DEMAND for second residency and citizenship programmes following looting and civil unrest in South Africa. Picture: Pexels
DEMAND for second residency and citizenship programmes following looting and civil unrest in South Africa. Picture: Pexels

Want out of South Africa? Here are your second residency and citizenship programme options

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Jul 19, 2021

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The demand for second residency and citizenship programmes has risen significantly within the South African market, following this month's unrest in most parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and the country snail-paced vaccine roll-out.

Founder and chief executive of LIO Global Nadia Read Thaele explained that dual citizenship provides the safety and peace of mind that many look for and secures their investment into politically and economically stable countries.

She explained that Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programmes, whether into property or by way of a government donation, allow for dual citizenship.

"These programmes are ideal for South Africans who do not want to leave the country but seek a Plan B option. People are feeling nervous, and dual citizenship offers easier travel despite lockdown conditions. The number of families looking and second residency and citizenship options continue to increase dramatically.

"There are many residency and CBI options available to South Africans, including European countries such as Portugal, Malta, Greece, Spain, Italy and Belgium. Most require a real estate investment and have complex requirements should you wish to acquire citizenship. They are geared at offering residency. Malta, for example, also has a citizenship programme (in addition to its residency programme), but it requires a substantial investment upwards of R17 million," she said.

Thaele said the more accessible options were found in Caribbean countries such as Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda. These destinations offer a direct route to citizenship and a passport.

"They do not require any period of residency or visits to the country and offer a quick route to a second passport in under six months. There are also no language requirements, and the countries are tax-friendly jurisdictions.

"The required investment into property starts at just over R3.3m for a family of four, or from R1.5 million as a government donation. This is very accessible and equates to the price of an investment apartment on the Atlantic Seaboard or an upper, middle-class home in the suburbs.

"The property developments generally offer the opportunity for rental returns and can be sold after a holding period of around five years with some even offering guaranteed buy-backs," advised Thaele.

Those with Caribbean passports gain visa-free access to the US, UK and Euro Zone for extended periods. And, the Grenadian passport is popular due to the E-2 Visa Treaty, which allows citizens to invest in the US, live and work there and send their children to US schools and universities.

"Grenada is currently granting more than 2 000 passports annually. The programme is growing significantly," she said.

Vanuatu is another alternative option for South Africans. It 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.

The USA Eb-5 Programme is currently on hold.

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