Want the ultimate back-up plan for your family? Discover the EU Citizenship programs available to South African families – get in touch today for a free consultation based on your specific needs.

Citizenship vs Permanent Residency

Permanent residency is a generally a precursor to full citizenship. EU Treaty Rights form the legal basis upon which you could obtain permanent residency in the European Union. Under this legislation, you can legally gain the ability to work, live, study and travel visa-free anywhere in the EU.

A key factor to bear in mind is that the country you’d like to move to might not have the most efficient second citizenship processes in place. That’s why Maiden & Associates recommends making your second residency application through a number of preferred jurisdictions. We have developed substantial infrastructure and bureaucratic relationships in these jurisdictions, making your EU residency application, and eventual transition to citizenship, should you choose this, a lot simpler and more convenient.

Our simple 7-step process

Buying full EU Citizenship outright – what are my options?

With most Golden Visa and Residency by Investment programs across the world, the path to full citizenship is a process that can span up to 5 years. This approach will typically see you moving from long stay visa or permanent residence to becoming eligible to apply for citizenship, in most cases with some sort of a requirement to reside in-country for a minimum number of days per year.

For those able to make a more sizeable investment, however, there is the option to buy full citizenship and get a passport immediately upon application approval. Two EU countries offering full citizenship and passports for sale are Cyprus and Malta. Find out more about their citizenship investment requirements below:

The Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program

By 2012, at a time when the EU part of the island nation was mired in a financial crisis, the Cyprus Government launched a “buy citizenship” program with a view to supplement its income. Upon launch, it was priced at an eye-watering €10 million, and uptake, predictably, was disappointing. The minimum eligible investment required to obtain a passport was subsequently dropped to €2 million.

Since this adjustment was announced, uptake has sky-rocketed, with the citizenship scheme now being one of the country’s largest sources of income. To make the product even more appealing, it can now take you as little as 4 months to obtain full citizenship.

The investment must be maintained for a minimum of 3 years only, making this a highly attractive option for affluent South Africans wishing to internationalise their lives and enjoy the benefits of visa-free travel to and within the EU.

The Malta Citizenship by Investment Program

Given its central location and the fact that the Malta passport gives you visa free travel rights to 166 countries, it is one of the most powerful EU passports available to South Africans. Obtaining EU citizenship grants you and your family the right of establishment in all 28 Schengen States, making it very useful as a back-up plan against soci0-economic and political risks in your country of origin.

Also branded as the Malta Individual Investor Program (or Malta IIP, for short),  this citizenship program is aimed at attracting high net worth individuals and families to the country as economic citizens.

At a total investment requirement of around€1.2 million, this is typically a citizenship product for high net worth families only. In order to become eligible for Maltese citizenship, you’ll be expected to be of good standing, and to take the following steps:

  • Make a minimum contribution of €650,000 towards the Maltese Government Development Fund
  • Contribute an additional €25,000 per family member (spouse and dependent children aged 18 to 26).
  • Contribute an additional €50,000 per dependent parent aged 55+
  • Make an additional €150,000 investment into a government approved instrument
  • Purchase a property in Malta worth no less than €350,000
  • Commit to maintaining your residency for a period of 5 years.

This investment will obtain you and your family the rights to work, live and study in any Schengen State. Future dependents are eligible to apply for citizenship as well. The Maltese citizenship scheme is consequently one of the most popular in the world, despite the country’s diminutive size.

The Malta Residency Visa Program (Indefinite)

Another option available for “buying” residence in Malta is the Malta Residency Visa Program. It grants residency rights to international investors on an indefinite basis, provided that you make a minimum investment of €250,000 in Maltese Government bonds for a period of no less than 5 years. Additional requirements include:

  • Making an additional contribution of €30,000 to the Malta Government
  • Pay around €40,000 in legal and processing fees
  • Purchase a qualifying property of €270,000 in Gozo, or €320,000 in Malta, or rent a property for €10,000 per annum in Gozo or €12,000 per annum in Malta.

Under this residency program, dependent children under the age of 26, as well as parents and grand parents may qualify as well.

For more information on additional countries selling citizenship and residency worldwide, click here.

Key considerations for obtaining EU citizenship

Looking for cheaper EU citizenship alternatives?

Using Maiden & Associates’ proven approach to EU residency applications in a number of popular EU jurisdictions, you and your family could obtain EU residency for a fraction of a price of typical Golden Visa investments or EU Citizenship programs. Contact us for more information and to discover your options for obtaining EU residency today.