Immigration advice for South Africans

Hi there, dear expats! I'm a South African text editor who can work anywhere on the planet with reliable internet connection.
I'm considering emigrating and have thought of going to Madagascar. What is living there like? A friend is put off by the crime. Is it safer than South Africa?
What is the cost of living like? I live quite simply and have few possessions.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Johan de Smidt

Hi Johan,

Your friend is right - Madagascar is on a very bad lane. In 2009 there was the coup and 5 years of transition followed, and since then it is virtually a "presidential anarchy".

I lived there from 2004-2015 and had a company during 10 years. A big part of my heart is still there, but I could not bear the criminality, the corruption and the environmental destruction anymore. I moved to Nicaragua which is much safer - here the Police really do their job. Infrastructure (streets in the cities and roads in the countryside) are in a very good state and you always see repair teams.

There are a few electricity/internet and water supply breakdowns, but this is nothing compared to Madagascar!

If you have an online business, you could come here on a tourist visa and travel to various countries. Nicaragua is starting to limit the perpetual tourists making one visa run after the other (it seems especially for people coming from the US) - so either change the country every 3-6 months, or create a business (invest about 30,000$).

Thanks, Salsera. So the country to consider is Nicaragua, you say. I will check it out.

It depends on what you want and what you like. If you do not mind living the life of a permanent traveller, you could stay for 3-6 months with a tourist visa in Nicaragua, then take a look at Mexico, Costa Rica (expensive), Chile, Peru... omitting Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala which are infested by the Maras (very dangerous criminals).

If you want to stay you have to apply for residency.

Hi Jacques, I moved to Madagascar about 11 years ago and lived there for 7 years.  Recently went back for a 10 day visit and honestly the crime is minimal and not at all like South Africa.  We ate at one of the 'best' and most frequented restaurants in Tana, Sakamunga and we could not believe how excellent and very inexpensive the food was.
Rentals - I have seen that they compare to parts of SA but not all so depending on the area quite affordable.  I think the main challenge is the investment you need to make to become a resident and the loop holes you might have to 'jump' through although it would be the same with most countries and employing a company to assit will be the easiest but expensive route.   
Madagascar and its people are wonderful so if you are looking for a unique experience and a place to breathe and experience different challenges then this is the place for you buy not for everyone.

You can always contact Louise Fox the Honory Consulate who is most helpful.


My family and I are living in US but looking to gain residency in Madagascar. My head is spinning in circles trying to figure out which route to take. Is there a way you can offer advice on how to do this maybe outside of this forum? Thank you so much!

Sent you a contact request and message.

I am  living here for 16 years, an American in Madagascar. Why do you want to live in Madagascar?  Your reason will be a key element in your resident paperwork.

Hi there,

From what i have read it sounds as though many of you have successfully migrated to Madagascar from SA. If so can you or anyone else inform me on how i could do the same?

Not from SA, but once from Germany and in a few months from Nicaragua.

If there is an Embassy of Madagascar in your country - in SA there is one - you can contact them and , after chosing your visa type on their website, take the corresponding steps. If not, there is a company - Madagascar Service ( who can help you in the visa steps, also for the transformable.

If you have never visited Madagascar, I recommend you to take a look at the country for 1 or 2 months. It is not for everyone - many hours of "delestage" (power outage), so that the internet also does not work. I once visited Capetown, coming from Mahajanga, and this means 3 days of traveling - so plan your time and especially traveling inside the country with plenty of time.

The visa type depends on your age - if you are not yet retired, you must either found a company and invest, be a missionary or marry a Malagasy woman. You will not be able to live there several years as a freelancer.

Go here for help

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