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Which Countries Grant Citizenship By Investment For South Africans

posted 1 year ago

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENS?

Given the recent disturbances and with COVID restrictions now mostly lifted worldwide, affluent South Africans are considering their options.

Why do South Africans want a second passport? What are the benefits of a second citizenship for South Africans?

“Many have no wish to leave the country, but having a second passport can be a very effective risk management strategy,” says Mr. Bastien Trelcat, Managing Partner of Harvey Law Group (HLG).

HLG has 30 years’ experience in immigration law and offices around the world, including South Africa.

WHAT ARE ALL THE MAIN OPTIONS FOR GETTING A NEW CITIZENSHIP?

There are three pathways to citizenship. The first option is citizenship by ancestry. Many (over 40) countries offer citizenship by ancestry, usually at lease one grandparent who was from that country, but that can be a difficult criterion to meet.

A second option is to gain citizenship by first getting residence. How this works is one makes an investment over a qualifying period and then applies for citizenship.

A number of European destinations, including Malta, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, and Greece, have been popular for this, notable through government approved real estate projects however, the qualifying period is usually at least 5 years and, in some cases, longer.

The third option is citizenship by investment, which is most the most appealing choice for many South Africans as many do not require residency or physical presence for the application. Five Caribbean countries – Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Kitts & Nevis – offer these programs, as does one pacific nation, Vanuatu.

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA CITIZENSHIP PROGRAM

Taking the first one, Antigua and Barbuda, as an example, we will outline the advantages of these programs and why a large number of South Africans are opting for it. 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET CITIZENSHIP IN ANTIGUA & BARBUDA? 

“Quite simply this is one of the least expensive citizenship-by-investment program in the world,” clarifies Mr. Trelcat.. There are two paths: a donation or a real estate investment. 

A donation of at least USD 100,000 to the National Development Fund (NDF) for a family of up to 4 persons or USD 125,000 for a family of 5 or more is permitted.  

Alternatively, make a donation of at least USD 150,000 for a family of 6 or more to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Development Fund, including USD 15,000 for each additional dependent. 

CAN YOU INCLUDE OTHERS ON YOUR APPLICATION? CAN IT COVER MY WHOLE FAMILY?

If the first favourable aspect is the relatively low cost, the second is the parameters. Antigua and Barbuda grants citizenship for life and to future generations.  

Dependents can include your spouse, children up to 30 years of age, parents over 55, and unmarried siblings of the applicant or spouse of any age. 

WHAT OTHER REQUIREMENTS ARE THERE FOR AN ALTERNATIVE CITIZENSHIP IN ANTIGUA & BARBUDA?

Third, the requirements are fairly reasonable. There is no language requirement.  No career or education requirements. The residential requirement is also minimal–5 days in 5 years. 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ALTERNATIVE CITIZENSHIP?

Fourthly, it is quick, with processing times usually ranging from three to six months.

CAN I GAIN CITIZENSHIP BY OWNING PROPERTY IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA? 

A second path is investing in real estate. The amount committed must be at least USD 200,000 in government-approved real estate. You must retain your investment for 5 years for it to be valid.    

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT IN ANTIGUA & BARBUDA FOR SOUTH AFRICANS?

The advantages are significant.  Holders of the Antigua and Barbuda passport get visa-free or visa on arrival access at more than 150 countries.  

IS THE ANTIGUA & BARBUDA PASSPORT A GOOD ONE?

That makes travel easier. It includes 50 % more countries than a South African passport.  It includes many of the most desirable destinations, such as the Schengen Area (most of Europe), the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Singapore. 

What are the tax considerations in Antigua & Barbuda?

Next, the tax regime has zero personal taxes (no income tax, no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax, no wealth tax on worldwide income or assets).  You do have to pay tax on income generated in Antigua & Barbuda, but the rate is only up to 25 %.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO RETAIN MY SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENSHIP WHILE ALSO HOLDING A SECOND CITIZENSHIP?

With the grant of citizenship, you can also live, work, and settle in any other member of the CARICOM nations. Antigua & Barbuda also allow multiple citizenships and do not require you to relinquish your South African citizenship.  

WHERE CAN I GET ADVICE AND ASK QUESTIONS?

Filling out the application, obtaining all the necessary documentation, and understanding all the details. Many people who have had previous success in the past recommend seeking professional advice. 

Harvey Law Group (HLG) is a leading multinational law firm with over 20 offices worldwide, including in South Africa.   

HLG provides legal and advisory services to individuals and families on immigration, residency and citizenship, across Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

 

HOW TO OBTAIN MORE INFORMATION?

For more information, please visit https://harveylawcorporation.com/antigua-and-barbuda-citizenship/ or if you have questions and would like to speak to one of our staff, please email us at [email protected]

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