Emigration: 7 countries that will give you citizenship, residency if you buy a property

South Africans can acquire rights to live in some countries by investing in property. Picture: Freepik

South Africans can acquire rights to live in some countries by investing in property. Picture: Freepik

Published Jan 11, 2024


If you dream of living a new life in another country but don’t have the right passport or heritage to do so, you could gain foreign citizenship or residency simply by purchasing a property.

Granted, the ‘simplicity’ is in the fact that you can acquire rights to live in another country by investing in property there, not in the cost it entails.

If you do have the money, however, to purchase a home in one of a number of countries offering ‘golden visas’ through investment, this route could offer you and your family foreign passports – and possibly a life you have been dreaming of.

Citizenship through investment programmes vary with some countries requiring that you invest in businesses, government bonds, or other areas of their economies, but here are a few that offer South Africans citizenship or residency through property investment:

1. SPAIN, Europe

Picture: Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

Minimum property investment: €500,000 (R10.26m) with in-country finance

Reward: A 12-month Golden Visa that can then be converted into a two-year residency permit. This can be renewed for up to five years provided that the qualifying property investment is maintained.

After five years, visa holders can become eligible to apply for permanent residency but you have to live in Spain for at least 183 days a year.

After having permanent residency for 10 years you can apply for Spanish citizenship.

Source: Golden Visas

2. GREECE, Europe

Picture: Pixabay

Minimum property investment: €250,000 (R5.13m)

Reward: A five-year golden visa that can be renewed every five years.

You can apply for Greek citizenship after seven years in the country but you will need to complete a Greek language test as well as a civic test.

This Golden Visa is a residence permit, not a work permit, so while you can live in Greece you cannot work there, or in any EU country, without a separate work permit. However, you can earn money by renting out the property purchased or earning interest on the investment made.

Source: Citizenship Invest


Picture: Musa Caan/Pexels

Minimum property investment: €400,000 (R8.2m)

Reward: You can gain Türkiye citizenship in three to six months and there is no minimum stay requirement to renew and retain citizenship in the country.

As Türkiye also holds an E2 Visa Treaty Agreement with the USA, citizens who have lived in Türkiye for at least three years can apply for a non-immigrant visa in the USA by establishing or investing in an existing business there.

Source: Golden Visas

4. HUNGARY, Europe

Picture: Rohan Hakani/Pexels

Minimum property investment: €500,000 (R10.26m)

Reward: A 10-year residency permit that can be renewed for life. There is no minimum stay requirement.

Once you have lived in Hungary full-time for five years you can upgrade the visa to permanent residency. However, you cannot gain citizenship.

Source: Golden Visas

5. GRENADA, Caribbean

Picture: Hugh Whyte/Pexels

Minimum property investment: US$220,000 (R4.11m)

Reward: You can gain Grenada citizenship in three to four months, and there is no minimum stay requirement.

This investment program also holds an E-2 Investor Visa Treaty with the USA, allowing citizens to be eligible to apply for a non-immigrant visa after living in Grenada for a continuous period of three years.

Source: Henley Global


Picture: Nextvoyage/Pexels

Minimum property investment: US$550,000 (R10.29m)

Reward: A 10-year residency visa that grants the holder the right to live and work in any of the seven Emirates.

You can also spend extended periods outside the UAE and still keep your residency rights. However, this visa does not lead to citizenship.

Source: Citizenship Invest

7. ANTIGUA & BARBUDA, Caribbean

Picture: Rick Jamison/Pexels

Minimum property investment: US$200,000 (R3.74m) plus government fees

Reward: You can be granted citizenship in three to four months. Antiguan citizens can also work in the USA and Canada with the proper work permits and visas.

Source: Citizenship Invest

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