Top five alternative citizenships for South Africans

There are few limitations and many options when it comes to alternative citizenships for South Africans. Let’s take a look. 

Citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes have increased in popularity in recent years. These programmes have proven to be win-win solutions for both investors and host countries and alternative citizenships for South Africans are no exception. 

Staying relevant  

Many countries are joining and exiting the investment migration industry for political and economic reasons. The main reason being, that they want more control over their immigration policies. In 2023, there have been changes to some European Union CBI programmes.

For example; the Citizenship by Investment Malta (MEIN) Programme, which attracts foreign investors with its favourable business environment, is now limited to 400 applicants annually.

The requirements include investors to reside in Malta for 36 months followed by a minimum investment of €600,000 (ZAR12,100,000); or they are required to submit a minimum investment of €750,000 (ZAR15,200,000), after being a resident for 12 months.

Concurrently, Portugal’s Residency by Investment Programme (otherwise referred to as the Golden Residence Permit Programme) is amending their Mais Habitacao (More Housing) Bill and other policies in an attempt to keep the programme open to global investors. These amendments included removing their real estate investments and capital transfer investment options. The amendments will come into effect once approved by parliament, validated by the President of Portugal and then published.

It is these amendments and innovative approach that keeps alternative citizenship programmes relevant and reputable.

With these limitations in mind, it is highly recommended that South Africans consider looking into the Eastern Caribbean region, which offers five alternative citizenship options.

Caribbean CBI programmes continue to impress

The Eastern Caribbean has a collection of islands that are all unique in shape and size, each boasting welcoming tropical nature that is warm all year round.

In 1984, the Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis became the first in the world to introduce the CBI programme. Its CBI offering remains the longest standing today.

A remarkable example of how brilliant a CBI programme can be. St Kitts and Nevis was at the heart of the sugar trade industry under British occupation in 1684. But after gaining independence in the 1900s the country introduced beet sugar as an alternative. Subsequently the “Sugar Industry Diversification Fund” was launched under the country’s new CBI programme. The Programme allowed the Federation to develop its tourism industry, which soon became the backbone of the local economy.

Although the Sustainable Growth Fund later replaced this option, St Kitts and Nevis remains an upper-middle-class country with robust healthcare services and a high literacy rate.

The beauty of investing through the Caribbean CBI programmes is that South Africans do not have to meet residency requirements attached to their application processes. This creates flexibility to be anywhere in the world during the application process. These alternative citizenship options have favourable business conditions and are predominantly economically and politically stable. 

South African family members can also benefit from the Caribbean alternative citizenship options. 

Also Read: Caribbean CBI countries ranked high in World Citizenship Report 2023

Top five alternative citizenships for South Africans

Let’s take a look at some of the Caribbean CBI offers available to South Africans.

1. Antigua and Barbuda

The Antigua and Barbuda CBI Programme offers South Africans alternative citizenship with a selection of four investment options that serve unique purposes. 

  • The National Development Fund (NDF) requires a one-time payment in a form of a minimum donation of US$100,000 (ZAR1,800,000) for a family of four, and for larger families, it is US$125,000 (ZAR2,300,000).
  • The Pre-Approved Real Estate Option requires South Africans to hold the property for a minimum of five years, after investing a minimum of US$200,000 (ZAR3,700,000);
  • The Business Option has a minimum independent investment of US$1,500,000 (ZAR28,000,000) and a total investment value of US$5,000,000 (ZAR93,000,000) in joint investments; and
  • The University of the West Indies Fund (UWIF) is a donation made to the university. It has a Government Processing Fee of US$15,000 (ZAR280,000) included in the investment amount of U$150,000 (ZAR2,800,000) for a family of six. The UWIF investment option covers one year of tuition fees for one of the family members that wish to attend the university. 

There are Government Processing Fees applied with the NDF, Pre-Approved Real Estate Option, and Business Option. 

2. Dominica

Considered as the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean”, Dominica is one of the most affordable alternative citizenship options in the Caribbean. South Africans can secure their alternative citizenship from  US$100,000 (ZAR1,800,000).

The Dominica CBI Programme has two unique investment options that South Africans can choose from.

  • The Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) requires a minimum contribution of US$100,000 (ZAR1,800,000) for a single applicant. South Africans who wish to add their family members may do so for additional contribution fees, depending on the size of the family. 
  • The Real Estate investment option is a lucrative opportunity for alternative citizenship for South Africans, as the government-approved properties can yield excellent returns on investments. Real estate properties start from US$200,000 (ZAR3,700.000) and there are government fees applied for single applicants or for families. 

    Dominica is rich with cultural heritage and visitors can explore the history of the local community and the island. The idyllic island is also well on its way on becoming more sustainable. Multiple environmentally friendly initiatives that are positively impacting Dominica’s economy. 

Also Read: Dominica safest country in the Caribbean!

3. Grenada

The Grenada CBI Programme is one of the youngest alternative citizenship programmes available to  South Africans. The CBI programme was re-introduced in 2013 and has since created opportunities for investors to collaborate with the global community.

This CBI programme is ideal for large families who are looking to have access to premium healthcare and educational benefits.

The two investment options available are the National Transformation Fund (NTF) and the Pre-Approved Real Estate option.

  • The NTF supports Grenada’s economic transformation. Single applicants have to submit a minimum contribution of US$150,000 (ZAR2,800,000) or US$200,000 (ZAR3,700,000) for a family of four. There are additional contributions for additional family members that depend on their age and relationship. 
  • The Pre-Approved Real Estate option allows South Africans to apply independently or through joint investments to acquire real estate. Depending on the former, the investment fees will vary. This investment option has the following government fees applied; US$50,000 (ZAR940,000), and US$50,000 (ZAR940,000) for a family of four. There are additional contributions for family members that are older and younger than 55 years of age. 
4. St Kitts and Nevis

St Kitts and Nevis CBI Programme is considered the ‘Platinum Standard’ in the investment migration industry. The stringent due diligence processes and vetting of all CBI applicants – ensures St Kitts and Nevis CBI programme maintains integrity.  

Also Read: St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment for South Africans

There are four investment options for CBI in St Kitts and Nevis. A great opportunity for South Africans currently their Sustainable Growth Fund Limited Time Offer. 

The Limited Time Offer can be found under the Sustainable Growth Fund investment option that is available from 1 January 2023 until 31 January 2024. During this period the application processing time is reduced to 60 days and the minimum contribution for single applicants is reduced to US$125,000 (ZAR2,300,000) for all applications. There are additional reduced minimal contributions for South African applicants applying with family members.  

5. Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia also holds one of the youngest CBI programmes in the Caribbean. Established in early 2016, Saint Lucia’s CBI Programme has gained popularity with its variety of investment options. South Africans can obtain alternative citizenship through Real Estate Projects; National Action Bonds; Enterprise Projects; or the National Economic Fund. Minimum investment starts from US$100,000 (ZAR1,800,000).

Saint Lucia has some of the most beautiful honeymoon and family destinations in the world. With captivating beaches and natural scenery – visitors and tourists are spoilt for choice.