6 countries where only super-rich South Africans can ‘buy’ citizenship – with one costing R138 million

 ·13 Jun 2024

Continued power outages, failing public services, political instability, and the recent enactment of the NHI have impacted South Africa in 2024, prompting many South Africans, especially those with the means, to relocate elsewhere.

The latest African Wealth Report for 2024 reveals that the number of millionaires in South Africa has decreased, with 400 wealthy individuals either leaving the country or losing their millionaire status in 2023.

This adds to the thousands of millionaires lost over the past decade.

The wealth report, published by international wealth advisory firm Henley & Partners in collaboration with global wealth intelligence partner New World Wealth, indicates that South Africa had 37,400 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) by the start of 2024.

This is 400 fewer than the 37,800 recorded at the end of 2022 and down 11,300 from the 48,700 recorded at the end of 2013.

The report’s authors attribute the decline in wealth in South Africa to two main factors: wealth erosion and emigration.

South Africans went to the polls on 29 May 2024, voting to make the most significant change to South Africa’s politics since 1994.

While many called for an ANC/DA coalition, the ruling party chose to form a Government of National Unity (GNU), with the parties forming part of this union still unclear.

This has added to the elevation of political risk and, therefore, rand weakness.

Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop said that just ten days after South Africa’s national election, the rand has run up back to R19.00/USD.

According to Henley & Partners, residence and citizenship by investment are becoming increasingly popular investment strategies for a wider group of investors.

This is due to the launch of attractive programs in more countries worldwide. Investors are looking to diversify their portfolios geographically while also gaining the added benefits of improved travel freedom and economic mobility. T

This provides a safety net in uncertain times and unlocks access to international business networks and diverse investment landscapes.

While the costs involved and the types of programs vary considerably, 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 the turnaround time for your application.

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

While countries such as the USA, Canada, and Australia are featured on this list, the most expensive citizenships to buy are in Asia, with Singapore being the most costly.

BusinessTech looked at the most expensive destinations through residence by investment for HNWIs, as outlined by Henley & Partners, which are listed below with the requirements.


Relocation requiredYes
Family that may be includedThe spouse of the investor and their children (under 21 years old) are eligible to apply for permanent residence under the investor’s application. Male dependents will be liable for national service.

Parents and unmarried children of the investor who are 21 years old and above are not eligible to be included in the application for permanent residence status, but they may instead apply for a five-year long-term visit pass.
Timeline9 to 12 months
Minimum investment amountSGD 10 million
Minimum stay requirementstwo years
TotalR138 million

Hong Kong

Relocation requiredYes
Family that may be includedA successful applicant may bring dependants (including spouses and unmarried dependent children aged under 18) to Hong Kong. They will normally be granted permission to stay for two years.
Timeline1 to 9 months
Minimum investment amountHKD 30 million
Minimum stay requirementsThe applicant must maintain the investment for at least seven years.
TotalR71.8 million

New Zealand

Relocation requiredNo
Family that may be includedResidence applicable to a spouse and dependent children up to the age of 24
Timeline8 to 9 months
Minimum investment amountNZD 5 million
Minimum stay requirements117 days within four years
TotalR57.3 million


Relocation requiredNo
Family that may be includedAbility to include a spouse and children under 23 who are financially dependent on the investor.
Timeline12 months
Minimum investment amountAUD 2.5 million
Minimum stay requirementsSpend at least two years of a five-year period in Australia
TotalR30.8 million


Relocation requiredNo
Family that may be includedCitizenship is applicable to individuals aged 18 and older. Dependent children under 18 can apply for citizenship by descent once both or one of their parents has received citizenship.
Timeline12 to 37 months
Minimum investment amount€200,000 (approximately $220,000)
Minimum stay requirementsThree years (or 1,095 days) of physical presence out of a five-year period
TotalR16.3 million

United States of America

Relocation requiredYes
Family that may be includedAbility to include a spouse and children who are under 21 years old and not married.
Timeline12 to 36 months
Minimum investment amount$800,000
Minimum stay requirementslived continuously in the USA for at least five years
TotalR15 million

Read: 8 most expensive countries for South Africans to visit right now

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