Researching your options in terms of golden visa programmes available to South African nationals? Find out more about the available schemes in our Golden Visa Programme Summary below, or contact Maiden & Associates to discuss your immigration needs today.

But if you read nothing else, here’s the gist:

In late 2018, you still have the chance to get a Plan B in place for an investment of only €150,000.

The bad news?

Public sentiment in Europe is fast shifting towards increased regulation of investment immigration programmes, making NOW the only time you may be able to gain a foothold in Europe this affordably.

Want the ultimate back-up plan for your family?

There are various countries, both in the EU and beyond, offering some form of a programme whereby you can obtain either residency, or even citizenship, by means of investing in property or by starting a business. Even better – you can obtain EU residency rights for your spouse or children, without the need to invest in property or actually settle in the EU to achieve this.

As a leading second residency and immigration consultancy based in South Africa, Maiden & Associates can help you navigate the complexities of obtaining a golden visa or second residency with ease.

Want expert advice fast? Contact us now.

Contact us now to discuss your international residency and investment needs, or find out more about the various golden visa and citizenship by investment options available to South African citizens and those holding dual citizenship, as well as how you can obtain your spouse, life partner and children an EU residency – even if they don’t qualify for an EU passport.

Things you need to know about Golden Visas

A key notion to debunk at the outset is that you can outright “buy” citizenship in all countries offering a golden visa or investment residency programme:

Residency rights do not equate to citizenship, and is not always a precursor to obtaining a full citizenship. In some instances, such as is the case with the new long term Thai Elite Visa Programme and Investment Residency Programme in Thailand, you’ll get the benefit of a long term visa (you can live in Thailand for up to 20 years) and a host of added value benefits – but you’ll not become eligible for citizenship.

EU Countries offering Golden Visa Programmes

The following EU countries will grant you residence-by-investment rights:

Golden Visa Ireland: Ireland offers a popular Immigrant Investor Programme, under which a €500,000 qualified investment (starting a company, making a donation to the state, or investing in real estate or government bonds) will earn you and your family permanent residence for 5 years. If you spent 5 years living in Ireland on an uninterrupted basis, you will become eligible to apply for Irish Citizenship after 5 years.

Golden Visa United Kingdom: You can obtain permanent residence rights in the UK on an entrepreneur investor visa by investing £200,000, or by making an approved investment of £2 million as a Tier 1 Investor. You will become eligible to apply for citizenship subject to having PR status and leave to remain indefinitely being granted. To achieve PR status, you will, however, need to spend 9 months per year in-country.

Golden Visa Portugal: By investing in a residential property in a government defined “regeneration zone”, you can obtain a Portuguese Golden Visa for you and your family from only €350,000 (total investment value once a property has been renovated). Outside of regeneration zone properties, the minimum investment value required is €500,000.

Golden Visa Spain: In Spain, a property investment of no less than €500,000 can secure you and your family residency rights under the Spanish Golden Visa Programme. There is no requirement to permanently reside in-country. Permanent residency is awarded after 5 years, and you become eligible to apply for citizenship after 10 years. You will immediately become eligible for visa free travel to and within all Schengen States.

Golden Visa Malta: Launched in 2015, the Malta Residence and Visa Programme (MRVP) enables you to secure a valid EU residence permit legally. Under Malta’s Golden Visa Programme, you can acquire a Maltese residence permit that allows you and your family to live in Malta and travel visa free to all other Schengen countries. In order to qualify, you’ll need to:

  1. Invest €250,000 in government bonds for 5 years or more
  2. Make an additional contribution of €30,000 to the government of Malta
  3. Spend around €40,000 in legal and processing fees.

As an alternative to investing in bonds, you also have the option to purchase a property (worth €270,000 or more in Gozo, or €320,000 or more in Malta), or you could rent a property for either €10,000 or more per annum in Gozo or €12,000 per annum in Malta. Once these conditions are met, the government grants you, your spouse and your children up to the age of 26 an indefinite residency. Your parents and grandparents may be eligible for residence as well.

Also be sure to check out the Malta Global Residency Program here.

Golden Visa Latvia: While countries like Spain and Portugal are widely known for their Golden Visa schemes, Latvia has quietly emerged as one of the cheapest Golden Visa Programmes in the world. By making an €80,000 business investment in-country, or by investing €250,000 in an approved Latvian property, you and your family can gain permanent residence for 5 years straight off the bat.

Greece Golden Visa: With a view to aid Greece’s economic recovery, the government launched the Greek Golden Visa Programme in July 2013. The minimum eligible property investment requirement is also €250,000, however the total cost, inclusive of professional service fees and property taxes come to around €300,000.

Non-EU countries offering Golden Visa Programmes – 2018

The following non European Union countries also offer attractive residency by investment programmes:

Bulgaria: Bulgaria offers you the ability to obtain residency and citizenship by investment in Europe through government bonds.

Hungary: Hungary too offers you the ability to obtain citizenship and residency by investing in government bonds.

Cyprus: A minimum qualified investment of €300,000 or more can earn you and your family permanent residency status in Cyprus for up to 2 years, subject to period renewals.

Thailand: Thailand’s Thai Elite program offers various packages offering from 5 years PR to 20 years PR, depending on the size of the investment. The country also recently launched the Thailand property residency programme, although realistically it offers even less permanent residency traction than the Portuguese programme.

Turkey Golden Visa Programme: Cusped by the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey offers South African nationals, in particular, an excellent “Plan B” or retirement option. While the country is not part of the EU, it is situated a stone’s throw from most of Europe’s most desirable destinations. While the Turkish residency by investment options aren’t packaged as a Turkish Golden Visa Programme per se, permanent residency rights can be obtained by purchasing a property. And with prime sea facing residential units’ prices starting from only €29,000, this is one of the most attractive and affordable second residency options available to South Africans today.

Second Citizenship Programmes

The following countries offer second citizenship programmes – that is to say, the potential option to buy citizenship outright by means of property or business investment, or by making a contribution to government-prescribed development funds or causes:

Cyprus: A minimum qualified investment of €2 million will make you eligible for citizenship in Cyprus.

Grenada: A qualified real estate investment of $350,000 will earn you citizenship in Grenada, and dependent parents over the age of 65 can be eligible. Citizenship will see you enjoying visa free travel to over 100 countries worldwide, including all EU / Schengen countries.) You will also not be taxed on your worldwide income.

Alternatively, you can also make a $200,000 donation to the National Transformation Fund (NTF).

Malta: Maltese citizenship can be acquired by making an approved investment of €1,150,000 or more.

The US EB5 Immigrant Investor Programme (aka the Green Card Visa)

The EB5 visa programme enables eligible immigrant investors to become permanent residents in a legitimate manner. Often referred to as the “green card” visa, this program gives you the ability to gain residence in the USA by investing at least $1 million to finance a US based business that will employ at least 10 Americans.”

Want any more information on how you can obtain a second residency or outright citizenship in Europe?

Contact us today.