Plan B for South Africans: Why wealthy individuals obtain second citizenship or residency in EU & Caribbean

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Kristina Ruzhilo 19.11.2018


The demand for second residency and citizenship by investment among high net worth South Africans was boosted not only because of unexpected political changes in the country but also because of favorable price changes in the passport programs.

South Africans are looking for a Plan B

Majority of wealthy South African citizens do not plan to leave the country because of recent political shifts but more and more individuals started to look into ways to protect themselves and their families, residence and citizenship-by-investment experts noticed. It’s safe to say that they are looking for a Plan B by obtaining a passport and/or residency of another country via the CBI/residency by investment programs. The number of South Africa’s wealthy citizens interested in the CBI programs has visibly increased following the events in 2017.

In the last two to three years, the number of countries that offer a CBI program has surpassed a dozen. The high net worth individuals can now gain a powerful EU or Caribbean passport by way of investment, without emigrating.

South Africans used to favour Mauritius and Seychelles as a second citizenship destination, however, there are much more suitable and affordable options.

Permanent residency in the EU

You can obtain the European Union residency by investing at least EUR300,000 (R4,345,000) in the host economy via official residency programs in Malta or Cyprus. In case you are interested in obtaining a fast-tracked EU citizenship, it’s also possible, however, it’ll take a bigger amount of investment. Cypriot citizenship requires an investment of EUR 2 million (R28.9 million), while Maltese citizenship requires at least a EUR 1 million (R14.5 million) investment. The application process for a passport of Cyprus will be 3-6 months, for a Maltese one – 14 months.

A Maltese passport currently ranks 7th in the world’s most powerful passports, according to the Passport Index 2018, meaning that citizens of Manta enjoy visa-free travel to 157 countries.

Portugal, Greece, Spain, France and Monaco also offer residency by investment options. There is a possibility to obtain residency of the UK, Canada and Australia, however, the amount of investment for these countries is considerably higher, and it requires physical immigration.

Citizenship in the Caribbean

As an alternative to the EU citizenship programs, the Caribbean offers 5 passport programs with almost the same benefits but at a much lower cost. At the moment, the best option for a family of 4 is the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment program. The minimum investment is $100,000 (a non-refundable donation to a state fund, R1.2 million) and $400,000 (investment in real estate, R4.7 million), the application process is 3-5 months. Recently the government of Antigua and Barbuda decided to drop due diligence & fees at the 5-year passport renewal period.

An Antigua and Barbuda passport will give you global visa-free travel to 128 countries including the Schengen Zone, the UK, South Korea, Singapore, among others.

Another popular option in the Caribbean is the Saint Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment program. This country also offers direct citizenship with no prior residency period required, its visa-free travel benefits are similar. On April 2, 2018, the government of Saint Kitts and Nevis is going to launch new investment options – a $150,000 (R1.7 million) donation to a new state fund called the Sustainable Growth Fund for a single applicant, and a $195,000 (R2.3 million) donation for a family up to 4 members. The real estate investment is $400,000 (R4.7 million), the same as Antigua and Barbuda. The application process is the same as well, 3-5 months.

With the current rand allowance, South Africans are able to take out R10 million annually (R20 million for couples) plus their R1 million discretionary allowance.


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