Many countries offer a second residency through ‘citizenship by investment’ programs. Some countries like Dominica, Portugal and St Kitts openly advertise them, while other countries may take a more confidential approach.
No matter what you have heard about the ‘Golden Visa’, a second residency has become a reality to many who have sought to reside or travel in countries other than their own.
Originally approached by cash strapped Euro-zone countries ‘residence by investment schemes’ were offered in the hope of attracting wealthy foreign investors to their shores. In recent years, many countries like Greece, Ireland, France, Britain and Australia have opted for similar incentive schemes by where granting you the possibility to obtain a Golden Visa (or so-called Investor Visa, real estate Visa) in exchange for a substantial investment into property, of around a million Euros.
For example, Portugal who conducts one of the most successful ‘Golden residency programs’, grants the investor second residency, but furthermore also the right to travel around the EU countries freely, following a consequential investment into their property or construction sectors. These schemes have, in the most attracted wealthy Asians, Russians and Americans.
The Chinese being by far the biggest buyers into these programs, as it has been reported that more than 20 Chinese nationals land in Cyprus each day searching for property to invest in.
Of the programs and schemes for second residency that are being introduced by countries attracting foreign investment, the prices may vary from 300,000 Euro’s up to millions.
How does South Africa tally up with investor and second residency?
Firstly South Africa doesn’t offer investor Visa type schemes but rather an Independent Financial Permit, and there are some huge benefits to this permit for those who seek a second residency.
Key points to the permit
The South African Independent Permit is based on the applicants’ net wealth. The required net wealth of the applicant is 12 Million Rand.
None of the required 12 million rand needs to be brought over to South Africa.
Also the permit doesn’t dictate that the applicant has to buy property, invest into a South African business nor in state bonds or similar.
The Department of Home Affairs charges R120,000, but this is only payable should the application be successful.
One of the major benefits of the financial independent permit,is that the successful applicant is granted permanent residency. This entitles the holder to work or run a business if they so wish.
Those permit holders who choose not to reside in South Africa may maintain their residency by visiting the country once every three years.
South Africa has a residency based tax system so those not residing in South Africa should see no change in their tax situation.
Those seeking to obtain a second residency , with less stringent requirements than many of the European schemes, no investment requirements and the option to and with to run a business or work may find the Independent Financial Permit a very valid alternative.