The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has been granting citizenship to foreign investors, complying with a certain criterion, since 2013. Its citizenship by investment program significantly differs from other similar Caribbean programs, as it envisages multiple investment options to qualify and, unlike others, requires physically residing in the country for at least five days in the first five years starting from obtaining citizenship.
Antigua and Barbuda has become a favorite tourist destination in recent years due to its lush tropical forests, volcanic mountains, clean and picturesque beaches, with turquoise waters and coral reefs, perfectly suited for diving lovers.
In 2013 Antigua and Barbuda launched a citizenship by investment (CBI) scheme attracting foreign investors, seeking alternative citizenship and second passports. In exchange, investors pour much-needed capital into the country’s economy, especially in tourism infrastructure, healthcare and education. It is very easy to register the company and conduct international business on the islands. Antigua and Barbuda’s passport allows visa-free access to more than 151 jurisdictions all over the world and many other perks that will be reviewed below.
How to Apply
Antigua and Barbuda’s CBI program has a very straightforward and easy application process, as applications are prepared and submitted by Authorized Agents. A foreigner cannot directly apply to the program and have to select one of the Agents, which are generally legal entities licensed by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, to promote the program internationally and submit applications to it. Applicants need to collect all the required documentation and provide the selected Agent with them.
The whole application process can last from 3 to 6 months. There is no need to learn the language, study the history or culture of the country and have any special managerial experience or education. Applicants even are not required to travel to the island during the application process, but in order to maintain citizenship, it is necessary to spend at least five days on the islands in the first five years of citizenship.
The whole application process is confidential and personal details of economic citizens are not disclosed.
Furthermore, Antigua and Barbuda has adopted Digital Assets Business Bill, 2020, formally allowing cryptocurrencies to be used as payment methods in the CBI program. Becoming the second, After Vanuatu, which have opened the doors to cryptos. But officials are ordered to convert the paid cryptos into US dollars or other currencies on a daily basis in order to ensure the safety of funds.
Citizenship For The Whole Family
An investor can include family members as dependents in the CBI application. Antigua and Barbuda’s legislation allows to include spouse, children (including from the previous marriages) up to the age of 30 years, but financially dependent to the main applicant. Also, parents and grandparents over the age of 55 years and unmarried siblings of the investor or spouse without age restrictions. Remarkably, family members can obtain Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship after the main applicant successfully accomplishes the CBI application and gets a second passport. If before the timeframe of late accession to the CBI application was limited to five years, starting from November 2020, the time limit is lifted up, and the price for it was reduced on average by 30 percent.
It has to be also mentioned that there are no laws in Antigua and Barbuda forbidding polygamy.
The main applicant to Antigua and Barbuda’s CBI program must be at least 18 years old, with a clean criminal history and good health.
It is necessary to prove the legal source of investing funds.
The investor and all family members included in the CBI application above the age of 12 years need to pass Due Diligence (DD) and background checks. The first DD, as usual, is performed by the selected Agent itself.
Persons who are in international sanctioned lists or have entry restrictions or visa denials in those countries, Antigua and Barbuda, signed a visa-waiver agreement with or the EU, USA, and Canada, are not welcomed into the program.
The minimum investment threshold of acquiring Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship starts from $100,000. This is a non-refundable contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF),
There are four investment options currently available in the CBI program.
- Making a non-refundable contribution to the NDF, starting from $100,000
- Investing in real estate, starting from $200,000
- Investing in a business, starting from $400,000
- Donation to the University of West Indies, starting from $150,000
The NDF is a government-established entity supervised by the parliament, and funds accumulated in it are used to finance various kinds of infrastructure and social programs. Along with a non-refundable contribution, the main applicant has to cover an application processing fee of $30,000. If a family of five or more applies, then the threshold of the contribution increases to $125,000, but the processing fee reduces twice and stands at $15,000. Besides, applicants have to cover DD fees, which stand at $7,500 for the main applicant and spouse, $4,000 for each adult included in the application, and $2,000 for children from 12 to 17 years old.
The threshold of the real estate option for the single applicant is $400,000, but it can be reduced twice to $200,000 in case of joint investment. Investment should be made in the government-approved realty project. Generally, these are luxury resorts and other kinds of touristic infrastructure. Investors are obliged to keep the investment for at least 5 years. The threshold does not increase according to the number of family members included in the application, but the application process implies covering the administrative (starting from $30,000) and DD ($7,500) fees, as well as paying taxes.
For the single applicant, the threshold for the business investment option is $1.5 million, but in the case of joint investment, this amount can be lowered to just $400,000 if the joint investment equals $5 million. It is possible to invest in the existing business, as well as finance the start-up.
For the University of West Indies option, the threshold is $150,000 for a single applicant. The West Indies University is one of the oldest educational institutions in the Caribbean. One member of the investors’ family can study at this university for one year without any fees.
Advantages Of Antigua And Barbuda’s Citizenship
Holders of second passports from Antigua and Barbuda can visa-free travel to more than 150 countries worldwide, including the Schengen Area, the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Russia.
Antigua and Barbuda’s citizens can easily obtain visas of ten years’ validity to the USA and Canada. As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and with the British queen as formal head of the state, a second passport from Antigua and Barbuda gives the right to stay up to 180 days a year in the UK and enjoy special benefits and discounts while enrolling into the UK’s educational institutions.
In the Schengen Area, Antigua and Barbuda’s passport allows to stay visa-free for up to 90 days in any 180 days.
Other advantages of becoming an economic citizen of Antigua and Barbuda include a favorable tax system and access to good banking services. The tax system is very business-friendly. There are no taxes on wealth, on profits generated abroad, inheritance, gifts, etc. As tax-heavens, these islands create opportunities to expand business internationally. Alternative banking services help to diversify and secure assets.
The country is successfully tackling the crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Funds generated through the CBI scheme are partly directed to the health care system, which is good enough.
Thanks to the proper economic policy and the CBI program, Antigua and Barbuda has transformed from a mainly agrarian state into a sought-after touristic destination. As a result, its citizens enjoy a relatively high standard of living; the nominal GDP per capita in Antigua and Barbuda is around $17,500 which is one of the highest in the region.