The best countries where South Africans can buy a second passport right now – and how much it will cost

 ·27 Aug 2018

Professional Wealth Management (PWM) – a publication from the Financial Times – has released the 2018 CBI Index, ranking the world’s active citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes.

Alongside other benefits, CBI allows individuals to fast track a second citizenship and passport in return for investment into real estate or a donation into a government fund.

PWM notes that more investors worldwide – especially from China, Russia, and, increasingly, the Middle East and Africa – are attracted to the notion of obtaining dual nationality.

This trend is predicted to grow among global families affected by socio-political instability in their home countries, or international businesspersons seeking expanded visa-free travel and business opportunities.

Of all 13 CBI jurisdictions worldwide, Dominica spearheads the industry, scoring perfect marks in five of the seven pillars against which each programme is evaluated.

Four other Caribbean nations follow, with CBI pioneer St Kitts and Nevis as a strong contender.

The programmes assessed in this year’s CBI Index include those offered by Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Jordan, Malta, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Turkey, and Vanuatu.

The CBI Index measures seven areas, or pillars:

  • Due Diligence
  • Freedom of Movement
  • Standard of Living
  • Minimum Investment Outlay
  • Ease of Processing
  • Citizenship Timeline
  • Mandatory Travel or Residence

Independent researcher and architect of the CBI Index, James McKay, consider these the most critical elements of an investor’s decision-making process when choosing their second citizenship.

“The CBI Index is rapidly becoming the leading tool for investors to accurately measure the performance and appeal of global citizenship by investment programmes,” he explained.


Echoing the 2017 CBI Index results, Dominica remains the world’s best economic citizenship jurisdiction due to maintained high levels of timeliness and simplicity in process, an affordable investment threshold, and a robust due diligence framework.

This result is a testament to the small Caribbean nation’s CBI programme successfully withstanding the challenges presented by last year’s hurricane season, PWM said.

“Moreover, their latest Styrofoam and plastic ban initiative announcement earned Dominica widespread international accolades for being a responsible part of a Global Community – the exact mindset that guides the country’s leading CBI programme.

“Dominica further serves as a commendable example of how CBI funds can be used to improve the lives of its citizens, such as the recently announced construction of 5,000 new homes, financed entirely by the CBI programme,” it said.


Offering citizenship to successful single applicants for $100,000, Dominica and St Lucia scored highest for the minimum investment outlay pillar.

“Both Dominica and St Lucia have been accepting contributions of $100,000 for some time (St Lucia from the beginning of 2017), and were among a handful of Caribbean nations that did not lower their threshold requirements for single applicants in the wake of the September 2017 hurricane season,” explained PWM.

“Although, as of November 1, 2017, Antigua and Barbuda nominally require a $100,000 contribution for a single applicant, a substantial $25,000 government fee must also be added.”

Outside of the Caribbean countries, Vanuatu and Cambodia were close runners-up, the former offering citizenship to single applicants for an investment of less than or equal to $200,000 and the latter doing so for less than or equal to $300,000.

PWM noted that with their substantially higher investment requirements, the European countries achieved lower scores.

Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta extend citizenship forB GN1 million ($590,000), €2 million ($2.32 million), and €880,000 respectively.

Austria, whose requirements for citizenship are estimated to extend to several millions of euros, received the lowest ranking.

“Interestingly, the new citizenship by investment programmes of Jordan and Turkey have pitched their investment requirements very much in line with Europe. Turkey requires a minimum real estate investment of $1 million, while Jordan requires a $1 million investment in small and medium-sized enterprises, resulting in their being ranked together with Malta,” PWM said.

*Note that in some instances the cost of an application is the same for a single applicant, spouses and families. However, the below pricing applies generally to a single applicant.

Country Cost in dollars* Cost in rands
Dominica $100 000 R1 427 000
St Lucia $100 000 R1 427 000
Antigua and Barbuda $125 000 R1 784 000
St Kitts and Nevis $150 000 R2 141 000
Grenada $200 000 R2 855 000
Vanuatu $200 000 R2 855 000
Cambodia $300 000 R4 282 000
Bulgaria $590 000 R8 421 000
Malta $1 000 000 R14 273 000
Turkey $1 000 000 R14 273 000
Jordan $1 000 000 R14 273 000
Cyprus $2 320 000 R33 112 000
Austria $2 500 000+ R35 681 000+

Read: The 3 most popular countries for South Africans to emigrate to – and how much a house costs

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