Demand for second passports and Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIB) has spiked since level 3 lockdown, says Nadia Read Thaele, MD of LIO Global, a specialist firm in second residency and citizenship by investment planning.
Grenada in the Caribbean currently tops the list with an increase in applications of a whopping 120% compared to last year.
"Grenada is one of the few countries with both an active CBI programme and a bilateral investment treaty that will allow you to live and work in the USA via the USA E-2 Treaty Investor Visa programme. This is a massive drawcard for South Africans to gain access to the USA, one of the hardest countries to get into," says Thaele.
Property investment starts from as little as around R3.6-million, which she says equates to what you will pay for a basic one-bedroomed apartment in Mouille Point or Melrose Arch. She says travellers will get fast-tracked second citizenship in under 6 months.
Thaele believes that rather than emigrate, many wealthy South Africans are investing in offshore property in areas where they can secure a second citizenship.
"The attraction of the Grenada E-2 Visa option also tops the USA EB-5 investor visa. The processing time for the E-2 visa is usually around 2-months compared to 5-years for the EB-5 visa and it takes about 24-months before you can move to the USA with the EB-5 visa.
"Investor confidence in South Africa is at an all-time low and wealthy South Africans are concerned about the economy and future of the country. Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni’s budget speech has not inspired much confidence. The desire for a “Plan B” option has accelerated, especially due to high crime levels and future uncertainty," adds Thaele.
Grenada offers many additional benefits, including the enviable Caribbean lifestyle, politically stability and offers excellent tax advantages. As a CARICOM (Caribbean Community of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies) member, this also proves advantageous, offering freedom within the CARICOM group of countries, including places such as the Bahamas and Jamaica.
It also offers one of the fasted routes to second citizenship (under 6-months) and a passport with visa-free travel to over 143 countries in the UK, EU Schengen countries, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.
The E-2 Investor Visa is valid for 5 years and can be renewed without any limit on extensions, provided that the underlying investment still qualifies. Spouses and dependents will normally be granted the same period of stay as the principal. Another significant benefit is that the principal’s children under 21-years can go to school (public or private) in the USA and are eligible for in-state tuition.