Retiring abroad: the Grenada option

Johannesburg - South African retirees in a position to do so are increasingly looking at overseas destinations in which to make a home, says Jacques Scherman, vice-president: business development at Arton Capital, a global company which specialises in working with people to attain second citizenships.

And their reasons for doing so are manifold.

“Some want a passport that enables them to travel the world easily,” says Scherman, “while others want to secure a more predictable future for their children and grandchildren, and some are concerned about preserving their wealth in tax-efficient structures and stable currencies to maximise succession planning and hedge the financial risks inherent to holding assets in rand.”

Whatever the motivation, says Scherman, the destination options are becoming wider and the financial barriers to attaining second citizenships for retirees are lowering. “Second citizenship by investment is no longer the preserve of the super-rich.”

Scherman uses the Caribbean, Grenada in particular, as an example.

“Grenadian citizenship for the main applicant, spouse and two dependents can be purchased via a donation of $200 000 to Grenada’s National Transformation Fund. While this is non-refundable and, unlike an investment into property, can’t be ‘sold on’ for a return on the investment down the line, there are numerous benefits for those who can afford the price,” says Scherman.

Speedy application

Chief among these benefits is the speedy application process – around three months, compared with years for some other destinations, no physical residency requirements, and visa-free travel to over 100 countries including those in Europe’s Schengen zone. And there is no requirement for a business interest, making it ideal for retirees.

However, for younger retirees with an entrepreneurial bent, having Grenadian citizenship enables entry into the US with an E-2 Investor Visa. An E-2 allows individuals to reside and work in the US provided that there’s an investment under their control. An investment substantial enough to capitalise the start-up of the business is required but, as long as the business remains solvent, residency in the US is secure.

Arton has facilitated US-based business interests for a number of South Africans, including some farmers, via this second citizenship process.

When you compare the Grenadian scenario to the requirements for South Africans who want to emigrate directly into the US, which include costs of about $1m, up to an eight-year waiting period and substantial amounts of paperwork and administration, he believes the advantages are clear.

“Provided that the due diligence investigation doesn’t find any criminal, tax or health issues and your paperwork and funding are in order, I would say that retiring in Grenada is the fastest and easiest option for those who wish to retire abroad,” says Scherman.

Other popular destination opportunities for South African retirees include Mauritius, the Seychelles, Portugal and Bulgaria – all of which are attainable and attractive for high net-worth individuals.

“The thing to remember,” says Scherman, “is that, wherever you set your sights on, there are financial regulations, tax imperatives and investment requirements that have to be adhered to.”

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