Author: Charmaine Donovan, CEO, Citizenship by Investment Unit
15 Jan 2020
There has been an explosion in the investment migration market in recent years, with as many as 100 countries now offering either citizenship or residency by investment programmes. It is important that applicants gain value from their second citizenship, whether that is achieved through returns on investment or the benefits of visa-free travel.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) has been in operation since 2013. During that time, the Citizenship by Investment Unit has received in excess of 2,200 applications from more than 80 countries, with a five percent rejection rate. We believe inventive approaches to modernisation are the engine of economic development and, as such, have continued to modify our programme to best serve the national interest and respond to global investment trends.
Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship programme has a robust and multi-tiered due diligence process that ensures it is globally trusted
Freedom to choose
Under the programme, and as regulated by law, any person above the age of 18 who meets our requirements may apply for citizenship by investment. They may also apply on behalf of their dependants, including their spouse, children (up to the age of 28), and parents or grandparents above the age of 58 who are fully supported by the applicant.
The CIP offers four distinct investment opportunities, which is more than most other citizenship and residency investment programmes. Applicants can choose to either make a donation, invest in an approved real estate project, contribute to a local business venture or invest in the Antigua campus of the University of the West Indies.
Most applicants choose to donate to the National Development Fund. This requires a one-time contribution of $100,000 (€90,763) – or $125,000 (€112,546) for families of five or more – to the government-managed investment fund, which finances crucial socioeconomic initiatives on our twin-island nation. The other three options offer a return on investment and a unique opportunity to integrate with the residents of Antigua and Barbuda.
Applicants who opt for the real estate option must invest at least $400,000 (€363,052) and are required to pay any government processing and due diligence fees. They can choose from more than 30 types of property, including high-end beachfront condominiums, hotel rooms and luxury homes. Applicants may also qualify through joint ownership, provided that each applicant contributes a minimum investment of $200,000 (€181,526) to the purchase.
Ownership must be maintained for at least five years following the purchase unless the buyer acquires an alternative approved property in Antigua and Barbuda. As most properties are covered by management agreements and are returned to a rental pool once purchased, investors can earn income on the property during the period of ownership.
The greater good
Through its investment in business option, the CIP accommodates applicants who wish to use their capital to establish commercial operations in a new market. A single investor may make an investment of at least $1.5m (€1.36m) in an approved business. Alternatively, where two or more individuals propose to make a joint investment, the minimum investment must total at least $5m (€4.54m) and each investor must contribute at least
$400,000 (€363,052) to the business.
There are no restrictions on the type of business that may be operated, so long as it falls within all legal sectors and activities. However, we are keen to diversify areas of economic activity on the islands and would warmly welcome small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in the areas of green energy, tourism, IT, business process outsourcing, agriculture and food processing.
The most recently launched investment option, the University of the West Indies fund, epitomises the principles upon which the CIP was built. Antigua and Barbuda believes it is essential that this programme improves life for all residents – old and new. By encouraging investment in the University of the West Indies, the programme facilitates the country’s development. In September 2018, the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda agreed to the creation of this fourth method of investment; in September 2019, the Five Islands Campus of the University of the West Indies opened its doors.
This investment option has been uniquely designed to foster integration and cultural engagement. Applicants who proceed in this way are required to make a $150,000 (€136,144) investment (if they are supporting a family of four or more), which entitles one member of the family to a year’s tuition-only scholarship at the University of the West Indies. In this way, the applicant and their dependants are afforded an opportunity to enhance their global mobility. In 2019, the University of the West Indies was listed among the top 600 institutions in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. This means the university ranks among the top five percent of universities worldwide. It is the only Caribbean institution on the global list.
Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship programme has a robust and multi-tiered due diligence process that ensures it is globally trusted and respected. What’s more, it grants those on the programme visa-free travel to more than 150 countries, including the UK, the Schengen Area, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The programme does not consider applicants from the seven countries – Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – on its ‘restricted countries’ list, unless they left their country of nationality before reaching the age of majority, continue to maintain no economic ties with the country and have permanent residency status in either Canada, the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia or the UAE. We welcome only the most deserving applicants and their dependants, and remain committed to managing a programme of the highest repute.