Leisure and business travel are one thing, but many people have a yen to live in other countries, to become entwined in a different social fabric and to explore not only other cultures, but other aspects of themselves in foreign countries.
Many South Africans these days are exploring the possibility of dual nationality as a means to hold a second passport and to secure access to more of the world. Before gaining citizenship abroad, another option, or preliminary step, is permanent residence – which comes with many advantages.
“Residence permits allow the holder to live in a country, while still holding their current citizenship and passport. Generally, residents are not allowed to vote in the country they are resident in. If they break the law in any way, they can lose their resident status,” says Andrew Taylor, Vice Chairman of Henley & Partners, the global leaders in Residence and Citizenship Planning.
Citizenship is the relationship between an individual and a sovereign state, defined by the laws of that state and corresponding duties and rights. This includes the right to vote, work, live and study in the country you are a citizen of.
“Citizens are entitled to hold a passport of their country and their status is for life. It normally cannot be revoked,” says Taylor.
And how do these rights differ to the benefits of being a resident in a country?
Taylor says that residence permits are normally limited in time and that residents must meet a variety of requirements to maintain their status, usually including a period of physical residence.
“Every country has different and often complex rules about residence, but none of these is insurmountable,” he adds.
“If you’re exploring the possibility of residence in another country, it’s best to do as much research as you can. But because of the complexity of issues surrounding citizenship, passports and residency, it’s imperative to consult with qualified experts.”
Travel: Visa-free travel to the EU (Schengen area)
Years to qualify to Citizenship: After five years of residence.
Dual Citizenship: Yes
UN Human Development Index (Standard of living): 41st (2014)
World’s healthiest countries: 23rd (Bloomberg Rankings 2013)
Best in the world: Voted in the 2014 World Golf Awards as the best golfing destination in the world
Extras: Excellent schools and international quality health care clinics and hospitals
Something to consider: You need to be fluent in Portuguese to qualify for the status
Travel: No visa-free travel. You may reside and study in Singapore and are required to live in the state for half the year
Years to qualify for Citizenship: 2 years of residence
Dual Citizenship: Not allowed
UN Human Development Index (Standard of living): 9th (2014)
World’s healthiest countries: 1st (Bloomberg Rankings 2013)
Best in the world: Best country in the Global Enabling Trade Report 2014
Extras: An extremely safe environment with great health care options
Things to consider: Property prices are high and National Service is required for male citizens
Travel: No visa-free travel. Only acquire the right to reside, work and study in the United Kingdom
Years to qualify to Citizenship: 5 years of residence
Dual Citizenship: Yes
UN Human Development Index (Standard of living): 14th (2014)
World’s healthiest countries: 21st (Bloomberg Rankings 2013)
Best in the world: The most powerful passport in the world (2014 Henley & Partners Visa Restriction Index)
Extras: World-renowned schools and universities
Things to consider: Physical presence in the state is required to maintaining your status
Travel: Visa-free travel to EU (Schengen area) and Canada.
Years to qualify for Citizenship: 4 – 6 years, but through a citizenship-by-investment program you can obtain the status after just one year.
UN Human Development Index (Standard of living): 39th (2014)
World’s healthiest countries: N/A (Bloomberg Rankings 2013)
Dual Citizenship: Allowed and encouraged
Best in the world: Voted best climate in the world by International Living Magazine
Extras: Attractive tax regime and retirement destination
Things to consider: Citizenship is very difficult to obtain unless through a citizenship-by-investment program. Henley & Partners designed and implemented the Malta Individual Investor Program (IIP) in 2013, the best of its kind in the world, aimed at high net worth individuals and families worldwide.
Travel: No visa-free travel. You may reside and study anywhere in the USA, which is the world’s 3rd largest country by land mass, if you include all of its coastal and island territories
Years to qualify for Citizenship: 6 years
UN Human Development Index (Standard of living): 5th (2014)
World’s healthiest countries: 33rd (Bloomberg Rankings 2013)
Dual Citizenship: Allowed
Best in the world: Largest military power in the 2014 Global Firepower Military Rankings
Extras: A large country with multiple climates offers many options to call home
Things to consider: Permanent residents over the age of 18 are required to carry their green card at all times
This article was originally published on The South African.