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Are you looking for a safety net as a Saffa, just in case you one day in the future (or even soon) want to get out of the country? What are your second residency options and costs? If the answers to these questions are, “yes” and “I don’t know,” then you are not alone.

Firstly if you are wondering whether South Africa allows dual nationality, the answer is yes. However, specific requirements need to be met to retain your South African citizenship while registering as a citizen of another country. All adults aged eighteen and above must make an application to retain their South African citizenship.

This application must be made to and approved by the South African Department of Home Affairs and must be done before attaining citizenship in another country. Once approved, you will be sent a ‘Letter of Retention.’ If the application to retain citizenship is not made, it is automatically revoked upon receipt of the new citizenship. 

South Africans who obtain foreign citizenship before their eighteenth birthday do not have to apply for dual nationality and therefore do not lose their South African nationality by default.   

Emigrate from South Africa

Why South Africans want second residency options

Work opportunities, education, healthcare, and quality of life are just some reasons South Africans cite when they emigrate from South Africa. However, often the thought of taking a permanent leap into the unknown is too daunting for people leaving South Africa. Therefore, the lure of dual nationality is a far better prospect.

Covid-19 has made people reassess their physical position globally and view countries that can offer robust healthcare and efficient vaccine roll-outs as their potential homes of the future. Gone are the rose-tinted spectacles of life in the sun replaced by the harsh reality of a virus that has forced people to rethink their future in South Africa. Subsequently, red-list travel restrictions imposed by first-world countries have prevented South Africans abroad from visiting their loved ones and vice versa. This has also dramatically increased the number of South Africans leaving South Africa. 

Second residency hurdles

For most South Africans, the possibility of leaving South Africa is limited to their lack of ancestral links to other countries. Usually, residency permits, visas, and citizenship are granted to those who can prove their right of abode. The citizenship route is lengthy and costly and often requires stipulated time frames in which immigrants are expected to live and work in the country. This can prove frustrating, especially if you are looking for a second residency option without immediately taking up that residency.

However, these issues are no longer a stumbling block. There is a wealth of CBI programs (Citizens By Investment) offered by countries across the globe. These countries request a real estate investment or a donation to the government, allowing for dual citizenship in return. Sound like the answer to your ’help me leave South Africa’ woes? 

What are the second residency options & what do they cost?

Countries in Europe that offer CBI and residency options to South Africans include Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta, and Portugal. However, most of these countries require a substantial real estate investment and have rigorous requirements for obtaining citizenship. This, coupled with the fact that potential citizens must reside in the country for stipulated periods to qualify for a residency, is often a big negative for those seeking dual citizenship. 

However, there is an alternative route, and that is via the lovely Caribbean. Caribbean countries such as St Lucia, Antigua, Barbuda, and Dominica offer direct and simplistic pathways to citizenship and dual passports. The biggest plus is that you are not obligated to reside in or visit the country to qualify for citizenship. They are also great residency options for those looking for tax-friendly jurisdictions. This is a definite plus for those affected by the tax rule change that came into effect in March 2021. Check out our article on financial emigration South Africa 2021.

Additionally, there are no language requirements, and the process usually takes a short six months to complete. This safety net is exactly what Saffa’s are looking for when considering a second residency option. The no-pressure flexibility of dual citizenship without the hoop-jumping and proverbial red tape. 

As with everything in life, there is a cost involved. The required property investment starts at a little over R3.3m for a family of four or a government donation starting at R1.5m. Generally, you can rent out the investment property, which provides you with rental returns. Or, you can sell the property after a specific holding period. Some property developers even offer a guarantee to buy back the property after a certain length of time.

But the benefits don’t stop there. For example, South Africans have extended visa-free access to first-world countries such as the UK, US, and Eurozone with a Caribbean passport. Other excellent passport choices include the Vanuatu and Grenadian Passport, which offer access to multiple countries and a large variety of investment, work, residency, and study options. Seem like the answer to your immigration prayers?

While it represents a secondary residency option for South Africans leaving the country, dual nationality is also the answer for South Africans looking to improve their study, work, and travel opportunities abroad.

FinGlobal makes second residency easy

When obtaining residency in another country, you need to ensure that your finances and taxes are in order. You are obligated to advise SARS of your position and if you plan to emigrate your finances, you will need to go through a formal financial emigration process. This can seem daunting to the average person, but not when you have a member of the FinGlobal team on your side. We can assist you with aspects of getting your finances in order. Need more information and advice? Simply get in touch with us. You can contact us by telephone at +27 28 312 2764 or send us an email at info@finglobal.com.