Residency by Investment for South Africans

Discover the benefits and opportunities of Residency by Investment for South Africans seeking to explore new horizons and expand their global footprint.

Residency by Investment for South Africans can be obtained via numerous ways and through various types of programmes available. Residency by Investment (RBI) programmes offer an attractive pathway for South Africans seeking to relocate to other countries for various reasons, including business opportunities, lifestyle enhancements, or future planning. 

Canada Start-Up Visa Program

The Canada Start Up Visa Program is a government-approved Permanent Residence Program administered by the Federal Government, offering a pathway to contribute to Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem while enjoying the privileges and rights of permanent residency.

Approved investors can obtain a permanent status in Canada for themselves and their families while building certain businesses in Canada and creating jobs for Canadians.

The minimum investment requirement is CAD 1.2 million, there are financing options available for South African investors. 

South Africans do need to have the intention to settle in Quebec, as part of the residency criteria. 

The visa is typically issued between 24 to 36 months. It provides a gateway to Canadian citizenship, offering a diverse cultural experience and a robust economy. 

Greece Golden Visa Programme

Known as the Greece Golden Visa Programme, Greece’s Residence by Investment Programme has been in operation since 2014 and is considered one of the most affordable programmes that provides access to Europe.

The Programme is the ideal solution for non-EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals seeking the freedom to live, undertake business, and study in Greece, or to travel across the Schengen Area.

The Mediterranean Island of Greece has become an attractive location for South Africans seeking residency in Europe.

Investment requirements start from EUR250,000 in real estate properties. And there are flexible residency requirements.

The visa processing time varies, depending on additional requirements.

Greece provides access to the European Union and a Mediterranean lifestyle. Any real estate investment can be sold after a certain holding period.

Italy Investor Visa

Italy’s Investor Visa enables applicants to receive residence of Italy in return for a qualifying investment.

Investment Requirement: EUR2 million in government bonds or EUR1 million in an Italian company.

South Africans are required to reside in Italy for at least 183 days a year. And the investor visa processing time ranges between two to three months.

The Italian visa offers access to the Schengen Area. Italy is renowned for its cultural heritage and ideal location.


Monaco is a glamourous principality on the French Riveria and is widely considered to be one of the wealthiest places in the world.

Monaco’s investment visa allows South Africans to contribute towards purchasing real estate and rental properties. 

South Africans need to stay in Monaco for at least six months a year. 

The processing time will vary depending on the application requirements. 

Monaco offers a luxurious lifestyle, no personal income tax, and a secure environment to work and live. 

Portugal Golden Visa Programme

Known as the Golden Residence Permit Programme, Portugal’s Residence by Investment Programme has been operating since October 2012.

It is the ideal solution for non-European citizens seeking the freedom to live and work in Portugal and travel across the Schengen Area.

Portugal’s Golden Visa programme is one of the most popular in Europe for South Africans. It provides access to the Schengen Area, and after five years, investors can apply for Portuguese citizenship.  

The Golden Visa Programme offers flexibility in investment options, including real estate, job creation, or capital transfer.  

Real estate investments start from EUR350,000 to EUR500,000, and South Africans are required to reside in Portugal for a certain period. 

The visa processing time takes between four to six months. 

Singapore Global Investor Programme (GIP) 

Singapore’s Global Investor Programme (GIP) grants permanent residence status to eligible investors who drive growth in the country’s economy.

The GIP is aimed at high-net-worth individuals and encourages successful businesspeople and entrepreneurs to invest in new or existing business ventures, a GIP-approved fund, or a new or existing Singapore-based family office.

The Singapore GIP requires a minimum investment contribution of SGD2.5 million in a new business or expansion of an existing one. 

South African are required to invest into a qualifying business in Singapore. 

The Singapore GIP application process is between six to twelve months. 

Singapore is a global business hub with a transparent legal system. Residency can lead to citizenship. 

Spain Golden Visa Programme

Spain’s Golden Visa Programme, provision for which was made in 2013, is one of the industry’s most popular Residence by investment programmes.

This golden visa allows South Africans to invest from EUR500,000 into real estate, government bonds, or business projects in Spain. 

South Africans need to spend at least 183 days in Spain, to qualify for the Golden Visa. The application takes a couple of months, depending on the investment option selected. 

Spain offers a diverse culture, access to the European Union, and a favourable Mediterranean climate. 

Switzerland: Swiss Lump-Sum Taxation 

Switzerland is a federal republic made up of 26 cantons and is one of the most attractive countries in the world for conducting business.

A non-EU/EFTA national who does not plan to undertake gainful activity in Switzerland can become a Swiss resident if a Swiss canton confirms a fiscal interest in that individual taking up residence.

This is not a typical RBI programme, as South Africans can invest a minimum of CHF250,000. The investment requirement varies by canton (usually substantial). 

Switzerland, a federal republic comprising 26 cantons, is renowned as a highly attractive global business destination. 

However, individuals not intending to engage in economic activities in Switzerland can obtain residency if a Swiss canton acknowledges a fiscal interest in their residence.  

This unique approach reflects Switzerland’s selective and nuanced approach to welcoming residents, emphasising a connection with the cantonal fiscal interests rather than a standard investment route. 

South Africans are required to reside in Switzerland for an extended period, which will lead to citizenship eligibility. 

Switzerland boasts political stability, one of the strongest economies in the world, and a high quality of life. 

United Arab Emirates (UAE) Golden Visa 

Established in 2019, theUAE Golden Visa is a long-term residence visa which enables foreign talents to live, work or study in the UAE while enjoying exclusive benefits.

Investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes are among those eligible for the Golden Visa.

A progressing visa option is the UAE Golden Visa, attracting South Africans and their families to the country. 

The investment requirements vary, depending on which investment option selected, these being real estate, business, or financial investment. 

The residency criteria depend on the chosen investment option, as each have their own requirements. 

South Africans do not have to wait long to process their Golden Visa application. 

The UAE provides economic prosperity, a tax-free environment, and a modern lifestyle. 

United States of America (USA) EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

South Africans need to invest either US$ 900,000 or US$1.8 million in a new commercial enterprise. 

South Africans can be granted with a conditional Green Card initially, leading to permanent residency. 

The processing time varies, but generally several months to a few years. 

The USA offers diverse opportunities, world-class education, and healthcare. The EB-5 Program can lead to citizenship.