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Acquiring a second citizenship or a permanent residency in another country is becoming a priority for many expats who want to benefit from the many career opportunities made available as a result of globalisation. Citizenship of certain countries also offers greater freedom of travel – and in certain instances improved safety and security.

Getting the best of both worlds

An expat with residency or citizenship in multiple jurisdictions benefits from the best practices of each country and they’re often in a position to avoid many of the pitfalls associated with just a single residency. In addition they have additional flexibility when it comes to educational choices including career and business opportunities.

Citizenship by investment

Citizenship by investment involves buying a passport and entry into another country based on your property or cash investments in the country offering you citizenship. Usually the investor is able to keep their existing citizenship and passport – so their new passport becomes their second passport – allowing them the right to travel, trade and settle in their new country.

Resident by investment

Resident by investment is similar to citizenship by investment, but some countries only grant investors temporary residence. In other instances, if investors spend a certain number of years in the country, they can transfer their residency over into citizenship. As a resident of a country, you will be able to enjoy all the rights of their citizens – including the right to live, work, study and receive healthcare in that country.

The cheapest route to citizenship or permanent residency

For many South Africans citizenship by investment can be very costly, especially if the rand exchange rate is not favourable. For example Australia requires you to invest a minimum of AUD 1.5 million in a state or territory government security – this is in the region of R14 million, which for many can be prohibitive. For South Africans, the following countries offer the cheapest options for residency or a second citizenship

  1. Latvia: R954 848 – Visa-free/visa on arrival access to 170 countries
  2. Panama: R960 788 – Visa-free/visa on arrival travel to 129 countries
  3. St Lucia: R1 200 985 – Visa-free/visa on arrival travel to 132 countries
  4. Dominica: R1 200 985 – Visa-free/visa on arrival travel to 122 countries
  5. Antigua and Barbuda: R1 200 985 – Visa-free/visa on arrival travel to 140 countries
  6. St Kitts and Nevis: R1 801 477 – Visa- free/visa on arrival travel to 141 countries
  7. Grenada: R2 810 304 – Visa-free/visa on arrival travel to 130 countries
  8. Portugal: R3 million – Visa-free/visa on arrival travel to 177 countries
  9. Bulgaria: R7 557 377 – Visa-free/bias on arrival travel to 154 countries
  10. Malta: R8.2million – Visa-free/visa on arrival travel to 173 countries

To qualify for any of these programmes, you need to be over the age of 18. No matter what programme you decide on, you will still have to undergo strict financial checks and have an impeccable personal and business reputation.

If you are a South African planning on moving abroad or living abroad and would like to know more about how you can maximise your finances through financial emigration, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact FinGlobal today.