European Residence Options for South Africans

Dr. Antoine Saliba Haig | 19 Feb 2021

European Residence Options for South Africans

Europe has become an increasingly attractive destination for South Africans either seeking a new jurisdiction to permanently reside in, or for those who would like to have an alternative residence for some of the year while maintaining their primary residence at home in South Africa. 

Different Options through Investment

Numerous countries in Europe that offer residence through investment for South Africans. The most popular have been Malta, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus. While all four share some similarities, the cultural differences and realities of each country vary. Furthermore, each country a unique residence programme with specific investment requirements.

Malta Citizenship by Investment

Malta is the jewel of the Mediterranean Sea and is located in the heart of it. Malta enjoys a stable political climate and a buoyant economy that attracts inward investment from some of the world’s most prestigious companies, particularly in finance and i-gaming. Another benefit for South Africans is that English is one of Malta’s two official languages. The Maltese outlook is very appealing as it blends industry and hard work with the Mediterranean approach to enjoying life. 

The Malta Permanent Residence Program (MPRP) offers non-EU persons the option of securing an EU residence card that allows visa-free travel within Europe’s Schengen Area. 



Portugal Golden Visa

While enjoying a Mediterranean climate and culture, the beauty of the rugged, Atlantic coast is perhaps unparalleled anywhere in the world. The food and wine are amongst the best in the world while Portugal also ranks as one of Europe’s safest countries, with an exceptionally low crime-rate. All of these factors have proven particularly popular to South Africans, who have embraced the programme in recent years. 

The Portugal Golden Visa Programme is an attractive option to non-EU citizens wishing to reside, study and do business in the European Schengen Area. The Programme also paves the way to Portuguese Citizenship in 5 years after applicants pass a language test.

Greece Golden Visa

Greece remains one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations for its dazzling mix of history, culture, beautiful islands and welcoming nature. While the country did suffer greatly in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008 but has rebounded strongly in recent years. 

The Greece Golden Visa Programme is considered one of the most affordable residency by investment route to Europe. The Programme grants visa-free access to the Schengen Zone to the applicant as well as the family of the applicant.

Cyprus Investment Programme

Cyprus is one of the most appealing places to reside in Europe. Strategically located between Europe, Asia and Africa, the unique Cypriot lifestyle reflects a rich and tapered history that encompasses elements of Greek, Turkish and British culture. Cyprus also has an attractive tax regime for individuals and companies residing there which has brought investment from across the globe.  

The Cyprus Permanent Residence Programme grants an individual and his/her family the right to reside in Cyprus indefinitely through property investment in one of the most dynamic real estate markets in the world. 


The outlook remains positive for all three countries and it is anticipated that many more South African individuals and families will participate in these programmes in the coming years. As all three have specific strengths and weaknesses, we highly advise contacting CCLEX for a free consultation as to which programme is right for you.


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