Weary of the struggles associated with visa acquisition, driven by the need to find a safe harbour both for their families and assets, thousands of high net worth individuals strive to acquire second citizenship or residence permit by investing in the host economy of their choice.
In 2017, Antigua and Barbuda placed high among the world countries that offer affluent foreign individuals their citizenship in exchange for investment. Judged by seven criteria, Antigua, together with other Caribbean nations, dominated the prestigious and significant PWM CBI Index.
While applying for a citizenship by investment of Antigua and Barbuda, potential investors can choose one of the three options: purchase of government-approved real estate, one-time donation to Antigua and Barbuda’s National Development Fund, or investing in a local government-approved business.
This latter option is backed by several strong reasons clearly obvious to far-sighted investors, like excellent prospects for gaining profit. The tourism sphere is rapidly developing in the Caribbean region, justifying, say, hotel or restaurant construction.
One can invest in, or establish, a business project in Antigua and Barbuda. This option is safe since the government oversees every stage of the deal. The minimum investment amount for a single applicant starts at US$1.5 million. Several partners can team up for a joint investment, with a minimum individual investment of US$400,000 - bear in mind that the total amount for a group starts at the US$5 million threshold. Count in an additional processing fee of US$50,000 that is imposed for a single applicant or for a family of maximum 4 people, and US$15,000 for each additional dependent.
Antigua and Barbuda already has a reputation of being a country with most optimal conditions for tax residents but it is the only country in the Caribbean region with CIB program that offers this status to foreign investors.
To apply, one is required to have the Antiguan permanent residence permit (issued when leasing or purchasing real estate), reside in the country for at least one month per year, report annual income of at least US$100,000, and pay a US$20,000 in flat tax a year.
The process takes about 5 months, and as a result, the investor receives a Permanent Residency Certificate (Permit), and a Tax Identification Number.
One is also eligible to obtain an Antiguan driving license which, in many countries, is considered as identity document and often required by banks when opening an account.
Offshore companies are exempt from most taxes and are not required to file tax returns for a 50-year period in Antigua and Barbuda. Naturally, this feature is popular among businessmen of the world who are creating IBCs for (among other reasons):
The only restriction is that Antiguan IBCs trading and commercial activities cannot occur within the country.
All IBC-related operations are governed by the International Business Corporations Act of 1982 (as amended 1999-2005) that allows for fast registration, exemption from taxation, and control by foreigners.
As was mentioned above, IBCs on Antigua are exempt from paying corporate, income, capital gains, withholding, asset transfer, estate taxes, and stamp duties. The shareholders can receive dividends paid from the IBC’s income free of income taxes. No audits, annual corporate filings, or annual financial statements are required.
Confidentiality and owner/shareholder privacy of IBCs are fiercely protected by the law as it is illegal to disseminate any names, information or banking details on the IBC to unauthorized persons.
To set up an IBC in Antigua, a participation is necessary of at least two Antigua and Barbuda citizens who are also residents of the jurisdiction, with one of them being an attorney. There is also a requirement of appointing a local registered agent and having a registered office address.
It is crucial to enlist the guidance of qualified consultants who will help one safely navigate the legal waters.
Information technology-related business in Antigua and Barbuda looks like a promising investment. Companies operating in this sphere often receive subsidies or authorised capital from the state treasury.
In 2013, Antiguan authorities established the Citizenship by Investment Program to attract well-off individuals of outstanding character who would boost the economy and create jobs. Tax law in Antigua and Barbuda is yet another advantageous sphere for investors. The country is often called a tax haven, seeing that it provides most comfortable conditions both to high net-worth individuals and those willing to invest substantial amount in a new business.
Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda are not taxed on worldwide income, capital gains, dividends, gift, wealth, estate and inheritance. Only locally obtained revenues are taxed.
We urge our clients to compare conditions of the various CBI programs. This helps them make up their minds and opt for what suits them best. Speaking of Caribbean nations, we can name at least three reasons to strongly consider one of the countries in the region as your second home:
Have more questions? Want to know the total cost of obtaining the Antiguan citizenship through investment for the whole family? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and get a free consultation.