These are 3 popular countries when investing for citizenship

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LIO GLOBAL helps people who want to gain a second citizenship by making clever investment choices - these are three popular countries for South Africans.

With the current economic outlook many South Africans are moving some of their wealth offshore. “When one considers that a portion of this can be invested in a real estate asset, gaining you the advantage of a second residency or citizenship as a hedge against the future, it makes very good sense,” says investment migration firm LIO GLOBAL.

Since the first passport for investment programme was launched by St Kitts & Nevis in 1984 it has proven so successful that today, multiple nations are granting residency or citizenship to qualifying investors.

Here’s more information about the three most popular choices for South Africans, according to LIO GLOBAL.


Passport Power: The US has one of the strongest passports in the world with visa-free travel access to an incredible 184 countries.

The massive economy offers diverse opportunities and one of the highest standards of living with access to excellent education and healthcare.

Investors typically follow one of two routes to gain the right to live, work, study or start a business in the US.

Option 1: EB-5

This is the most direct route to a US Green Card and can lead to citizenship.

Investment: USD 900,000 invested in a regional development centre for a period of five years.

Timeline: 18-24 Months

Stay requirement: 180 days per year for a period of 5 years.

Option 2: The E-2 Treaty

A fast and affordable alternative to the EB-5, especially for applicants who wish to set up a business in the US. The E-2 treaty route, however, doesn’t lead to Green Card status or citizenship, as it’s a non-immigrant visa.

Investment: First citizenship must be obtained in an E-2 treaty country such as Grenada (starting at USD 220,000). A further business investment must then be made in the US with a recommended minimum of USD 100,000.

Timeline: 3-6 Months for Grenadian Citizenship + 1,5 to 3 months for the E-2 visa application.


Grenada’s Grand Anse Beach has been rated by Condé Nast Traveller as best in the world. With attractive real estate investments on this tropical beach, a pleasant climate and one of the most affordable CBI programs, it’s no surprise that Grenada has emerged as a favourite of South Africans.

Business executives and families who love to travel are particularly attracted to the global mobility afforded by a Grenadian passport – i.e. visa-free access to the UK, Europe’s Schengen countries, Russia, Singapore and China.

What sets Grenada apart from the other Caribbean nations is its E-2 treaty with the US.

Passport Power: 144 Countries visa-free access.

Investment: From USD 220,000 real estate.

Timeline: 3-6 months, depending on the time of year.

Language: English

Tax: Grenada is seen as a tax-friendly country with very favourable laws for citizenship investors. LIO GLOBAL recommends speaking to a tax advisor with experience in global citizenship.

Stay Requirements: None


Portugal’s climate and vibrant European lifestyle have a particular allure for South Africans wanting to achieve European residency. Attractive property yields can be found in Porto and Lisbon and investors have flexibility in choice of real estate.

Global mobility: Permanent residency enables visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen countries. Although not guaranteed, citizenship may also be granted after 5 years, which would allow the passport holder to permanently live, work and study in any EU country.

Investment: Real estate from EUR 350,000 in main centres, or EUR 280,000 in low-density areas.

Timeline: 4-9 months

Stay requirements: Average of 7 days per year.

Language test: A basic Portuguese language test at A2 level is required after 5 years.

If you’d like to find out more about LIO GLOBAL or the rest of the countries offering residency and citizenship, download LIO GLOBAL’s COUNTRY GUIDE here.

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