South Africa offers various routes to permanent residence and financial independence is a common and well-used route, and I would like to introduce this in a bit more detail in this fairly short video and article.
Everybody over the age of 18 can apply for permanent residence based on financial independence. There is no minimum age requirement and no requirement enforced by the missions, unlike for instance the retirement path to permanent residence.
What are the Requirements?
The only real requirement is that your prescribed net worth is in excess of 12 million Rand worldwide. With the current exchange rate, that’s around $650,000USD to $700,000USD. Any assets count towards this, including real estate, dividends, stock portfolios, company shares, etc.
A common question is, “How much must I invest in South Africa?” And the answer is nothing, not one single cent. I do think the government should address this, but that’s a video for another day.
You only need to show that your net assets are exceeding of the 12 million Rand. How do you prove the net assets? It depends on where you submit. We prefer to submit the permanent residence in South Africa because there’s a VFS tracking system and tracking number, and we find this easier than if you submit your permanent residence overseas.
Should you opt for submission overseas, and in particular, Berlin, the process is quite harsh. The mission want to see all your assets, they want to see whatever you have, and they’re definitely going to want to see your house, your accounts, saving accounts, stock portfolio. They want to get a comprehensive overview of your assets, and they’re not going to focus purely on achieving the net assets.
They need to see how much debt you have to calculate the net assets. My problem with this is data protection. Quite frankly, we had incidents a few years back in New York of identity theft, because the documents you’re submitting are quite comprehensive, so I’m always a bit wary. I don’t fully understand why they’re insisting on this and have flagged this issue to the authorities. But for now, that’s something well you must deal with.
What Do We Do in Practice?
We ask a South African chartered accountant to confirm your net assets. This is not a requirement by law anymore. However, we find it adds real value to the authorities to confirm the net assets. We use this chartered accountant certificate and add the objective proof of the net assets bank statements, purchase price of a house, etc. Okay.
What is the Processing Time?
At the moment, probably 3 to 4 years. That’s a very long time, especially considering that the main applicant needs to pay 120,000 Rand to the Department of Home Affairs once you receive your permanent residence or when it is ready for issuance or printing. It’s not an application fee. You need to pay it when it’s ready for being printed. When you have paid this and received your proof of payment, you get your certificate.
Is the Fee Per Person, or Just the Main Applicant?
The good news is the payment is just for the main applicant. The reason for this is that the main applicant only applies under Section 27 of South Africa’s Immigration Act. Spouses apply under a different section, meaning the success fee is only payable once.
Considering the potential fee, one would think that the Department of Home Affairs would adjudicate them faster, or at least in line with Critical Skills and Business Visa applications, but that’s not the case. You will wait a long time, which is very unfortunate, and I think Home Affairs should work hard to change that.
These are the only requirements. It’s not a lot and the fact that you don’t have to invest a single cent into South Africa is quite unique because a lot of countries in the world have investment visas or investment residence, but then they require the investment in local bonds or real estate.
Even though South Africa does not have that, they might change it soon, but at the moment, 120,000 and you’re in! Once you have the permanent residence you can live your life in South Africa.
IBN Immigration Solutions has assisted numerous clients in successfully receiving their Permanent Residence in South Africa and would love to assist you too! We are familiar with all the requirements for applications, possible red-flags, and hold-ups with the government’s immigration department, meaning that you’ll be in safe hands.
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Written by Andreas Krensel
Edited by Simon Carletti
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