South Africa

How to get an EU passport as a South African

A passport of any EU country makes you a rightful citizen of the European Union. You can live, work and open a business in any EU state. Also, you can travel visa-free to more than 170 countries and access quality healthcare and education.

Immigrant Invest helps clients obtain second citizenship and residence permits by investment. Find out how and where South Africans can acquire EU citizenship.

Ways to obtain an EU passport

Obtaining an EU passport can be achieved through various means, with one popular option being citizenship by investment.

This avenue offers individuals the opportunity to invest in a country’s economy, typically through real estate, business development, or government bonds, in exchange for citizenship and a passport.

Citizenship can be gained fast in several European countries, such as Malta, Greece, and Portugal, providing a streamlined pathway for individuals who seek to gain the advantages of an EU passport — visa-free travel and enhanced business opportunities within the European Union.

3 best countries to get EU citizenship for South Africans

Some EU countries grant citizenship by naturalisation to investors who have significantly financially supported the country’s economy. Family members, such as spouses, children and parents, can get passports too.

Malta offers citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment. Obtaining a Maltese passport as an investor takes the least time — 1 or 3 years. Relocation is not required.

The time frame defines the sum of contributions to the state fund — €750,000 or €600,000, respectively. Expenses include buying or renting real estate and a charitable donation.

Portugal. Under Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Programme, an applicant makes a minimum contribution of €250,000. An investor must stay in Portugal 7 days a year to keep the residence permit. After 5 years of residence, they can apply for citizenship.

There is also the Portugal D7 Visa for foreigners with a monthly passive income of €760. Its alternative, the Digital Nomad Visa, requires an active income of €3,040.

Greece allows applying for a residence permit after investing from €250,000 to €400,000 in real estate, stock, or deposits. To acquire a Greek passport, an investor must live in Greece for 7 years and pass a language exam.

EU citizenship obtaining process for investors

Although each country’s requirements differ, South African investors go through 5 main steps to obtain an EU passport:

1.Pass a preliminary Due Diligence check to evaluate the chances.

2.Fulfil the investment program conditions.

3.Get a residence permit.

4.Live in the country or maintain the resident status for the required years.

5.Apply for citizenship by naturalisation.

Immigrant Invest lawyers accompany you along the way. We help choose the most suitable programme, prepare the documents, and remotely buy property in the country.

Key takeaways

Naturalisation as an investor is the fastest but the most expensive way for South Africans to get an EU passport. The minimum investment sum varies from €250,000 to €690,000. Ordinary naturalisation takes more time but is more affordable.