In an ever changing world, we face fresh challenges daily and need new thinking to meet these. One such challenge is global travel access. Whether you are packing for work or leisure travel, visa requirements to the world’s 194 countries can add a time consuming and costly element to your experience.
Visa free access highlights one of the key benefits of owning a ‘powerful passport’. A powerful passport is one that gives the holder visa-free access to as many countries as possible. Citizens of Sweden, Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom or the United States enjoy visa-free access to 174 countries. South Africa, meanwhile, is ranked 42nd in the world in terms of passport value, with access to 97 countries. This is according to Go Euro, a European-based rail, air, bus and car search and booking engine.
South Africa’s little green book is in fact one of the most valuable in Africa; after the Seychelles (visa-free access to 129 countries) and Mauritius (125 countries). Although this is encouraging, according to the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index, African countries have seen a decline in their position within this global ranking with a drop of 25 spots. South Africa dropped one spot between 2014 and 2015.
South Africa has visa-free access to primarily developing nations, including almost all of South America, Southern and East Africa, and parts of the Far East. But developed countries – and ironically most of the BRICS countries, except Brazil – still require visas from South Africans
Overly stringent visa requirements are now encouraging many South African travellers to explore the dual-citizenship route. In fact, many countries now offer citizenship based on investment. Nadia Read, Private Consultant at LIO Global says: “There are several countries now offering investors either residence or citizenship through investment and we have seen in particular, a strong demand for access to EU citizenship. South Africans have a strong affinity to Europe, and more notably EU citizenship programs offer the ability to live, work or study anywhere within the EU. Education for their children is a strong driver for many families”.
LIO Global, a boutique consultancy specialising in assisting private clients and investors with residence and citizenship applications, says:
“As the political and economic landscape shifts, investors and families are looking for the security, access and freedom of travel that a second passport offers.”
The firm lists the benefits of holding a second passport as:
- Freedom of travel
- Wealth protection
- Expanded global business opportunities
- Back-up option for residence
If the developing world is your focus, a South African passport makes the world your oyster and the need to explore dual-citizenship less pressing. However, if you are looking to travel the developed world, it might be an idea to broaden your investment horizons in order to open the door.
LIO Global also mentions, “Most of the families we work with are very proudly South African and are not looking to physically leave South Africa, but rather they are looking for the freedom and access that an EU citizenship offers. This is especially true for parents wanting the option for their children to study abroad as well as business travellers looking for ease of global travel access.”
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