citizenship second passports

(Photo – Walter Jackson)

The surprising locations where South Africans are buying second passports

Forget destinations like the UK and Australia, a large number of South Africans are looking to get second passports from more obscure places.

citizenship second passports

(Photo – Walter Jackson)

Recently-released data from Henley and Partners reveals that a growing contingent of South Africans are looking to buy their way into foreign citizenship, by choosing some unconventional destinations.

The report, which was featured in Business Insider, states that the last year has seen a 229% increase in applications from South Africans looking to buy their way into acquiring second passports.

Even during the Cyril Ramaphosa presidency, there have still been 143% more inquiries. But here’s the funny thing – not many of these people are actually moving abroad. Well, not yet anyway.

The legal group, who specialise in applications for foreign citizenship, revealed that there are a number of motivations – mainly business-based – that have prompted some of our wealthiest residents to add another passport to their collection.

Where are South Africans going for their second passports?

The research has revealed that conventional areas like the UK and Australia are being shunned by those looking for a quick citizenship fix. Countries like Cyprus, Malta and Moldova – emerging European markets – are top of the list here. Portugal also sees its fair share of applications.

Put simply, these countries provide the most direct route for citizenship that can be bought. And for business heads with enough cash to spare, it’s a wise move for financial reasons.

The reasons why South Africans are choosing these countries

Amanda Smit, head of Henley & Partners in east, central, and southern Africa, told the publication that a European passport helps the big-earners move themselves – and their money – around much easier:

“Business people who travel a lot and who find visa restrictions extremely limiting and frustrating; they do it simply to obtain travel documents that give them greater mobility, that let them travel at short notice.”

It’s not just for business convenience, though. Many people applying with H&P have stated their concerns over the economic and political situation in South Africa and want a “Plan B”, just to be safe. The breakdown of who is seeking citizenship elsewhere makes for a fascinating read:

  • About 10% of these applicants are retired, whereas 50% are self-employed.
  • 80% are aged 45 or over.
  • 85% of applicants are male.
  • Interestingly, 55% of applicants for second passports are white, indicating that more black, coloured and Indian South Africans are ready to make a move.