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Visas to African Countries for Foreign Investors: 20 options

Africa is developing and urbanizing and its real estate markets are growing. This attracts foreign investors to African countries and large cities in particular. The authorities of African countries incentivize foreign investors in different ways because investments are badly needed to stimulate local economies and develop the infrastructure. Many countries on the continent offer investor visa opportunities and some even offer economic citizenship. In addition, serious tax benefits can be found in some African countries as well as special economic zones designed especially for business investors. Below we list 20 investor visa programs available in Africa. 

Visas to African Countries for Foreign Investors

1. Angola

Foreign investors, their representatives, and lawyers of foreign investment companies are eligible for preferential visas to Angola. These are multiple-entry visas that allow legally staying in the country and engaging in various investment projects. Such projects have to be officially approved by the Angolan authorities.

2. Botswana

Foreign directors of companies located in Botswana are eligible for long-term multiple-entry visas to the country. The same holds for foreign nationals carrying out investment projects in Botswana. The visas are valid for 5 years.

3. Ghana

A business visa to Ghana allows making investments and settling down in the country.

4. Egypt

Egypt administers a full-fledged citizenship-by-investment program. A foreign national can become a citizen of Egypt by following of the 4 available financial routes:

  • Purchase of real property in the country worth at least $300,000 (returnable investment;
  • A contribution of $250,000 to the state treasury (non-returnable donation);
  • A bank deposit of $500,000 (returnable);
  • Investment of at least $350,000 into a business venture in Egypt (the foreign investor has to own at least 40% of the company shares). It is possible to withdraw from the investment in the future while preserving the citizenship of Egypt.
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5. Zambia

A foreign national of legal age (above 18) can qualify for a residence permit in Zambia if he/ she intends to start a business venture in the country and invest into the Zambian economy via the business venture. The same opportunity is available to a foreigner who invests into an existing company in Zambia. The investment thresholds are as follows: $250,000 if a new business company is started and $150,000 if an existing company is financed.  

6. Zimbabwe

Foreign shareholders of companies registered in Zimbabwe are eligible for legal residence in the country. A foreigner has to invest at least $200,000 into a Zimbabwean company to qualify for a residence permit. Besides, he or she has to supply evidence that the investment capital comes from legal sources.  

7. Cabo Verde

The Cabo Verde Citizenship Act of 2003 allows foreign nationals to ignore the residence requirements if they make significant contributions to the Cabo Verde economy. A foreigner who invests at least $200,000, participates in the work of the business venture, passes a history test and a language test can become a citizen of Cabo Verde in an accelerated manner. Citizenship by naturalization is also possible in the country but the residency requirement is five years in this case. Citizenship by naturalization is available only to persons of legal age.  

8. Kenya

Under the Investment Encouragement Act, the Investment Agency of Kenya is authorized to facilitate the acquisition of entry permits by some foreigners. Those foreign nationals who invest at least $100,000 into local business projects enjoy preferential treatment.  

The foreign investor has to register with the Agency and confirm making the investment in the required amount. In this case, he or she becomes eligible for a D type visa to Kenya. Besides, company co-owners, directors, shareholders, and partners are also eligible for long-term visas if a foreigner registers a company in Kenya. The term of visa validity is two years. The Kenyan Registration and Immigration Agency is responsible for issuing visas to the country.

9. Mauritius

An investment of $50,000 into a business venture in Mauritius will make a foreigner qualified for a 10-year residence permit in the country. The Economic Council of Mauritius has to approve the investment project. If a foreigner invests at least $375,000 into real property or an approved business project in Mauritius, he or she becomes eligible for a permanent residence permit.  

10. Malawi

A foreign national wishing to do business in Malawi, provide professional services, become a partner of a Malawian company, or start a company in the country can become eligible for a special residence permit.

Preferential treatment is available to those foreign investors who put at least $50,000 into the Malawian economy. Applications for Investor Certificate have to be filed to the Investments and Trade Center in Malawi. The residence permit is valid for 5 years and it can be extended for 5 more years.   

11. Morocco

Morocco also grants long-term visas to foreign investors. To obtain such a visa, the foreign national has to bring a recommendation from Foreign Investments Office in Morocco, Trade Association, a regional Investment Center, a Moroccan partner company, a foreign partner company with an office in Morocco, or any other authorized agency or organization.

12. Mozambique

A foreign national putting at least $500,000 into an investment project in Mozambique can qualify for an investor visa. The investment project has to be approved by the country’s authorities. Applications for investor visas can be filed online. 

13. Nigeria

Nigeria grants special N3A visas to foreigners wishing to support small business in the country. The visas serve as 5-year residence permits that can be extended. The following conditions need to be met:

  • The applicant has to confirm transferring at least $250,000 to Nigeria from abroad;
  • The applicant has to confirm that he/ she has had no problems with the law during the last five years (bring police clearances from the countries where he/ she have lived for the last five years);
  • The applicant has to supply confirmations of making investments into the Nigerian economy.

14. Rwanda

Rwanda offer visas of different categories to foreign investors:

  • A1: Mining, quarrying, and related activities;
  • B1: Agricultural products, livestock, and related activities;
  • F1: Industrial production;
  • O1: Hospitality sector and related activities;
  • W1: Information technology and related activities;
  • X1: Transport, logistics, and related activities;
  • Z1: Any other economic sector not mentioned above.

Requirements:

  • A detailed CV;
  • Company registration certificate;
  • Confirmation of investments into the company;
  • Police clearances from the countries where the applicant has lived for the last six months.

15. Seychelles

A foreign national who invests at least $1 million into the Seychelles economy can qualify for permanent residence in the country. If the foreign investor wishes to obtain residence permits for the members of his/ her family, he/ she has to file a separate application for each family member. Spouses and children of foreign investors holding legal residence permits in Seychelles qualify for legal residence in the country too.

16. Tanzania

Tanzania grants long-term visas (legal residence permits) to those foreigners who wish to live in the country while engaging in trade, investment, business, professional services, agriculture, livestock breeding, mineral exploration or manufacturing. The visa type will depend on the type and the scale of the foreigner’s business activities:

  • Category A: self-employed foreign nationals (private investors);
  • Category B: foreign nationals employed by Tanzanian companies (state-owned or private);
  • Category C: other groups of foreign nationals including researchers, retirees, missionaries, volunteers, etc. 

The maximum validity term of the visa is two years but it can be extended.

17. Tunisia

The Tunisian Ministry of Internal Affairs has a special bureau that assists foreign investors and foreign entrepreneurs in acquiring long-term visas to the country. An investor visa is normally valid for 2 years and it can be extended to 5 years. The General Directorate of National Security under the Ministry of Internal Affairs is responsible for issuing residence permits to foreign investors in Tunisia.

18. Uganda

The Investment Agency of Uganda issues investment licenses both to domestic and to foreign investors. Acquiring an investment license is mandatory for a foreign investor because it serves as an instrument of investment legalization.

To become eligible for a license, locals have to invest at least $50,000 and foreigners at least $250,000. Additional permits are required to be able to invest in certain regulated sectors of the economy such as the mining or the pharmaceutical industry, for example. All foreigners wishing to work in Uganda have to obtain work permits.

19. Ethiopia

An investor visa of Category IV is issued to foreigners who already are carrying out investment projects in Ethiopia or who are planning to do so. An application for an investor visa can be filed online. The visa is extendable.

20. South African Republic

South Africa grants residence permits to those foreigners who intend to launch new business ventures in the country or invest into existing companies. The applicant for the residence permit also needs to obtain a business visa if he/ she intends to work in South Africa (for example, work for the company that he/ she creates). The minimum required investment amount is 5 million rand (around 270,000 US dollars).

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