More and more South Africans are applying for world’s 4th most powerful passport

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By Andrew Rissik*

When Moody’s and S&P downgraded South Africa’s sovereign credit rating in March and April, a lot of wealthy South Africans began asking themselves how realistic it would be for them to remain in the Republic. In recent years Portugal’s residency by investment programme has allowed hundreds of South Africans to gain EU residency through a capital investment in Portuguese real estate. Not only does this programme allow you to hold a solid offshore asset, but it gives you the chance to eventually apply for a Portuguese (EU) passport.

Why Portugal? We’re glad you asked…

The “power” of the Portuguese passport has been on the rise over the last five years. The passport is now considered to be the fourth most powerful passport on the planet. This is up from the number 5 position it achieved last year. This alone makes moving to Portugal and becoming a citizen an attractive proposition.

The country’s location, and its position in the EU also ensures that Portuguese citizens and residents, have access to one of the world’s largest markets. This, along with well-developed infrastructure and an educated population means that conducting international as a Portuguese resident, is far easier to do so than as a South African resident.

According to a recent ranking of countries by US News, Portugal is in the top 20 for countries to invest in and to start a career in. Portugal scores highly on safety, family friendliness and political stability. Religious freedom, respect of property rights and human rights are also all highly valued and are upheld rigorously in Portugal.

Read also: Second passports: How to invest in the ultimate 21st century insurance policy – expert

US News, also found that Portugal is the fifth best country in the world to retire to. So if you’re thinking about hanging up your boots and settling down, the Iberian peninsula is a great choice.

How Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Programme works

The Golden Residence Permit Programme(GRPP), run by the Portuguese government. It is a residency-by-investment programme that allows non-EU citizens Portuguese residency through the purchase of a property in Portugal with a minimum value of €350,000.

Not only is this a sound offshore investment, but as part of the GRPP you and your family are allowed to apply for residency in Portugal. With this Golden Visa, you will be allowed to travel visa-free across the entire EU and Schengen area as well as live and work in Portugal. The visa also makes it far easier to conduct business in Europe and beyond.

The Golden Visa’s requirements, beyond the investment criterion, are simple to meet and you won’t have to pack up your life in South Africa and live in Portugal in order to receive Portuguese/EU residency.

Here’s how much time a Golden Visa holder needs to spend in Portugal to remain a Portuguese resident.

  • Year one: 7 days
  • Year two to three: 14 days
  • Year four to five: 14 days

After six years of consecutive residency, you are then eligible to apply to become a Portuguese citizen. When you get to this point you will have to satisfy a few other criteria, after which you will have an EU passport.

It never hurts to have a plan

The GRPP allows you to continue living in South Africa while holding your Golden Visa. This means you and your family can continue living in South Africa while still holding EU residency rights. This means you don’t have to give up anything in order to become a part of this programme.

Additionally, because you are not, in the first five years of the GRPP, applying for Portuguese/EU citizenship, you do not have to get permission from home affairs in South Africa to do so and your South African citizenship will remain in force and will not be revoked.

You can get a free assessment of your position today by filling in the form on this page.

Read also: World’s best passports: Germany tops list, South Africa most valuable in Africa

Right now, private individuals in South Africa have a discretionary allowance of R1 million Rand and a R10 million Rand offshore investment allowance. Together, these allow an individual to take out more than enough money to take part in the GRPP.

Potentially leaving South Africa for greener pastures is an emotive issue, but a programme like the GRPP at least allows you to keep your emigration options open. On top of this, as a participant in this programme, you will be investing in a solid, potentially yield-generating asset in a time when financially stability is becoming all the more important.

South African interest in the GRPP is spiking

Portuguese passport

On our recent roadshow in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, we have had hundreds of wealthy South Africans asking us for immigration and offshore investment advice. The attractiveness of the GRPP as well as the efficiency with which the Portuguese government is processing claims has made the programme one of the most talked about residency-by-investment by these people.

South Africans are taking the worrying utterances from many high-placed government officials and ministers very seriously. While the writing may not yet be on the wall, you’d be foolhardy not to consider the best way to offshore at least part of your wealth.

If radical economic transformation is pursued at the cost of private enterprise, local investors will be scared off. If that occurs, expect residency-by-investment programmes like the GRPP to only increase in popularity as more local capital begins to fly out of the Republic. Rather than getting caught up in a mad rush tomorrow, chat to an expert to plan your potential options today.

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