Malta costs rose significantly. Picture: Pexels.
Malta costs rose significantly. Picture: Pexels.

The cost of second residency and citizenship programmes for South Africans explained

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Jul 21, 2021

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If the the thought of leaving South Africa crossed your mind in the past week but you were not sure how much you would need to venture into a new destination, we've got you covered.

We asked the founder and chief executive of LIO Global, Nadia Read Thaele, to share the cost of second residency and citizenship programmes for South Africans.

FYI, CBI (Citizenship by Investment) programmes allow South Africans to invest in property or pay a sum of money as a government contribution.

Thaele said the programme helps people secure a second residency or citizenship with the added benefits of visa-free access to mainstream destinations such as the US, UK and Euro Zone for extended periods, depending on the programme chosen.

The Caribbean Programmes makes the perfect option for those seeking lush views, stunning weather and a myriad activities, among other things.

"A major advantage of the Caribbean programmes is that South Africans do not need to leave home to secure citizenship, and there are no language tests or requirement to reside in the countries for any period of time," said Thaele.

The cost starts from R2.5 million or a property investment of just over R3.3m for a family of four.

Depending on the programme, travellers can get citizenship in three to six months. The passports offer visa-free travel access to the UK and Euro Zone for up to 90 out of 180 days. And either China or Hong Kong, depending on the country.

"You can choose to make a non-refundable government donation or invest in a government-approved real estate project, which is typically a five-star luxury resort property offering a USD rental yield. The added benefit of investing in property is that it gives you a second or holiday home. There are rental pools available.

"In most instances, the property can be sold after a holding period of five years without losing your citizenship," she said.

Caribbean Programmes include Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda.

Grenada is the most popular for South Africans because of its access to the US via the E-2 Visa Treaty. It requires a property investment of $350 000 (about R5m) or $220 000 for fractional ownership. Alternatively, a government donation of $150 000 for a single applicant or $200 000 (R2.9m) for a family of up to four. "The E-2 Visa Treaty allows Grenadian citizens to invest in the US, and live and work there; as well as send their children to US schools and universities," said Thaele.

St Kitts and Nevis start at $200 000 for a property investment, which has to be held for seven years. Alternatively, a government donation of $150 0000 for a single applicant or $175 000 with spouse plus $10 000 per additional dependants. Dominica also starts at $200 000 for a property purchase or government donation of $100 0000 for a single applicant. St Lucia starts at $300 000 for property and $100 000 for a government donation for a single applicant and $190 000 with a spouse and two dependants.

Antigua and Barbuda require a property investment of $400 000 or $200 000 for a half share. "It is the most cost effective should a family wish to go the donation route, starting at $100 000 for a family of four, plus additional costs."

Euro Zone Programmes

If you have the cash to spare, the Euro Zone routes such as Portugal’s Golden Visa and Malta are programmes to look into.

Portugal, for example, requires the purchase of real estate with a minimum value of €350 000 (R6m) or €280 000 if in a low-density area.

"It requires visitation, a language test and a five-year process to potentially achieve citizenship. However, the programme is geared towards residency and citizenship is unlikely," said Thaele.

She said Malta costs rose significantly. The destination offers two options for citizenship, either within 14 months or 36 months, depending on the investment made. It requires a property purchase of €700 000 or rental of €16 000 annually plus a government contribution of €600 000 if the applicant opts for a 36-month residency. Or a contribution of €750 000 if the applicant opts for less than 36-month residency. An additional €50 000 per dependant is payable.

US access

The US Eb-5 Programme is on hold.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu offers a quick route to citizenship within 2 to 3 months with no minimum stay or language requirement. That's not all, the passport offers travel access including to Australia, New Zealand, UK and Schengen zone countries.

A government donation of $130 000 is required for a single applicant and up to $180 000 for a family of four.

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