The cheapest countries for South Africans to buy citizenship and emigrate to in 2017

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.

 Residency

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

Read: Visa-free travel to the EU for South Africans still on the cards

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