Turkey and Ireland recently announced plans to introduce a citizenship by investment plan over the course of 2017 – adding to a growing list of countries that South Africans can effectively “pay for citizenship”.
This follows a July 2016 report by the International Monetary Fund which indicated that a growing number of countries were encouraging wealthy individuals to make the move because of the significant financial inflows they bring to these countries’ economies.
In return, those buying citizenship buying offers greater global mobility (including visa free travel in many countries), tax planning, and family security.
BusinessTech looked at the countries currently offering citizenship by investment and which are the cheapest according to the current rand exchange rate.
|Country||Amount in local currency||Amount in rands||Link|
|St Lucia||$100 000||R1 312 750||Link|
|Dominica||$100 000||R1 312 750||Link|
|St Kitts and Nevis||$200 000||R2 625 500||Link|
|Antigua and Barbuda||$200 000||R2 625 500||Link|
|Grenada||$234 000||R3 073 543||Link|
|Ireland||€500,000*||R7 001 844||N/A|
|Montenengro||€500,000*||R7 001 844||N/A|
|Bulgaria||€511,292||R7 163 355||Link|
|Turkey||$1 000 000*||R13 133 700||N/A|
|Australia||AU$1 500 000||R14 935 669||Link|
|Malta||€1 150 000*||R16 114 670||N/A|
|Cyprus||€2 000 000||R28 010 106||Link|
* Countries that plan to introduce citizenship by investment later in 2017.
While the above specifically pertains to countries that allow for “citizenship through investment”, there is a clear difference between having citizenship in a country and being a resident, notes James Bowling, CEO of immigration consultants Monarch&Co.
“By achieving permanent residency, the person is allowed to reside for as long as the validity of the residency within a country of which he or she is not a citizen,” said Bowling.
“A person with such status is known as a resident or permanent resident of that country. Resident permits are issued for migrants who meet certain criteria and its validity is time based.”
“By obtaining citizenship in another country, the investor becomes a citizen of that country which entitles them to carry that country’s passport. “Depending on the countries involved, the investor will be able to keep their existing citizenship and passport and thus the new passport becomes their second passport.”
This is why these programmes are often referred to as second passport programmes,” he concluded.
Popular countries of residency and how much they cost
|Country||Amount in local currency||Amount in rands|
|Greece||€250 000||R3 504 844|
|New Zealand||NZ$500 000||R4 554 634|
|Portugal||€500 000||R7 001 844|
|Spain||€500 000||R7 001 844|
|United States||$1 350 000||R17 735 760|
|Singapore||S$2 500 000||R23 249 109|
|United Kingdom||£2 000 000||R32 152 105|
|France||€10 000 000||R140 193 793|