Africans Seeking Alternative Citizenship By Investment

Wealthy citizens of unstable African countries are seeking alternate citizenship in safer places by buying real estate, TheStar reports.


These wealthy citizens are interested in visa-free access to South Africa.


Due to lack of awareness, demand for alternative citizenship by people living in East Africa is less than in North, West and Southern Africa.


These citizenship-by-investment programs are offered by several countries and allow an investor to legally, and almost immediately, acquire citizenship without needing to physically move to the country of choice, according to the website.


“We are not at liberty to reveal any particulars or demographics of these applications,” the company told The Star.


Clients from tumultuous countries, it said, seek secure destinations for their families when the need arises. They are looking to benefit from visa-free travel, education for their children and international tax planning.


Countries that offer citizenship by investment are seeking the type of investments that stimulate their economies, The Star reports.


There are four citizenship-by-investment programs of real interest. These include two in the Caribbean (St Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda) and two in Europe (Cyprus and Malta).


To qualify, an individual must invest at least $300,000, and in exchange, receives citizenship and passports that allow visa-free travel to Canada, the European Union, and U.K.


Kenyans are often interested in the Antigua and Barbuda program mainly because the citizenship offers visa-free access to South Africa.


Malta and Cyprus programs are the most attractive, according to Henley, because they give immediate European Union citizenship. They are also the most expensive, requiring investments starting from 1 million euros ($1.378).


Cyprus investors pay taxes (over and above real estate taxes, which are unavoidable) if they live there for 183-plus days in a year.


With anti-money laundering regulations increasing worldwide, those applying for the Cyprus program qualify only if they have no criminal record from their countries of origin and have been cleared by Cyprus police as well.


Starting April, the Cypriot citizenship required a qualifying investment of $2.898 million including a 5 percent value-added-tax charge. Making Caribbean Citizenship By Investment program options such as Antigua & Barbuda more attractive with programs starting from $250,000 USD.