With the current crime statistics in South Africa rising by the second, a lot of wealthy consider a second passport, alternatively residence in a relative safe and secure country.  A second passport or second citizenship is a symbol of ultimate luxury to the wealthy.  According to the Independent it provides an impressive status symbol and convenience. (Coffey, 2019).

If you have the money, you do not need to be bothered to dig up any of your grandparents’ birth certificates or apply for an unabridged birth certificate of grandma/grandpa to proof their birth location.  All you need to do is to purchase a new citizenship by way of Investment or invest in another jurisdiction to afford your children proper education and a health system that works.

Today, several Citizen by Investment Programs (CIP’s) exist. Different countries such as Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia and Vanuatu, to name but a few, offer these CIP’s.  

Some of these CIP’s require that an investor makes a donation or an investment in prior selected programs such as real estate schemes or other government investment funds.  By making such investments, individuals can obtain a second citizenship, commonly known as a second passport fairly quickly.  

For the wealthy, a second citizenship is more than just getting another passport.  There are certain other advantages attached to it too.  By purchasing a second citizenship one can create another residence in a country where tax burdens are lower than your current country.

For the wealthy South African, this is a huge plus. If, for instance, you are a business man who has benefitted from working 183 days a year, 60 of which is required to be consecutive, outside the borders of South Africa, you will carry a tax burden as of 1 March 2020.  It is thus advisable to get proper tax advice on this issue.

Second Citizenship in St Kitts and Nevis

By purchasing a second citizenship in St Kitts for a family of four at $ 300 000, it is required that an application contributes towards the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), a  charitable organization, which was established in 2006, with the primary focus and purpose of assisting the St Kitts in transitioning from a sugar-based economy, to one that is more diversified. Foreign nationals who contribute the qualifying amount which is starting at USD 250,000 for one individual and meet the other Program requirements, may apply for citizenship. This excludes fees.  

These fees amount to USD7,500 for the main applicant, and USD4,000 for each dependent of the main application aged 16 and over. Unmarried dependent children who are older than 18 but younger than 30 can also be included in the application. Similarly, and importantly, dependent parents aged 55 or above may also be included.

By purchasing a second citizenship in St Kitts for instance, you will have the following advantages:

·      Obtain citizenship for life in three months

·      Ability to include family members in the application

·      Fast processing time and transparent requirements

·      Visa-free travel to 132 countries

·      Minimal taxation, including no worldwide income, inheritance, gift, and net worth tax, and no estate duty

·      Full residence status and the right to live and work in St. Kitts and Nevis

·      Dual citizenship is allowed, and citizenship is not reported anywhere, ensuring privacy

·      Business haven - excellent incentives for business and investment

·      No requirement to attend an interview

·      No requirement to reside in St Kitts and Nevis

·      No minimum level of English requirement

This is, however, not the only method to obtain citizenship in St Kitts.  One can also invest in property of USD 400,000 inapproved residential properties, such as luxury villas and condominium units. By investing in property, applicants may obtain the additional benefits of owning a second home or holiday property, and possibly receiving a return on their investment, opposed to a capital donation of USD 300,000 in SIDF. Real estate may be resold after five years. All amounts are in USD.

Cyprus as an Option

Another option is Cyprus.  Quick but expensive.  Within 56 days one can become a citizen by investing €2m in real estate, government bonds, a bank deposit in a Cyprus bank or investment in a new company. The only “snag” is that one will have to own a €500,000 home in Cyprus, forever.

Malta Citizenship

If you fancy the Knights of Malta and you have enough money, you can purchase Maltese citizenship by donating €650,000 to a government fund, plus an investment of €150,000 in Maltese government bonds for five years; and the purchase of a home on the main island costing at least €350,000 or the five-year lease of a property for at least €16,000pa.  This roughly totals to €2 m of which €650,000 is never to be recovered.

Buying a second citizenship is not the only option. You can also invest in programs for permanent residence and obtain a passport after some time has lapsed. Different countries have different programs.

If you are interested in any of these programs, please contact us.  The examples given above is not the only options available.  Each country has different requirements and investments differ. After all, if you can afford to buy a second citizenship and live in a safe country with relative low crime, it is wise to consider given there is no price on safety.