8 of the cheapest countries for South Africans to buy citizenship in 2018

 ·12 Apr 2018

The issue of emigration has dominated the South African news cycle over the last few weeks, with Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton confirming last week that he is currently looking at several applications from South African farmers.

However despite the buzz surrounding the issue, only a tiny minority of South Africans are likely to qualify for a special visa if it ever does go ahead – namely white South African farmers.

Instead South Africans have increasingly looked to fund moves to other countries by themselves, with both the extremely wealthy and ‘lower-income‘ South Africans increasingly looking for international options.

Citizenship by investment

One of these options is citizenship by investment – effectively buying the passport and entry into another country through property or cash investments.

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 notably different from ‘permanent residency’, where the person is considered a resident of a country, and is typically a time-based consideration.

Despite a number of countries now actively promoting a citizenship-by-investment programme, it may still prove to be too costly for South Africans, with Australia requiring you to invest a minimum of AUD 1.5 million in a state or territory government security – the equivalent of R13.95 million.

However there are still a number of countries which could still be seen as affordable for some South Africans looking to gain residency or a second citizenship.

You can find 8 of these cheaper options detailed below:

Country Amount in local currency Amount in rands
Latvia €64 600 R954 848
Panama $80 000 R960 788
St Lucia $100 000 R1 200 985
Dominica $100 000 R1 200 985
Antigua and Barbuda $100 000 R1 200 985
St Kitts and Nevis  $150 000 R1 801 477
Grenada $234 000 R2 810 304
Bulgaria €511 292 R7 557 377

What are you actually getting?

According to immigration expert Kristina Ruzhilo, no matter which program you choose, you’ll have to undergo a strict due diligence check that ensures safety and exclusivity.

She adds that principal applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have an impeccable personal and business reputation, as well as provide actual and truthful information about themselves and their entrepreneurial activities.

While the requirements may be strict, it is often well worth the effort considering the rewards that are on offer.

In an analysis of the Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programmes, Ruzhilo broke down exactly what you can expect to receive when buying a second passport.

*Including all governmental fees and services for a single applicant.

St.Kitts & Nevis Antigua & Barbuda Grenada St. Lucia Dominica
Donation to state fund* $158 000 $133 000 $210 000 $110 000 $110 000
Real estate investment* $458 000 $458 000 $409 000 $360 000 $262 000
Processing time 3 to 5 months 3 to 5 months 3 to 5 months 3 to 5 months 3 to 5 months
Visa-free countries 129 128 124 125 119

The above programmes are applicable for the investor (aged 18+), their spouse, children up to the age of 28 years, and parents aged 55 and over.

Read: Stats show that ‘lower-income’ South Africans are also emigrating

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