Have you ever thought that it would be nice to go and spend some time in Europe to enjoy your hard earned cash, experience other countries and cultures and generally do a whole lot of travelling without having to come back to South Africa every 3 to 6 months, but to travel freely in the EU or a EU country, visiting your children  and grand children. Well, Europe in general is seeing a decling population and in order to stimulate the economy are welcoming people of independent means to come and spend their time and money in the country.

There are many countries offering non-lucrative or independent means visas for retirees or individuals of independent means. Among the reason for the issuance of these Visa’s are:

Reasons for independent means Visa’s

Economic Benefits

Hosting retirees or individuals with independent means brings much needed economic activity and are often designed specifically to stimulate localized economies. People of independent means and retired people with a guaranteed income bring stable sources of income, which they spend on housing, goods, and services in the host country and do not put much if any burden on the state. This new spending can benefit local businesses and communities.

Addressing Demographic Challenges

Many countries, particularly in Europe, face aging populations and declining birth rates. Offering visas to retirees can help address demographic challenges by attracting individuals who can contribute to the economy and potentially fill gaps in the labor force, particularly in sectors like healthcare and caregiving which are not often taken by residents of the country. In essence, if you are prepared to do what residents do not want to do and you are able to add value to the lives of the citizens, your chances of success are pretty good.

Promoting Tourism and Investment

Non-lucrative visa programs often attract wealthy individuals who may also invest in local businesses or real estate. Additionally, retirees often have more leisure time, which they can spend exploring the country, contributing to the tourism industry. Of course there may also be tourism activities by family members visiting parents or family.

Cultural Exchange and Diversity

Hosting retirees or individuals from diverse backgrounds enriches the cultural fabric of a country. It promotes cross-cultural understanding, fosters diversity, and encourages tolerance. All of these issues are sorely needed around the World today. We see religious, cultural and ethnic intolerance every time we turn on the news these days and living a harmonious lifestyle amongst people of differing cultures may seem like a utopian dream, it is possible.

Utilizing Existing Infrastructure

Which countries offer economic means Visa’s

Many countries already have infrastructure and services in place to support retirees or individuals with independent means, such as private healthcare facilities, housing options (including incentivised housing schemes to rejuvenate old towns), and leisure activities. By attracting these individuals, countries can maximize the utilization of existing resources.

Czech Republic

These countries are all seeking to attract economically secure individuals in their later years who have money, are not a burden to the state and will inject money into the local economies. In some cases there are cash incentives and discounts to move to areas of the country where population growth is in negative figures to help stimulate the micro economy around the areas concerned. Some of these areas are on the coast, on smaller islands or even within easy access to the cities. You may have read about the Italian offer to buy very old homes in villages around the country for $1 on the proviso that you restore the property and are a positive influence to both the community and the coconomy. Atre you that adventurous?

Here are our facourite destinations away from the usual USA, Canad and Britain where many South Africans already have family and have probably investigated the opportiunities already.

Visa options for retirees or individuals of independent means


Visa name

Elective Residence Visa (also known as the Retirement Visa or “Visto per Residenza Elettiva”)


  • Proof of sufficient financial means to support yourself in Italy without the need to work. This can include retirement income, pensions, investments, or any other stable source of income.
  • Health insurance coverage valid in Italy.
  • Proof of suitable accommodation in Italy, such as a rental agreement or property ownership.
  • Clean criminal record certificate from your home country and any country you have lived in for the past ten years.
  • Documentation demonstrating ties to Italy, such as a clear motivation statement indicating why you want to live in Italy.

Other basic documentation including a valid passport, passport-sized photos, and application forms.
Length of Visa: The Elective Residence Visa typically allows for a stay of up to one year initially. However, it can be renewed annually, allowing you to continue living in Italy as long as you meet the requirements.
Road to Citizenship

While holding an Elective Residence Visa, you can eventually become eligible for Italian citizenship through naturalization.

The requirements for citizenship include

Residing legally in Italy for a certain period, typically at least ten years, although this duration can be shorter in some cases, such as if you’re married to an Italian citizen.

Demonstrating integration into Italian society, including knowledge of the Italian language and culture.

Having stable financial means and a clean criminal record.

Meeting other specific criteria outlined in Italian citizenship laws.

It’s important to note that the road to Italian citizenship through naturalization can be complex, and the requirements may vary based on individual circumstances. It’s advisable to consult with an immigration lawyer or expert for personalized guidance regarding your specific situation.

Additionally, visa and immigration policies can change, so it’s essential to verify the most up-to-date information with the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country before making any plans to relocate to Italy.



D7 Visa (also known as the Passive Income Visa)


  • Proof of stable and regular passive income, such as pensions or investments, sufficient to support yourself.
  • Health insurance coverage valid in Portugal.
  • Criminal record certificate from your home country.
  • Proof of accommodation in Portugal.
  • Valid passport and other basic documentation.



Non-Lucrative Residence Visa


  • Proof of sufficient financial means to support yourself without working in Spain.
  • Health insurance coverage valid in Spain.
  • No criminal record in the past five years.
  • Medical certificate.
  • Proof of accommodation in Spain.
  • Valid passport and other basic documentation.



Greek Residency Visa for Financially Independent Persons


  • Proof of sufficient income or financial means to support yourself in Greece.
  • Health insurance coverage valid in Greece.
  • No criminal record.
  • Proof of accommodation in Greece.
  • Valid passport and other basic documentation.

Greece has negative population growth in the extreme and the Greek Government is seeking economically active people to visit the Islands and make a positive contribution to the local economies.



Category F Visa (Permanent Residence Permit)


  • Proof of stable and regular income from a legal source.
  • Health insurance coverage valid in Cyprus.
  • No criminal record.
  • Proof of accommodation in Cyprus.
  • Valid passport and other basic documentation.

Emmigration assistance service providers

Using an emigration service provider can offer several benefits compared to handling the emigration process yourself. There are many requirements which may require legal knowledge and like most things, it’s not how much you know but who you know. These emigration services are experts at assisting people apply for citizenship as well as the different Visa types to unltimately apply for citizenship.

Expertise and Knowledge

In most cases, a short discussion with the expert will give you a reasonabley good idea of your chances of success before you embark on the process.

Emigration service providers specialize in navigating the complexities of immigration laws, regulations, and procedures. They have extensive knowledge of the immigration processes of various countries, including the specific requirements for different visa categories. This expertise can help streamline the application process and minimize the risk of errors or omissions that could lead to delays or rejections.

Pertsonal Guidance

Emigration service providers offer personalized guidance tailored to your specific circumstances which could include the very complex area of Tax implications both in South Africa and your host country. They can assess your eligibility for different visa options, recommend the most suitable pathways based on your goals and resources, and provide detailed information about the requirements and documentation needed for each step of the process.

Assistance with Documentation

Gathering the required documentation for emigration applications can be time-consuming and confusing. Emigration service providers can assist you in preparing and organizing the necessary paperwork, ensuring that you submit a complete and accurate application package. This can help expedite the processing of your application and reduce the likelihood of requests for additional information from immigration authorities.

Compliance and Risk Mitigation

Emigration service providers are well-versed in immigration laws and regulations, ensuring that your application complies with all legal requirements. They can help you navigate potential pitfalls, such as visa restrictions, background checks, and health screenings, minimizing the risk of complications or visa denials. Additionally, they can provide advice on residency obligations, tax implications, and other important considerations to ensure that you remain in good standing with immigration authorities.