Author: Charmaine Donovan, CEO, Citizenship by Investment Unit
21 Jun 2019
The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has long been a favoured port of call for luxury yacht owners and affluent tourists. Now, high-net-worth individuals can make this idyllic destination their permanent home, thanks to the twin-island state’s increasingly popular Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
Since its establishment in 2013, the CIP has attracted a steady stream of international businesspeople through its many financial and practical benefits. It presents one of the most efficient routes to second citizenship in the world, providing applicants with financial freedom and peace of mind at a time of increased global uncertainty.
Second citizenship has become a compelling investment option for wealthy individuals in recent years, and Antigua and Barbuda’s CIP is one of the most attractive offerings in this burgeoning market. It takes less than four months for approved investors to receive their citizenship, which affords visa-free travel to more than 150 countries. The CIP also provides a safe and secure base for applicants’ families, as well as residence in a low-tax, business-friendly jurisdiction.
In safe lands
The largest of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, Antigua and Barbuda is a parliamentary democracy with a legal system based on English common law. As such, citizenship is particularly attractive to UK nationals and those currently residing in former British Overseas Territories. Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda may also stay in the UK – as well as most European countries – without a visa for up to six months. Further, there are no restrictions on dual citizenship and no taxation on worldwide income. This, coupled with a low crime rate and high standard of living, makes Antigua and Barbuda a perfect destination for those seeking second citizenship.
The CIP provides applicants with financial freedom and peace of mind at a time of increased global uncertainty
One aspect that sets the country’s citizenship programme apart from others is its impeccable customer service. The turnaround on a CIP submission is just 90 days, during which time the applicant undergoes a thorough vetting and due diligence process that draws on the latest intelligence from international agencies. With more than 40 years of experience in the high-end tourism market, Antigua and Barbuda has continued to set the standard for second citizenship programmes around the world, acting as the blueprint for real estate offerings and escrow arrangements.
Investing for life
There are four investment options for prospective citizens to choose from when applying to Antigua and Barbuda’s CIP: a one-off contribution of between $100,000 (€88,695) and $125,000 (€110,869) to the National Development Fund; an investment of at least $400,000 (€354,780) in an approved real estate project; a contribution of $1.5m (€1.33m) to a local business venture; or an investment of $150,000 (€133,043) into the University of the West Indies fund.
For those who have fulfilled all due diligence requirements, there are only a few special obligations to adhere to during the first five years of citizenship. These include swearing an oath of allegiance, holding the qualifying investment throughout this period, and spending at least five days in the country. A growing number of new citizens have chosen to invest in luxury tourism projects, as they present an opportunity to make attractive capital gains.
The real estate investment option also boasts several advantages outside of the numerous benefits offered by the CIP – namely, the opportunity to own a second home in a beautiful tourist destination while generating a return on investment at the end of a five-year period.
To capitalise on this interest, Antigua and Barbuda has improved its real estate portfolio through hotel refurbishment and expansion projects, as well as the construction of several developments that are ready for immediate uptake. Consequently, there has never been a better time to invest in a life on the twin-island paradise.