raise the profile of Africa in the US business community.
Better Business Bureau (BBB)- The BBB provide 'reliability reports' on U.S. companies and charities.
EDGAR Database- All companies, foreign and domestic, are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR (the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system). Anyone can access and download this information for free. The Securities and Exchange Commission maintains these searchable company filings.
Programs include au-pair, camp staff, work (long and short term seasonal staff), travel, student and academic exchange, conferences and vocational training (internship). This is the closest you will get to a working holiday in the U.S.
Cultural Exchange ("Working holidays" in the USA)
- American Institute for Foreign Study - Organizes cultural exchange programs for more than 30,000 participants each year. Their programs include college study abroad, au pair placement, camp counselors and staff, gifted education, high school study/travel and insurance services.
- Au pair in America – Spend time caring for a host family’s children in addition to studying and travelling. Several programs are available including one for experienced childcare professionals. Au pair in America is a partner organization to the AIFS (see above).
- Camp Counselors USA (CCUSA) - CCUSA is an international work adventure specialist that facilitates summer camp jobs, work and travel experiences, and volunteer adventures.
- InterExchange – a non-profit organization devoted to promoting cross-cultural awareness through work and volunteer exchange programs. Facilitates interns, volunteers, camp counselors and au pairs.
- JCR Intercultural Exchange Programs – JCR is one of the oldest and largest cultural exchange organizations in South Africa. Their services include au-pair placements, student exchange and work and travel programs.
Educational exchange for high school students
- AFS Interculture South Africa - South African students spend a school year, a semester or an intensive stay for 8 weeks through AFS in the USA.
- AYUSA Global Youth Exchange – US based exchange program that brings students to the United States and sends Americans abroad.
- Youth For Understanding (YFU) South Africa - Young South Africans can go abroad for periods of 6 weeks to 1 year and international students can experience South Africa on a variety of programs.
Educational exchange in higher education
- Study Abroad with AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study) - American college students can apply for a four-week summer study program or five-week service learning program at Stellenbosch University.
- Institute of International Education - The Study America program works in collaboration with universities, colleges, research institutions, private businesses and NGO's to sponsor individuals who teach, lecture, observe, consult and share their culture and professional expertise with their American colleagues.
- Ralph James Totten (1929-37)
- Leo John Keena (1937-42)
- Lincoln MacVeagh (1942-43)
- Thomas Holcomb, Jr. (1944-48)
- North Winship (1948-49)
- John G. Erhardt (1950-51)
- Waldemar J. Gallman (1951-54)
- Edward T. Wailes (1954-56)
- Henry A. Byroade (1956-59)
- Philip K. Crowe (1959-61)
- Joseph Charles Satterthwaite (1961-65)
- William M. Rountree (1965-70)
- John G. Hurd (1970-75)
- William G. Bowdler (1975-78)
- William Brockway Edmondson (1978-81)
- Herman W. Nickel (1982-86)
- Edward Joseph Perkins (1986-89)
- William Lacy Swing (1989-92)
- Princeton Nathan Lyman (1992-95)
- James A. Joseph (1995-1999)
- Delano E. Lewis (2000-01)
- Cameron R. Hume (2001-04)
- Jendayi E. Frazer (2004-2005)
- Eric M. Bost (2006-2009)
- Donald H. Gips (2009-present)
- U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian
- Political Graveyard
Unofficial, not quite up-to-date, but comprehensive
- Dept of State's Office of Protocol.
South African Diplomats in the U.S.
- ThomasNet - Manufacturers, distributors and service providers
- addresses.com - All business search engine, use phone number and find maps and directions
- MacRae's Blue Book – Industrial and manufacturing products and services
- Superpages.com – Contact information and customer reviews of businesses and retailers
- Switchboard – Find and compare local businesses offering specific products and services
- Yellow Page City - Directory of local Yellow Pages across the U.S. (over 2600)
- American Medical Association Doctor Finder - Provides basic professional information on licensed physicians in the United States
- WebMD Physician Directory - Quick reference of information about physicians – search by name, location or specialization
- UCompareHealthCare - Find, research and compare hospitals, nursing homes, doctors, fertility centers and mammography centers
- Martindale - Find lawyers or law firms; also provides personalized access to online legal community
- Legal Match - Confidentially and thoroughly review the experience, track record, availability, and fee structure of pre-screened lawyers who match your needs
- Lawyers.com – Search for lawyers by location or area of law; also provides links to state law agencies, the constitution and federal courts
Universities & Colleges:
- 50states.com - Find universities, colleges, art and design schools, nursing schools, business schools and community colleges
- Abroad Education - Lists universities and colleges by state and links to respective website of the institution
- USUniversities.com – Search according to state or type of program; also indicates verified institutions
- Visas (see also Foreignborn.com)
- Work Authorization for Non-U.S. Citizens (scroll down to Section V)
- Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Cool works
- Online Job Applications.com
- JobBank USA
Resources for funding and support of community, social and economic development programs.
- U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
- President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
- Ambassador's Self Help Fund
Private U.S. Resources
- Foundation Center - Databases of information on nearly 100,000 foundations, corporate donors, and grantmaking public charities in the U.S. and also provides a variety of free search tools, tutorials, downloadable reports, and other relevant information
- Africa Grantmakers' Affinity Group - Membership network of foundations that are currently funding in Africa or are interested in funding in Africa
- United States International Grantmaking - Provides information on the process that US Foundations must follow in order to provide donations to your organization
- Grants Information Center (University of Wisconsin) – Comprehensive databases of grantmakers for education, research and non-profit organizations
South African Resources
- NGO Pulse Portal - The most extensive NGO network in South Africa – users are required to register in order to access the portal
- Prodder Directory – Use the advanced search function to look for donor organizations according to province and program area
- The Funding Site – Subscription-based directory with access to contact information on more than 1,500 South African donors and more than 260 international trusts and foundations funding work in South Africa
- The Southern Africa Institute of Fundraising - Links to a widespread selection of South African and African related donor organizations
- Download "The state of social giving in South Africa report series #6: Understanding private foreign giving in South Africa" – go to page 49 for outline and page 85 for lists of donors operating in South Africa
- Wall Street Journal
- USA Today
- The New York Times
- Los Angeles Times
- The Washington Post
- Daily News
- New York Post
- Chicago Tribune
- Holidays shared with many other countries:
- New Year's Day
- Uniquely American holidays:
- Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
- Independence Day (Fourth of July)
- Martin Luther King Day (Third Monday of January)
- Presidents' Day (Third Monday in February)
- Memorial Day (Fourth Monday of May)
- Labor Day (First Monday of September)
- Columbus Day (Second Monday in October)
- Veterans Day (Eleventh of November)
School terms and holidays vary significantly between and even within states. However most schools observe three holiday periods:
- Spring break: Mid March to late March
- Summer: Mid May to early September
- Winter break: Mid December to early January
Generalized school calendars for all states are available here (again, these dates may vary depending on the school’s district). Scroll down to begin at "USA (Alabama)"
It is not possible to list all scams here. However, here are the ones about which the Embassy is receiving queries. Both South Africans and Americans are potential victims. The sites mentioned here offer guidance or provide background that may assist you in identifying scams.
Shares and Securities
A broker makes you an offer that's too good to be true!
- Financial advisors warn that deals that are “too good to be true” usually are just that!
- The North American Securities Administration Association provides Investor Alerts & Tips with information on avoiding traps, protecting investments, and avoiding fraudsters.
- The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission gives useful pointers on how investors can easily be tricked through online content such as newsletters and bulletin boards.
South African Lotteries
You receive an email or text message saying you’ve won the lotto:
- To partake in lottery winnings you need to have participated in the lottery.
- The S.A. National Lottery is operated by Uthingo Management (Pty) Ltd. View their warning of scams.
- The National Lottery Board regulates and registers all lotteries conducted in South Africa.
- American citizens are advised to contact the American Citizen Service for guidance.
Inheritance in South Africa
An attorney or lawyer contacts you and informs you that you are the beneficiary of a deceased estate in South Africa:
- The Master of the High Court regulates the administration of estates of deceased persons and all documentation is lodged with this office. The physical documents may be viewed by the public (documents are not online).
- Attorneys are required to be 'licensed.' Make sure yours is by searching for them on a database of practicing /licensed attorneys in their jurisdictions. The Law Society of South Africa and The Johannesburg Bar Association have links to local law societies.
- American citizens are advised to contact the American Citizen Service for guidance.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States - Standard summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States
- USA quick facts – Basic information of people, business, geography
- U.S. Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics – Economic indicators, employment and productivity levels
- National Center for Health Statistics – Vital statistics (birth, death, marriage and divorce records)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Procedures and requirements for visitors
- Bringing wine and other alcoholic beverages into the USA
- Customs and Border Protection Info Center
Bus and train reservations
Maps, routes and directions
- Visit USA - Make travel bookings and get essential tourist information
- National Parks Service - Database of all national parks, also lists events and activities
- The Hostel Handbook - Useful links for budget and off-the-beaten-track travel
Universities & Colleges
Visas & Related Information