The number of wealthy South Africans Interested in obtaining a second residency or citizenship in another country by investing a certain amount in the country’s economy is steadily rising, according to residence and citizenship-by-investment experts.
As the number of countries with CBI programs is increasing (there are more than 10 at the moment), terms and benefits of the programs become more and more appealing for investors. There is nothing surprising here.
As there are many, we have chosen 3 best citizenship programs for high net worth South Africans.
Malta’s citizenship program is one of the top options to consider if you are a high net worth South African who wants to obtain a European citizenship and have global access via Europe.
Maltese passport allows one to reside, establish a business, and have all the rights in all 28 EU countries plus Switzerland. In other words, becoming a Maltese citizen you also become a citizen of any other European Union country. Maltese passport also gives one freedom of movement within the European Union countries, as well as visa-free access to 100+ countries around the world. Furthermore, the passport opens access to EU universities, high-level healthcare, tax privileges, etc.
The first step in receiving a Maltese citizenship is to apply for a permanent residency. After the investor and their family members submitted their biometrics, it takes about 6-8 weeks to receive their residency cards. The next step is to apply for a citizenship. The passports are issued within 12-14 months if the application was approved by the committee.
As of 1 February 2018, citizens of Malta had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 173 countries and territories. Maltese passport ranked 7th in terms of travel freedom (tied with the Czech and Australian passports), according to Passport Index 2018.
According to the annual report on the results of Malta passport program, from July 2016 until the end of June 2017 the citizenship was granted to 1409 investors.
To obtain a Maltese passport an investor must be older than 18 years, have a perfect reputation, and no criminal record, as well as proof that they were residents of Malta for at least a year prior to the issuing of a certificate of naturalisation. The investor is also required to:
South African investors, who require travel access and who do not necessarily want to reside in Europe, should take into consideration the Saint Kitts and Nevis CBI program as it has low minimum investment amount, tax and travel benefits, among others.
Saint Kitts and Nevis allows its citizens to travel without a visa to the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Singapore, among others. It gives you an opportunity to develop business connections or establish your own business in business hubs such as London, Soul, Madrid, Singapore, and Paris.
This residency program has recently introduced new investment options – a US$150,000 donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund, and a US$400,000 investment (can be shared 50/50 between 2 applicants) into real estate which can be sold only after five years.
The Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship allows you to have the same travel privileges as anyone else with a European residency card. You can stay 90 out of 180 days in the Schengen Zone and the UK, meaning that you are able to reside there 6 months a year but with a 3 months gap in the middle. The passport is issued within 3-5 months which is quicker than the passport of Malta. There is a requirement to reside on the island or to travel there before or during the process.
The main applicant is allowed to include in the application their spouse, dependent children under the age of 30 and dependent parents over the age of 55.
Saint Kitts and Nevis has already issued over 11,000 passports to foreign investors.
In 2018, Antigua and Barbuda also introduced some changes in its CBI program. The government of Antigua and Barbuda decided to remove the requirement to go through another due diligence and pay renewal fees in a 5-year period to renew the passport. It also lowered the minimum investment amount for a donation option.
To qualify for citizenship, the main applicant must be over 18 years of age, meet the application requirements and choose one of the following two popular investment options:
The reduction of the minimum contribution to the state fund made this program one of the quickest and now cheapest of the Caribbean citizenship programs.
Antigua and Barbuda’s passport offers a visa-free access to 129 countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and the Schengen Zone countries, among others.
Over 2,000 investors have already used this opportunity and obtained a second passport of this country.
In 2017, the Antigua and Barbuda CIB program helped to increase the state budget by $300 million, over $198.7 million were gained with the help of investment in real estate option.
The Hungarian permanent residence program for investment was closed in 2017. All Hungarian permanent residence cards that were previously received remain valid. But those who obtained permanent residence in 2016 need to take care of renewing their status – it is valid for five years.