And it’s not the kind of thing Golden Visa firms will EVER tell you about… 

The economic outlook in South Africa has been deteriorating since at least 2008, when Eskom’s controversial load shedding kicked off.

Today, well over a decade later, the country faces down a plethora of intersecting crises: an electricity death spiral, corruption, skyrocketing debt, aging public infrastructure, decaying healthcare and education, and an increasingly ineffective and bloated government bureaucracy.

In a country where around 1.6 million people foot the tax bill on behalf of 58 million people – that’s a meagre 2.75% – the rapidly shrinking middle class now also face looming tax increases, as well as new wealth taxes, set to kill off job creation and push the wealthy offshore.

And that’s outside of rising violent protests and increasing social polarization…

As things stand in mid-April 2021, the ANC is tearing itself apart, and the DA has no credible alternative with broad-based appeal.

Virtual every socio-economic indicator has been negative for the past decade, and it would take a level of extreme naivety to imagine it is all going to magically get better.

During the 2020 lockdowns, enquiries from South Africans looking for a Plan B offshore spiked to unprecedented records – our phones were ringing off the hook for 6 months straight. But the moment the lockdowns lifted, the urgency dissipated, and demand died down again.

The reality is that the overwhelming majority of South Africans don’t have €250,000+ for a Golden Visa investment, yet that doesn’t mean that they won’t be needing a back-up plan in the very near future.

They say the worst day to buy household insurance is right after your house burned to the ground. And the same goes for getting a solid Plan B in place.

If you’ve got kids of school going age facing a bleak future in SA…

If you want to move money offshore…

If you’ve got wealth you want to protect…

If you’ve got crypto gains with capital gains implications hanging over your head…

Then you need to start taking action TODAY.

Citizenship planning firms and Golden Visa agents have done a great job of educating the South African public about the various programs available in Europe, the Caribbean and the USA.

Yet none of them ever say a word about the non-investment based residency programs available to South Africans.

And the reason for this?

It’s not in their financial interests to do so.

Outside of the hefty investment requirement, the professional service fees for a married couple can be as high as €30,000 for a Golden Visa. And that’s before you’ve paid for government processing, transfer duties and related taxes.

The same goes for the Caribbean Citizenship By Investment Programs; you’re looking at anything between $25,000 and $32,000 in service fees, outside of your government donation or mandatory investment. And that’s outside of the hefty commissions they receive from property developers…

So why would these firms ever alert you to the fact that cheaper alternatives exist?

Moreover, the reason these products can command such premiums is simple; they’re back-up plans, offering residency and/or citizenship rights without the need to immigrate.

For example, in order to maintain your Portuguese golden residency, you only need to spend an average of 1 week per year in Portugal, while in Greece, you don’t need to spend any time on the ground at all.

Consequently, it makes sense that the overwhelming majority of Golden Visa holders don’t leave their country of origin; at least not initially, and in many cases never at all.

But again, for the overwhelming majority of South African households, this option is simply cost prohibitive.

Yet there are alternative, vastly more affordable EU residency programs available to South Africans… 

For those seeking to actually emigrate and go settle in Europe, a number of non-investment based residency programs exist. And if you’re actually looking to up sticks and move to Europe for longer than 6 months per year, opting for a Golden Visa would be sheer lunacy.


Top affordable EU residency programs for South Africans

The following four countries offer non-investment based residency programs for non-EEA seeking to relocate to Europe:

  1. Portugal (via the D7 Visa Program)

  2. Spain (via the Non-Lucrative Residency Visa Program)

  3. Italy (via the Elective Residency Visa Program)

  4. Greece (via the Financially Independent Person (FIP) Visa Program.


EU Residency Program Can work locally Passive/recurring income requirement per month Minimum stay requirement
Portugal D7 Visa Yes


Married Couple: €1,05750+

Additional Minor Dependent: €211.50+

Family of 4: €1,480.50+

Circa 6 months+
Spain Non-Lucrative Visa No


Married Couple: €2,689.20+

Additional Minor Dependent: €537.83+

Family of 4: €3,764.85+

Circa 6 months+
Italy Elective Residence Visa No

Individual: €2,597+

Married Couple: €3,166+

Additional Minor Dependent: €167+

Family of 4: €3,500+

Circa 6 months+
Greece Financially Independent Person Visa No


Married Couple: €2,400+

Additional Minor Dependent: €300+

Family of 4: €3,000+

Circa 6 months+

What are the common requirements to all of these residency programs?

  • Sufficient recurring, ideally passively generated income with which to accommodate and support yourself and any dependents while living in Europe.

  • Proof of accommodation in-country (this can be rented, or a friend or a family member with a property in-country can allow you to stay in their property. Alternatively, you could buy yourself a home, but there’s no minimum value requirement for such a purchase.

  • A clean criminal record.

  • Comprehensive EU health insurance coverage, both for yourself and any dependents.

While there are other European countries offering residency by business formation, these options tend to be onerous and costly to maintain – and these still require investments in the region of €150,000+.

We find that South African who are in the market for back-up residency solutions keep on shopping around for years, hoping against hope that they’ll find a cheaper investment option that is not a scam…

If this has been you, if you’ve been frustrated at not finding a viable option in Europe, the good news is that the search is now over: you’ve now found it.

The above four programs constitute the most affordable and efficient ways of getting residency. And at the time of writing, in April 2021, the only potentially cheaper ways of getting EU residency will require marrying an EU national or applying on the basis of descent.

But for those of us not lucky enough to have a winning ancestry lineage, the above four programs open the doors to EU settlement – without the need to purchase an overpriced Golden Visa property.

So if you’ve got family members, friends or colleagues who fear for their family’s futures in South Africa, be sure to share this article with them.

Having assisted several hundred non-EU individuals and their families in getting EU residency without investment, we can help you gain European residency with ease.

Contact us today for a free consultation.