How to get Seychelles citizenship? [Guide]

This informational guide gives you a quick look at the benefits of Seychelles citizenship and how to get Seychelles citizenship as a foreigner. Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 stunning islands in the Indian Ocean. It shares ocean real estate with island nations such as Mauritius, the Maldives, and Madagascar. Seychelles serves as an important entryway between Africa and Asia. Whether you flew into the country for a business meeting or to play in the surf on a family vacation, Seychelles likely made an unforgettable impression on you. If your anything like me, moving there crossed your mind more than once.

Benefits of Seychelles Citizenship

Besides having unlimited access to some of the best dive and snorkeling spots in the world, citizens of Seychelles enjoy a relatively high standard of living. Nearly every household owns a home and a car.

The country has one of Africa’s strongest economies, and its government encourages business development beyond the two dominant industries of tourism and fishing.

Citizens of Seychelles can live, work, and travel to and from the country freely. They also get social security benefits, a state pension, free healthcare, and voting rights.

Who Seeks Seychelles Citizenship?

People who come from all walks of life seek to become Seychelles citizens. However, there are certain groups of people who stand out from the rest.

Some of them are real estate investors, entrepreneurs, retired persons, and people who have family in Seychelles. The country is a goldmine for investors who dream of building boutique or resort-style hotels or for a business person who has a great idea for a restaurant.

Seychelles is also known for its relatively lenient tax obligations for business owners and investors. Retired persons find that the country has just the right mix of sunshine, surf, and affordable amenities for their lifestyles and budgets.

Family relationships are important, and those who have family in Seychelles seek to become citizens more than any other group of people.

Guide to Seychelles Citizenship Permits

Start with Immigration

Becoming a citizen of Seychelles won’t happen overnight. You can’t become a citizen by simply marrying a Seychellois or making a monetary investment. You must know and be known by the people of Seychelles by making the nation your legal residence for several years. To do this, you must be a holder of a permit that fits your purpose for being in the country.

Here are the main permit categories that’ll help you on your journey towards becoming a Seychelles citizen.

Resident Permit

When asked about how to get Seychelles citizenship, I tell people to first seek out a Resident permit. This permit allows you to establish legal residence in Seychelles without being a citizen of the country.

To get a Resident permit, you’ll need to have a family connection with the nation and demonstrate how you’ll contribute to the welfare of the country while you’re there.

To keep a Resident permit valid, you’ll need to stay in Seychelles for five days per year for the duration of the permit’s term.

A Resident permit is not a work visa.

Since the Resident permit doesn’t allow you to work in Seychelles while you’re there, you’ll need to provide proof of your financial status to government officials before they grant you a Resident permit.

You’ll also need to deposit a certain amount of money into a local bank in Seychelles to cover any emergency expenses that you or your dependants may incur during your residence in Seychelles.

The Resident permit isn’t for everyone.

A retired person who wants to visit family in Seychelles while earning the privilege of becoming a Seychelles citizen benefits the most from being a Resident permit holder.

Dependant’s Permit

Just married a Seychellois?

You can start your path to becoming a Seychelles citizen by obtaining a Dependant’s permit through your Seychellois husband or wife.

When looking at how to get Seychelles citizenship when married to a current citizen, you’ll notice that your time living in the country counts.

The Dependant’s permit allows your Seychellois spouse to register you as a legal occupant of his or her household during your years in Seychelles. The Dependant’s permit also extends to minor children who aren’t Seychelles citizens.

To apply for the Dependant’s permit, your Seychellois spouse will need to show the nation’s immigration office proof of his or her citizenship and a copy of your marriage license.

He’ll need to submit copies of your passport, the birth certificates of any minor children, and proof of income.

A Dependant’s permit holder isn’t allowed to occupy employment positions in the country.

The permit holder also isn’t entitled to free healthcare or voting rights in the country.

This type of permit is great for financially stable, stay-at-home moms and their minor children who want to become Seychelles citizens one day.

Student Permit

The Seychelles government recognizes that higher education is the gateway to economic success for individuals and nations.

Enrolling as a student in Seychelles is a popular way for foreigners to become Seychelles citizens.

The Student permit is also available to dependant children of parents who live in Seychelles These children must be at least 18 years of age and have the intention of pursuing higher education courses in the country..

To be a Student permit holder, you’ll need to be accepted into a government-approved educational program.

A Student permit holder doesn’t have the right to work in Seychelles. You’ll need to prove that you can support yourself financially throughout your years at school.

The government will also ask that you submit a copy of your passport and proof of your housing arrangements before it grants you a Student permit.

The Student permit paves the way for you to become a citizen of Seychelles by leveraging your years of living and studying in the country.

Gainful Occupation Permit

Establishing residence in Seychelles doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to work in the country. Unless you’re drawing retirement benefits or have an alternate source of income, you’ll want to find employment in Seychelles.

According to current market statistics, employment opportunities in Seychelles are ample, and thousands of foreigners find jobs in the country. To legally work in the country without being a citizen, you’ll need a Gainful Occupation Permit.

The process of getting a Gainful Occupation Permit begins with your future employer. The company must submit an application for employment approval to the country’s Ministry of Employment, Immigration (opens in a new tab), and Civil Status.

Once it receives your approval certificate from the government, the company must submit your application for a Gainful Occupation Permit to the country’s immigration office.

I found that the turnaround time for permit application processing is relatively quick.

The administering government organization recommends that employers submit the Gainful Occupation Permit application a week before the employee is scheduled to begin work for the company.

If you’re a non-Seychellois who plans to become self-employed in the country, you’ll also need to have a Gainful Occupation Permit on file with the government.

The Gainful Occupation Permit is more than just a way to earn a living in an island paradise.

If you’re a Student Permit holder who wants to one day become a Seychelles citizen, you’ll need to hold a Gainful Occupation Permit for at least two years as well as be a university graduate before applying to become a citizen.

International Trade Zone Permit

Seychelles supports economic growth through partnerships with foreign companies and governments. Through an act of its parliament, the country created international trade zones where foreign entities run large-scale import and export operations.

If you’ve landed a job with an international trade zone business, your employer will submit an application for an international trade zone permit to the country’s Financial Services Authority (opens in a new tab) on your behalf.

When considering how to get Seychelles citizenship, working in the international trade zone should be high on your to-do list.

As an international trade zone permit holder, you’ll likely earn higher-than-average pay and gain the years of residence that you’ll need to apply to become a citizen in the future.

Permanent Resident Permit

Establishing permanent residence in Seychelles is a big step on your journey to becoming a citizen of the country. A Permanent Resident permit holder is allowed to work in the country without a Gainful Occupation Permit.

His or her minor children can also have endorsements on the Permanent Resident permit until the children reach the age of 18.

Permanent Resident permit holders fall into several categories that include:

  • Married People.
  • Students.
  • Priority workers.
  • Investors.

A person who is married to a Seychellois spouse and has made the country his or her legal residence for at least five years qualifies to become a Permanent Resident permit holder.

A person who is married to a Seychellois spouse and has made the country his or her legal residence for at least five years qualifies to become a Permanent Resident permit holder.

A person who was once married to a Seychellois spouse and has lived in the country for five years also qualifies for the permit.

A foreign student who has made the country his or her legal residence for at least five years while attending school and has held a Gainful Occupation Permit is eligible to become a Permanent Resident permit holder.

You also must be a university graduate to be a Permanent Resident permit holder in this category.

Quality for a permanent Resident permit

Priority workers who have made the country their legal residence for at least five years qualify for the Permanent Resident permit.

During the immigration process, priority workers must demonstrate superior abilities in the areas of:

  • Art
  • Science
  • Business
  • Law
  • Sports
  • Hold a university degree

They also must make significant contributions to the country’s development for successful immigration and to maintain their status as Permanent Resident permit holders.

A popular way to gain permanent residence status in the country is through investments.

A business person who has invested at least $1 million USD in a commercial venture and has made the country his or her legal residence for at least a year qualifies to become a Permanent Resident permit holder.

Even if you haven’t made the country your legal residence for at least one year, you can still qualify to become a Permanent Resident permit holder if you had business affiliations with a Seychelles business for at least five years and make the $1 million USD investment.

As an investor who holds a Permanent Resident permit, you’ll qualify to become a citizen after several years of living in the country .

Qualifying for Seychelles Citizenship

The government of Seychelles confers citizenship pursuant to its Constitution.

Registration by descent, naturalization, and registration by special circumstances are the three ways to become a citizen of Seychelles.

I’ll define these categories and describe the requirements associated with each of them.

#1 Registration by Descent

All children who are born in Seychelles aren’t automatically counted as citizens of the country. For instance, a husband and wife who are citizens of New Zealand are living and working in Seychelles via special permits. After several years of legal residence in the country, they have their first child. According to Seychelles laws, the child isn’t a citizen of Seychelles. The parents would more than likely go through the process of obtaining New Zealand citizenship for their child.

A child who is born to a Seychelles citizen qualifies to become a citizen by descent. His or her parents must fill out the needed paperwork to register the birth, obtain a birth certificate, and pay the registration fee to officially register the child as a Seychelles citizen.

A child who was born abroad or who doesn’t have a Seychelles birth certificate can still apply for citizenship by descent as an adult. That person has to prove that he or she has at least one parent or grandparent who was born in Seychelles.

#2 Naturalization

The islands of Seychelles were first known to be settled by East Africans, French, and South Indians during the 1700s. The mixed population of people today continues to add to the nation’s cultural richness through marriages. One way that non-Seychellois people get to be citizens of the country is by marrying a Seychelles citizen.

You must be married to the Seychelles citizen for at least 10 years and have lived in the country for five consecutive years before you submit your application to become a citizen by naturalization.

In recent years, the highest number of naturalized citizens in Seychelles are Indians.

#3 Registration by Special Circumstances

The Seychelles government allows people who meet certain special requirements to become citizens.

These groups of people include the following persons:

  • Married Persons
  • Students
  • Priority Workers
  • Investors

A person who married a Seychelles citizen is eligible to become a citizen through registration by special circumstances if the spouse is deceased or the couple is no longer married.

The applicant must have lived in Seychelles for at least 15 cumulative years and been physically present in the country for 13 of those years.

If you’ve lived and studied in Seychelles for five years and are a university graduate, you qualify to register as a citizen of Seychelles.

You also must have held a Gainful Occupation Permit for two years and a Permanent Residence permit for over five years.

Seychelles welcomes talented individuals who’ll use their gifts to promote the welfare of the country. These priority workers excel in fields such as the arts, science, and business.

To become a citizen under the priority worker category, you must have an advanced degree or professional degree in a sought-after field.

You must have lived in Seychelles for 15 cumulative years, been physically present for 13 of those years, and held a Permanent Residence permit for 10 years.

Positive Contribution

During your time in Seychelles, you must have made positive contributions to the country’s development.

Investors can become Seychelles citizens by investing at least $1 million USD in a Seychelles business.

Applicants for citizens under the investor category must have lived in Seychelles for at least 11 cumulative years.

Besides the specific requirements to become a citizen in the three categories of registration by descent, naturalization, and registration by special circumstances, each applicant’s history must be free from serious criminal activity. If you’ve been convicted of a crime against one of the nation’s laws which resulted in the imprisonment of greater than a year, you can’t become a citizen.

Applicants must also receive a passing grade of 80 percent on a citizenship test that’s offered in Seychelles Creole, French, and English.

Citizenship Exam

The exam to become a Seychelles citizen consists of 100 questions that were drafted by a government-led eligibility committee. The test is a multiple-choice assessment that covers the history, politics, and culture of Seychelles.

Upon successful completion of the exam, applicants are interviewed by committee members before being made citizens of Seychelles.

Securing a Seychelles Passport

The Seychelles passport is known as the most powerful passport in Africa because it offers its holders the most travel freedom.

Seychelles passport holders can visit up to 150 countries and territories without needing to get a visa before traveling.

However, the Seychelles government doesn’t grant passports to foreigners. Only Seychelles citizens can get Seychelles passports.

How to get Seychelles citizenship?

  • Identify Eligibility Pathway:
    • By descent: If you have at least one parent or grandparent who was a Seychellois citizen.
    • By naturalization: After legally residing in Seychelles for a certain period, typically 5 years.
    • By marriage: After being married to a Seychellois citizen for at least 10 years and living in Seychelles for 5 consecutive years.
    • By investment: Through significant economic contributions, subject to stringent conditions and residency requirements.
  • Gather Necessary Documentation:
    • Birth certificates or proof of Seychellois descent.
    • Marriage certificate, if applicable.
    • Proof of continuous legal residence.
    • Evidence of investment or business interests in Seychelles, if applying through investment.
  • Legal Residency:
    • Obtain the appropriate permit (Resident, Dependant’s, Student, Gainful Occupation, or Permanent Resident Permit) to establish legal residence.
    • Maintain physical presence as required by the specific permit.
  • Contribute to Seychelles:
    • Demonstrate a contribution to the welfare and development of Seychelles, which can vary based on the category of citizenship being applied for.
  • Clean Criminal Record:
    • Ensure you have no serious criminal convictions that would disqualify you from citizenship.
  • Pass Citizenship Exam (if applicable):
    • Achieve the required score on a citizenship test that assesses knowledge of Seychelles’ history, culture, and laws.
  • Application Process:
    • Submit a formal application for citizenship with all required documents to the Seychelles government.
  • Await Government Decision:
    • The application will be reviewed by the authorities, and if all criteria are met, citizenship may be granted.

Closing Thoughts on Seychelles Citizenship

The Seychelles islands offer little bits of paradise in the Indian Ocean. While visiting the nation is relatively easy, acquiring citizenship there is more complex. The Seychelles government enforces strict requirements for the acquisition of citizenship by foreigners to ensure the welfare of the country for years to come.

If my guide increases your desire to move to Seychelles, I advise you to contact an immigration lawyer in Seychelles to expedite the immigration process in the most cost-effective way.

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FAQs on Seychelles Citizenship

What are the steps to obtain Seychelles citizenship?

Identify the path (descent, naturalization, or special circumstances), confirm eligibility, gather necessary documents, fulfill residency requirements, maintain a clean criminal record, pass the citizenship exam, consult with an immigration lawyer if needed, submit the application, and wait for government approval.

Can foreigners buy property and get citizenship in Seychelles?

Foreigners can buy property in Seychelles, but property ownership alone does not lead to citizenship. Applicants must meet residency and other criteria for citizenship.

How long does it take to become a Seychelles citizen?

It varies, but naturalization requires at least 5 years of consecutive residency, while other paths may have different timeframes.

What are the investment requirements for Seychelles citizenship?

For citizenship by investment, a person must invest at least $1 million USD in a Seychelles business and meet other residency and legal requirements.

Does Seychelles offer citizenship by descent or marriage?

Yes, Seychelles offers citizenship by descent to those with a Seychellois parent or grandparent. Citizenship by marriage requires being married to a Seychellois citizen for at least 10 years and living in the country for 5 consecutive years.

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4 thoughts on “How to get Seychelles citizenship?”

  1. Does foreigners naturalised in Seychelles had to renounce their existing citizenship

  2. Does Seychelles allow dual citizenship for investors means foreigners naturalised by investment

  3. Hi there, can i share your content on my website?

    • you can link to my blog if you’d like.


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