In recent years, more and more South Africans have chosen to retire abroad as the number of countries offering foreigners residency or citizenship when they purchase property over a certain value has increased.
In particular, the number of South Africans retiring to Spain has risen over the course of the past two years. Sergio Codonyer, founder of Door to Europe, a social business which helps non-EU citizens buy property in Spain and acquire Spanish residency, believes this is because of the benefits attached to Spanish residency.
When South Africans retire to Spain, there are two avenues they can pursue to secure Spanish residency; they can either apply for a retirement visa and then for residency, or if they can afford to buy property worth 500 000 euros or more, they, their spouse and children will receive residency automatically.
Here are four of the biggest benefits of Spanish residency offers South African retirees;
1. Access to Spanish healthcare. The greatest benefit of Spanish residency for South African retirees is undoubtedly access to Spain’s public healthcare. Spain’s public healthcare system is free for Spanish residents and is currently ranked the 8th best healthcare system in the world according to the Lancet Healthcare Access and Quality Index, whilst South Africa sits in 119th place.
Unlike in South Africa, in Spain, the majority of doctors work in the public system, reducing the need for private healthcare and directing almost all of Spain’s resources, expensive medical equipment and research into the public sector.
2. Freedom of movement. Another great benefit of Spanish residency for South African retirees is that they can travel visa-free to Spain and within the twenty-six countries of the Schengen zone. This allows retirees and their families to travel back and forth between Spain and South Africa and enjoy family holidays in Europe with no stress or paper work.
3. Security and wealth preservation. Thanks to the stability of the larger European economy, South African retirees enjoy greater wealth preservation than they would at home, giving them peace of mind about their finances in their retirement.
4. European business contacts. As Spanish residents, South African retirees and their families can establish or expand their businesses in the stable European economy, increasing their business’ profits and introducing Europe to all South Africa has to offer.
Says Codonyer, “As people near retirement, many look to either retire abroad or to own property overseas so that they can divide their time between their home country and favourite holiday destination.
Due to the growth of the Spanish market and many benefits attached to residency, Spain is becoming an increasingly popular retirement destination for South Africans as it allows them to diversify their investments and gives retirees peace of mind about their health, finances and property investments during their retirement.”
For more information about Door to Europe and acquiring Spanish residency, please visit