The Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program was launched in 2013, and over 2,000 people have successfully obtained passports of the island nation so far.
This fall, hurricanes Irma and Maria swept through the Caribbean Basin, and, while the Antigua island was mostly spared, houses and infrastructure were completely destroyed on Barbuda, which bore the full wrath of the cataclysm. The desperate need for relief funds has forced the Antiguan government to tweak the CIP (Citizenship-by-Investment Program) in hopes of attracting foreign investors. Today, the Antiguan citizenship can be yours for the price of one-time $100,000 donation (well, slightly more, but we will get to the specifics) to the National Development Fund.
The Antiguan passport provides its holder with an effortless visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry in 136 countries, including the UK and Singapore. Long-term US and Canada visas are easily obtainable as well.
Investing in Antigua and Barbuda’s real estate can be quite profitable for entrepreneurs since the region is developing rapidly (especially the tourism industry). The jurisdiction provides endless opportunities to cultivate your already existing business, or to launch a new venture. Also, the Antiguan citizenship guarantees tax optimization benefits: world income, inheritance, capital gains are not taxed.
To further elaborate on taxation conditions, let us mention that Antigua and Barbuda has started offering the opportunity to obtain tax residence (otherwise called fiscal residency). To get it, one must meet the following criteria:
Within the 6 months after completing the application process, one is issued a Certificate of Permanent Resident of Antigua and a Tax Identification Number.
Although many European states also offer citizenship in exchange for investment, Caribbean passports actually have a number of advantages. Among them are:
To become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, one must have funds at the ready for one of the investment options (we will be talking about them in a moment). The funds, obviously, must come from legal sources only.
Additionally, the applicant must:
The investor’s family members may also apply for an Antiguan passport: the investor’s spouse, children under 26 years of age who are financially dependent on the applicant, and parents who are over 65 years of age. This family-inclusive policy makes Antiguan citizenship the best option if you’re seeking for a quiet, reliable harbor to escape should any unfavourable political and/or economic situations arise at home that could potentially put your family's and business safety at risk.
To apply for Antiguan citizenship, an investor is required to provide
The main applicant must provide a financial statement - a bank account statement, a bank reference letter, a business partner recommendation letter, as well as fund origin certificate. Document translation and legalization should be handled by skilled intermediary migration operators; their assistance is obligatory as per program requirements, not to mention that it helps to facilitate and speed up the paperwork.
Now on to investment options, of which there are plenty. Firstly, there is the path of making a non-refundable $100,000 donation (the price was reduced from $200,000 due to hurricane destructions) to the National Development Fund of Antigua and Barbuda. An alternative would be investing at least $400,000 in Antiguan property and then hold it continuously for 5 years. It is also possible to acquire Antiguan citizenship in exchange for at least $1.5 million business investment for a single individual, or $5 million for two or more investors, with a minimum individual share of $400,000.
Finally, we’re unraveling the main mystery that is on the minds of potential investors. How much will it cost me? Each of the options comes with a number of additional mandatory costs. That is, one must add to the overall sum of investment passport fees, government fees, due diligence check fees, and application processing fees.
Below is the general scheme of expenditures for the option of National Development Fund donation.
Real estate purchase requires substantial funds, but at the same time, once the obligatory 5-year period of holding the property expires, one has great chances of returning the investment by renting or reselling it.
According to the terms of Antigua and Barbuda’s CIP, a foreign investor may only invest in government-approved property objects. At first glance, this seems like a limitation, in reality, the restriction was imposed to protect investors and their assets from scammers.
Moreover, the selection of government-approved real estate is pretty wide. Depending on the amount you are willing to invest, it is possible to buy a share in one of the local hotels, or buy a house, an apartment, or a large waterfront villa. The islands are small, so almost all houses are in close proximity to the beach, which is an additional advantage should you choose to rent out.
For $400-600 thousand, you can get a small apartment in a coastal condominium; for slightly more, a single-detached house. Villas by the ocean normally cost $1-1.5 million.
If you chose the NDF donation option but still would like to buy a house or an apartment, you may consider any object on the market, not only those from state-approved sellers.
Antiguan authorities could soon start working on more appealing offers to draw investors’ attention to Barbuda now that major construction works are due after the hurricane nightmare.
The paradise-like climate of Antigua and Barbuda is attracting wealthy business persons and high-profile celebrities alike - everyone wants to stay away from the general public and unwanted attention once in awhile. Barbuda was a go-to destination for Princess Diana. Oprah Winfrey, Eric Clapton, Giorgio Armani, the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi - all own property on the islands. Oh, and Robert De Niro invested a considerable sum in the construction of a new hotel, and was appointed special economic envoy by the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
We can't say with certainty if any of the stellar figures got second citizenship by owning property in Antigua and Barbuda; the Antiguan government keeps mum about their deals with foreign investors. Personal data safety and being out of the limelight is one of the many reasons for wealthy entrepreneurs to consider investing in a Caribbean passport.
World’s wealthiest individuals have come to appreciate the opportunities and possibilities Antigua is creating for yachting. The island is now one of the main destinations in the Caribbean Basin for fans of this type of recreational activity, culminating in the annual grand yacht show.
There are few key requirements for obtaining a second passport - but they absolutely must be heeded so as not to hinder the process. Submitting misleading or untruthful information can and will lead to annulment; local authorities are running thorough background checks, so the applicants must be sure they are providing reliable data.
Antiguan authorities are especially particular about the health status of the applicants. At any slightest threat of allowing a serious communicable disease into the country, the main applicant and their family members are denied entry.
Adverse visa record might do a disservice to those applying for Antiguan citizenship, notably if entry was denied into countries that operate on the visa-free agreement with Antigua and Barbuda.
Proof of fraudulent activity while obtaining the passport is grounds for having one’s citizenship revoked, as is submitting false information about oneself.
It is crucial to watch out for unscrupulous agents whose illegal gerrymandering might cost one’s citizenship, together with the funds already invested. To avoid any misunderstandings and troubles, the applicants are strongly advised to only employ services of certified and trustworthy agents.
1. What about my first citizenship, will I have to renounce it to, or after, I get Antigua and Barbuda passport? — Antiguan and Barbudan legislation allows dual citizenship. All information concerning citizenship acquisition is confidential and is not disclosed to the authorities of your first country of residence.
2. Do I have to personally submit the documents to apply for the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program? — Two crucial points to bear in mind here: 1) only paper applications are accepted, 2) those paper applications must be submitted specifically by accredited agents.
3. How long will it take me to get a passport? — The process takes from 3 to 5 months.
4. Do I need to pay taxes in Antigua and Barbuda after receiving my passport? — Taxes are only imposed on Antiguan income that one gets, for instance, by renting property.
5. Is it possible to become a tax resident of Antigua and Barbuda? — This option has become available recently! We’ll remind you the simple requirements: owning or renting property in Antigua; physical presence in the country for at least 30 days per year; annual income of no less than US $100,000; yearly fixed tax payment of US $ 20,000. The candidacy review takes up to 6 months.
6. Can one obtain a driving license, get utility billing, etc.? — Unlike in other jurisdictions, it is possible to get a driver’s license and utility billing address in Antigua and Barbuda.
7. Is there an “expiry date” for Antiguan citizenship? — There is none; the citizenship is permanent and is inherited by the holder’s descendants. The passport, however, must be renewed once every 5 years; the procedure does not require one’s personal attendance.
The Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program significantly broadens the horizons for high net worth individuals. First and foremost, the Antiguan passport is a means to safeguard one’s assets, and to optimize and reduce one’s tax burden. The islands’ policy towards taxation is quite liberal, including the foreign income. Another important fact on the list is that the Antiguan passport guarantees freedom of movement around the world, creates opportunity to get a 10-year US visa, and grants visa-free entry to the UK.
Thus, investing in real estate on the Caribbean islands is beneficial from every perspective: easy travelling options, friendly tax environment, additional income source, and a place for the whole family to stay. Welcome to Antigua and Barbuda!