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Residence-by-investment and citizenship-by-investment (RBI and CBI) programmes have become very popular over the past few years to South Africans who don’t have ancestral ties to Portugal or Spain but would like to acquire residency or citizenship in a European country, and have the ability to travel freely to any Schengen country.

Unfortunately, these ”Golden Visas” require a large financial investment and the application process is long and expensive. There are, however, much more attainable residency options available for South Africans and other Third Country Nationals wishing to relocate to Spain or Portugal.

The most popular and attainable Visa’s are the ”Non-Lucrative Visa” for Spain & ”D7 Passive Income Visa” for Portugal. The greatest benefit of these visas is that the applicant does not need to buy real estate as a condition of the application.

There is further benefit to choosing these options over RBI and CBI programmes. The EU Parliament recently voted in favour of the proposed phasing out citizenship-by-investment schemes by 2025, as well as comprehensive regulations covering all residency-by-investment schemes. This action being in response to fears that visa-free travel around the EU creates opportunities for money laundering, tax fraud and various other serious crimes.

The timing could not be better to start your residency application for Spain or Portugal! For more information on the Spanish ”Non-Lucrative Visa” or the the Portuguese ”D7 Passive Income Visa”, connect with us on our TALK TO US page.


David Poole is a South African entrepreneur and businessman, and founder of Consult Immigration.