Numerous European and Caribbean countries are interested in attracting foreign private capital. In exchange for investment into economy, the receiving jurisdictions are ready to offer their passports to the foreign high net worth individuals. And this gives them the opportunity to travel visa-free to more than 100 countries of the world, settle in a safe haven outside homeland and have tax burden reduced.
At the beginning of 2018, many countries changed the conditions of their citizenship by investment programs. While some countries decided to attract foreigners with noticeable discounts, the others simplified the procedure.
Which passport program is the most tempting in 2018, considering all the introduced changes?
Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program
The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis has been offering citizenship by investment (CBI) since 1984. Throughout the years of its existence, the program has proved to be a simple and effective tool for getting second citizenship. The government has issued more than 11,000 passports, and the interest to this jurisdiction keeps growing among foreigners. Why is it happening?
Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship provides for a wide range of advantages: from visa-free travel to 125+ countries of the world, including the United Kingdom, the Schengen countries, Hong Kong and Singapore, to the opportunity to protect one’s assets, including cryptocurrency. Another important benefit is the absence of tax on dividends, inheritance, world income and wealth.
The major changes came into effect in autumn 2017, after the Caribbean region had been struck by Atlantic hurricanes. In order to reduce the consequences, the country’s government reconsidered the program conditions. The minimum non-rechargeable contribution amount was reduced to $150,000 for a single applicant, and to $195,000 for a family up to 4. This offer was introduced on April 2, 2018.
One will also be able to obtain the passport of Saint Kitts and Nevis by choosing one of the following options:
- invest at least $400,000 in the real estate (the investment can be divided equally between 2 main applicants);
- invest at least $250,000 in the sugar industry.
Foreigners’ interest in the country’s real estate declined after the hurricanes ‘visited’ this jurisdiction. The decision was made to reduce administrative costs related to real estate purchase. Although the minimum investment amount remains one of the highest in the region (starts from $400,000), investors can save a reasonable sum on the document processing. Now, when buying property in the islands, the investor is to pay the additional $75,000 instead of $150,000 for the family of 4. The changes do not apply to the background check, which still costs $7,500 for the main applicant and $4,000 for each dependent member.
It should be reminded that under the existing legislation, citizenship can be issued to all close relatives of the main investor, including his/her spouse, children under 30 and parents over 55.
According to Saint Kitts and Nevis program conditions, the investor can either purchase a real estate object in full or get involved in fractional ownership.
Antigua and Barbuda’s passport
The authorities of Antigua and Barbuda also reconsidered the citizenship by investment program conditions. The amount of donation into the state fund was halved from $200,000 to $100,000. The discount is valid on a temporary basis.
In January 2018, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda announced that the country passport could be obtained at a 50% discount only till October 31, 2018. Considering the associated expenses, the cost of citizenship will correspond to about $133,000 for one investor and about $145,000 for the whole family (the main applicant, his/her spouse and two children aged 10 and 20)
There is no better variant than Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship for the family of up to 4 members wishing to get Caribbean citizenship.
The second option of participating in the program is the purchase of, let’s say, a villa in the islands for at least $400,000. Keeping in mind that Antigua is a magnet for high-income tourists and yachtsmen from all over the world, getting property here is a reasonable investment from the point of view of the long-term prospects. If you are not going to change your place of residence, you can rent out apartment and even sell it in a 5-year period without losing citizenship.
The passport of Antigua and Barbuda is popular among foreign investors. This fact can be easily proved by their issuance statistics: throughout the whole period of the program existence, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has approved over 2,000 applications. The program popularity is caused by the opportunity of visa-free travel to 136+ countries, favorable tax system and appealing prospects for further business development.
The main investor can include his/her spouse, children and parents in the family application for getting the country citizenship. The authorities have recently eased age requirements. The age limit for children used to be 26. According to the new terms introduced in 2017, now financially dependent children under 28 can be granted citizenship.
About one million tourists visited Antigua in 2015. Since then, the tourist flow has been sustaining high
Saint Lucia’s citizenship by investment
Saint Lucia is the youngest player among the Caribbean countries offering immigration by investment, as its program was launched only in 2015.
In order to attract as many foreign investors as possible, the officials canceled the requirement urging the investor to prove the availability of $3,000,000 in their account. Moreover, there is no more quota applied to the number of participants: beforehand, only 500 investors could become the country residents yearly.
How can one receive Saint Lucia’s economic citizenship? One can invest $100,000 in the National Economic Fund or buy real estate in the amount of at least $300,000. It is also possible for one to invest in business (with the minimum donation amount for an individual applicant corresponding $3,500,000 and $6,000,000 for a family couple) or in government bonds — the sum of $500,000.
As of today, Saint Lucia’s citizenship by investment is one of the most appealing Caribbean programs for individual applicants. A good alternative is Antigua and Barbuda.
Considering additional charges, the cost of Saint Lucia’s passport for an individual investor will be around $110,000 and for the family of 4 — $212,000. Here we are talking about donation in the government fund.
Second economic citizenship of Saint Lucia provides for a wide range of benefits:
- the country residents are allowed to travel visa-free to 100+ countries of the world;
- no capital gains tax, inheritance tax, world income tax;
- the whole procedure of getting residence is confidential and takes less than 5 months;
- citizenship is further inherited by descendants.
Any foreigner with perfect reputation who does not have problems with the law and ready to fully comply with the program conditions can apply for the country citizenship.
Saint Lucia’s market of tourist services is developing rapidly
Second economic citizenship of Dominica
In autumn 2017, Dominica also suffered from destructive hurricanes, but the government did not reduce the investment threshold for the economic citizenship program. The cost of participation in the course of the donation option remains $100,000.
The government, however, introduced several attractive amendments regarding the conditions of the document processing:
- reduction of the government fee charged for processing of an individual or a collective application. The amount was changed from $3,000 to $1,000;
- reduction of the fee charged for the main applicant’s dependant family member background check. Now instead of $7,500 one needs to pay $4,000. The main applicant’s background fee remains $7,500;
- increase of the age limit for financially dependent children. The main investor can include dependent adult children under 30 in the application;
- reduction of age limit for parents. Parents of the main investor, so as his/her spouse’s parents over 55 can also be listed in the application.
What is more, the investor has a right to correct the application before its actual approval. It means that even after the application has been issued but before it has been approved, the participant can add a dependent member in it. One is also allowed to exclude dependent members from the application after having submitted it, but before having paid the donation amount.
Note! Simplified terms are effective till March 31, 2018.
In summer 2017, Dominica’s program ranked first in the index composed by Professional Wealth Management, having beaten 11 competitor countries. Experts greatly appreciated candidates background check system, document processing speeds and the program accessibility.
Roseau, the capital of Dominica
Grenada’s passport in exchange for investment
In November 2017, Grenada, following its ‘colleagues’, reconsidered the second passport prices. The amount of donation into the special fund was reduced to $150,000 (it used to be $200,000). No changes were made regarding the donation option for the family and investment in real estate. However, new rules concerning dependent children minimum age came into effect:
- children under 30 may be included in the application, regardless of whether they study in universities or have already received education;
- the main investor’s parents, so as his/her spouse’s parents over 55 are also to be included as dependent relatives in the application.
These changes have made it much easier for family applicants to submit documents. Last year Grenada agreed on visa-free regime with Russia and the UAE, thus making the program even more attractive for foreign investors eager to get second citizenship.
It is worth noting that Grenada has always been a favorite of high-income business people. Why is that? Grenada’s passport is a key to the US E-2 Investor Visa and visa-free travel to China. This jurisdiction residents can carry out business and tourist trips to the Celestial Empire without the need to get additional travel documents. They can also apply for E-2 visa not available to citizens of China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Dubai, etc.
Malta’s citizenship by investment program
Only 1,800 investors can receive Malta’s citizenship under the conditions of the existing passport program. According to the official information, starting from the program’s launch to June 2017, the country passports were issued to 566 investors.
As Malta’s PM Joseph Muscat points out, the program will be relaunched in the nearest future. It is likely to become more exclusive. The government thinks this move will allow to revive interest of high-income businessmen to the jurisdiction and increase its competition in the economic immigration market.
Investors still have a good chance to buy Malta’s passport as long as the quota has not been exceeded. In order to receive the country citizenship, one must donate €650,000 into the National Development Fund, buy government bonds in the amount of at least €150,000 and purchase real estate for at least €350,000. The alternative is a long-term rent of housing. In this case, the investor should pay at least a €16,000 villa rent per year. The documents are processed within about a 14-month period.
The program offers citizenship to adult investors without criminal record and having perfect personal and business reputation. A spouse, financially dependent children under 26 and parents over 55 can apply for citizenship together with the main investor.
Malta’s citizenship provides the opportunity to live, study and work in any EU country. And that’s not all. The country passport opens the borders of 164+ countries, including the Schengen countries, the UK, Singapore, Japan and the USA, for visa-free travels.
There is no ban on having second citizenship in this country. Therefore, the investor does not have to abandon homeland in favor of Malta.
Real estate in Malta is a valuable asset: the investor can count on the object value increase and then sell it in a 5-year period. It is not possible for the investor to rent out property.
Second citizenship is a promising opportunity for high-income business people
Second economic citizenship is an option for those who want to save and multiply the earned funds. It is a wonderful opportunity to obtain a strong passport that will broaden visa horizons and will allow one to comfortably run business in the global arena.
Interested in more detailed information about citizenship by investment programs? Contact us!
- We offer free consultations, understanding how important it is for the client to make the only correct decision.
- We work only in the field of investment immigration, integrating gained experience into the investor’s goal.
- We work only with official programs of the European Union and Caribbean countries.
- Before signing the contract, we inform our clients about all additional fees and expenses.
- We conduct a screening to assess the investor’s chances of obtaining the desired citizenship.
- We oversee the process at each stage and work exclusively towards the result.
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