A record number of South Africans have applied for a second passport – here’s where they’re going

 ·5 Mar 2019

There has been a large increase in South Africans applying for a secondary passport.

Speaking to BusinessTech, residence and citizenship planning firm, Henley & Partners, said that it had seen a 125% increase in the number of enquiries received in the second half of 2018 compared to the same period last year.

This was underpinned by a record number of enquiries received in October 2018 – equating to a 364% increase in growth year-on-year.

“South African high net worth (HNW) clients who seek our professional services are not always looking to relocate, but rather invest in a Plan B for future proofing,” Henley & Partners said.

It added that these citizens typically recognise that dual citizenship or residency provides more benefits and privileges for them and their families including ease of travel, security for the future and expansion of business and banking etc.

“There is a very high demand for our European residency programs e.g Portugal and Greece and citizenship programs from the Caribbean e.g Malta and Cyprus,” it said.

“Most of our clients are usually male even though we have seen growth in the number of female individuals also applying for these programs in the last couple of years.

“Our programs are quite popular amongst parents wanting to give their children the best education in the world and also to ease of travel requirements seeing that the South African passport has access to only 102 destinations and this number excludes the world biggest economies such as the US, UK, Europe Schengen area, Canada to mention just a few.”

Other interesting statistics include:

  • 85% of the applicants were male;
  • 45% of the applicants were self-employed, 45% were employed, and 10% were non-economically active;
  • 20% of these South Africans were aged between 25-44, while 70% were aged between 45-64.
  • Gauteng had the most applicants (38%), closely followed by the Western Cape (37%), and KZN (10%).
  • Just 45% of these applicants were white South Africans.

Most popular countries

According to Henley & Partners, the following countries were the most popular for second passports.


With this program, you get the right to live, work and study in any of the 28 EU countries and Switzerland.

It also allows you to travel visa-free to 182 countries – including EU and Canada.

“Malta has an excellent climate, very friendly people, and it is a stable and safe country with a very low crime rate,” Henley & Partners said.

“Telecommunications, postal services, banking, hospitals and health services, as well as all other important public services, are and of a very high standard.

It added that major industries include high-tech manufacturing, food and beverages, tourism and international financial services.

“For entrepreneurs, Malta has many existing strengths such as its strategic location, excellent international trade relations, a highly qualified English-speaking workforce,”Henley & Partners said.

“The property market in Malta offers strong opportunities for investors due to a decline in the number of new properties added to the real estate market each year. With the low supply of new properties, demand is focused on existing properties, creating an increase in price/value for those properties.

Antigua & Barbuda

An Antigua and Barbuda passport provides visa-free access to approximately 150 destinations including the UK, Europe’s Schengen area, Singapore and Hong Kong”.

The passport also grants full citizenship to the applicant and family.

“Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Commonwealth. This entitles citizens to certain privileges in the UK and other member states, “Henley & Partners said.

“Antigua and Barbuda is an attractive place to live or to own a second home, with excellent air links to North America and Europe.”


A Portuguese passport offers visa-free travel within the Schengen area.

Passport-holders are eligible to apply for citizenship after five years as a legal resident, while also keeping other citizenships.

According to Henley & Partners, Portugal stands out for its excellent international schools, universities, and hospitals.

It also has a high quality of life and low crime rate.


Launched in the second half of 2018, the Moldova Citizenship-by-Investment (MCBI) program is being developed by the Government of Moldova in partnership with its service provider Henley & Partners and the Moldovan Investment Company.

The program offers visa-free access to 121 destinations around the world, including Russia, Turkey and the countries in Europe’s Schengen Area.

“This program gives investors citizenship in a country that has a continental climate, a world-class wine industry, and picturesque, varied terrain, including forests and rocky hills,”Henley & Partners said.

“A reasonable contribution amount and a highly efficient application process (making this the most affordable CBI program to date),”it said.

“Dependent children up to 29 years of age and parents (of either the main applicant or the spouse) from 55 years of age can be included and citizenship transferable to future generations without restrictions.”

Read: This is what a R70 million-plus home looks like in Cape Town, Durban and Joburg

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