How much it costs to ‘pay your way’ out of South Africa

 ·30 Dec 2023

Load shedding, crumbling service delivery, and political uncertainty have rocked South Africa’s economy in 2023, and the reality is that many South Africans – especially those who can afford it – are looking elsewhere to live and raise a family.

According to Sable International, there are over 100 countries where South Africans can get a second passport or residency by investing in them, and this adventure is very attractive for South Africa’s thriving community of high net-worth individuals (HNWIs).

Residence by investment programmes offers HNWIs the chance to gain residency or citizenship by making significant financial investments.

This not only provides a safety net in uncertain times but also unlocks access to international business networks and diverse investment landscapes.

While the costs involved and the types of programmes vary considerably, Sable International notes that price is one factor, and the country that is ultimately right for you also depends on the size of your family, whether you want to leave South Africa permanently, the period required to stay in the applied country, and application turnaround time.

Citizenship by investment often requires the most amount of investment than other avenues and, therefore, we looked at the cheapest way to live in another country – which is through residence by investment.

Some of the most popular destinations through residence by investment for many HNWIs, as outlined by Henley & Partners and Sable International, are listed below with the various requirements needed.


Grenada

Factors
Relocation requiredNo
Family that may be includedSpouse, children, financially dependent adult children up to the age of 29, financially dependent parents and grandparents, and single siblings with no children.
Timeline6 to 8 months
Minimum investment amount$150,000 NTF government donation or $220,000 real estate investment and $50,000 government contribution
Minimum stay requirementsNone
TotalBetween R2.84 million to R5.1 million

Portugal

Factors
Relocation requiredNo
Family that may be includedSpouse, children, unmarried financially dependant adult children who are enrolled in full-time education, and dependent parents/parents-in-law
Timeline18 months until first temporary residency visa is granted, seven to eight years until citizenship
Minimum investment amount€280,000, €350,000 and €500,000 real estate investment categories or €500,000 private equity fund
Minimum stay requirements18 months until the first temporary residency visa is granted, seven to eight years until citizenship
TotalBetween R5.7 million to R10.2 million

Ireland

Factors
Relocation requiredNot required to maintain Stamp 4 permanent residency. Yes, if you wish to apply for citizenship.
Family that may be includedSpouse, children, unmarried financially dependent adult children up to the age of 24 who are enrolled in full-time education
TimelineOne day per year to maintain residency. For citizenship, at least half of the minimum five-year period must be spent living in Ireland, and the 12 months prior to a citizenship application must be spent in Ireland.
Minimum investment amount€500,000 endowment, or €1 million enterprise investment, or €1 million investment fund, or €2 million real estate investment trust (REIT).
Minimum stay requirementsOne day per year to maintain residency. For citizenship, at least half of the minimum five-year period must be spent living in Ireland and the 12 months prior to a citizenship application must be spent in Ireland.
Total:Between R10.2 million and R40.8 million

Malta

Factors
Relocation requiredNo
Family that may be includedSpouse, children, unmarried financially dependent adult children under the age of 29, and financially dependent parents and grandparents above 55 years of age
Timeline2 months
Minimum investment amountOnly €100,000 and real estate purchase or five-year property lease. However, the main applicant is required to possess capital/assets of not less than €500,000, of which €150,000 must be in financial assets.
Minimum stay requirementsNone
TotalR12.6 million

Mauritius

Factors
Relocation requiredNo
Family that may be includedSpouses or partners, parents, and unmarried, financially dependent children (including stepchildren and adopted children) of any age who are not gainfully occupied.
Timeline6 to 8 months
Minimum investment amountMinimum real estate investment of $375,000.
Minimum stay requirementsAt least 183 days in that income year.
TotalR7.1 million

United Arab Emirates

Factors
Relocation requiredNo
Family that may be includedSpouse and children under the age of 18
Timeline6 to 8 months
Minimum investment amountMinimum investment of AED 2 million (approximately $550,000)
Minimum stay requirementsone day every 180 days
TotalR10.4 million

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