The twin-island nation became home to many high-net-worth individuals who sought a new sense of freedom through the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment (CBI or CIP) program.
Known for its 365 beaches, Antigua and Barbuda is a Commonwealth nation in the Caribbean situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Known as a paradise on earth and is considered as one of the world’s most beautiful places. Yet, Antigua and Barbuda is one of the underrated travel destinations around the world.
In this article, you will learn all about how the program came to be, how it rose to become what it is now, and what advantages it offers that makes high-net-worth individuals want to live there.
How It Began: A Look-Back
The Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program was discussed in Cabinet in August 2011 after Brian Dobbin and Kaline Kennard of Elmsbridge Property International and Citizens International; made a presentation to the cabinet members proposing the country create its own program modeled on St Kitts & Nevis program but with some key differentiators.
Furthermore, The Government set up a task force to review the opportunity and report on the best configuration for the program and the parliament approved the laws governing it in 2013.
The primary goal of the program is to encourage foreign nationals to invest in the country. Their contributions will then be used to fund government-approved projects and initiatives to bolster the nation’s economy.
To ensure its success, the government also appointed the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) as the independent authority that oversees everything related to Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment.
The CIU takes full responsibility for CBI application processing. They also manage the registration and licensing of authorized liaison agents to ensure applicants’ safety and security.
3 Facts About Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship Program
Currently, Antigua is one of several Caribbean countries lauded for its CBI program. To show its progress since it was first established, below are three key statistics you should consider when deciding whether to invest and become a citizen of the twin-island nation:
1. Highest CBI Program Applications
Between 2015 and 2019, Antigua and Barbuda recorded a whopping 678 applications in 2018, the highest number of economic citizenship applicants in the past five years.
Although there was a slight decline in the first half of 2019, the number of applications within the six-month period of that year was higher compared to the two years prior.
2. Most Preferred Investment Type
There are three investment options available for aspiring economic citizens in Antigua and Barbuda: contribution, real estate, and business.
Out of the three, the donation to the National Development Fund (NDF) had the greatest number of investors in the past three years, between 2017 and 2019.
In fact, statistics show that NDF contribution rose from barely 40 percent of the total number of successful applications to a staggering 97% in 2019 after the minimum contribution was reduced to $100,000.
This brings the all-time record to reflect the following distribution of CBI applications:
- NDF contribution – 79 percent
- Real Estate investment – 12 percent
- Business investment – 9 percent
3. Applicant Nationality
Aside from the type of investment and the overall number of applicants, it was also revealed that Antigua and Barbuda is most popular among Chinese nationals. According to the CIU, the Chinese composed 34% of all applicants since the program was launched. It was also revealed that the country saw the highest number of Chinese applicants in 2017.
Other foreigners who opted for citizenship by investment in Antigua came from the following countries:
Why Antigua and Barbuda citizenship is Popular?
With the key numbers and statistics in mind, you might be wondering: What makes Antigua and Barbuda so special?
So to answer the question, here are the top three benefits you can look forward to if you become an economic citizen in this Caribbean nation:
1. Visa-Free Travel Access
Certainly, some of the biggest draws of Antiguan citizenship are the travel benefits it offers. As of this writing, a passport from the country can grant you visa-free access to roughly 150 countries around the world. In addition, this includes the U.K. and the countries of the Schengen Area.
2. Tax Advantages
Acquiring economic citizenship in Antigua can also be considered as a sound business move because of several tax benefits. All citizens can take advantage of those benefits if they decide to become a resident in Antigua & Barbuda.
If you succeed in the application and become a resident, you’ll enjoy a tax-free worldwide income. You also don’t have to file gifts, estate, capital gains, and net worth taxes.
3. Dual Citizenship
Although you need to take an oath of allegiance to the country, you’ll still be able to enjoy dual citizenship with an Antiguan passport.
This means you don’t have to renounce your original citizenship in order to qualify for the Antigua and Barbuda CBI program.
You do however have to check that your original country of citizenship allows dual citizenship or you may need to renounce the former. Most countries do allow dual citizenship, however.
Ready to Apply? Qualifications and Requirements
Before you decide to proceed with your Antigua and Barbuda CBI application; you must first verify if you are eligible for economic citizenship.
Above all, qualifications revolve around having a sound character and health, no criminal record, and high personal net worth.
Once you confirm that you are indeed qualified, you’ll also need to complete a set of requirements that vary depending on the investment option you chose.
Below are some of the basic documents you need to gather for your application:
- Certified copy of current passport – This document must be in color showing the applicant’s name, photo, current nationality, expiration date, passport number, the name of the issuing country, and the place and date of issue.
- Certified copy of national ID – Again, the document must be color scans of the original showing the details of the national identity card.
- Passport-sized photos – Applicants must also submit eight copies of a recent photo captured within the past six months.
- Certified copy of birth certificate – The birth document should include details about the applicant’s parents.
- Police certificate –This can either be a police clearance certificate or a certificate confirming that the applicant doesn’t have any criminal records.
- Any document that confirms changes in the applicant’s name, like a marriage certificate or annulment papers.
- Medical certificate – This includes an original copy of HIV test results no older than three months. However, this document is only for applicants aged 12 years and above.
Why Choose Antigua?
In conclusion, Antigua and Barbuda is one of the few Caribbean countries that offer attractive citizenship by investment benefits.
If you consider the country as an option, remember to gather all the necessary information first, starting with those presented in this article.
The processing is smooth and professional with some of the strictest parameters of any citizenship program in the world.
Of all the islands in the Caribbean offering CBI, Antigua & Barbuda holds a lot of attractions such as being the flight hub for the region with the newest and largest international airport, highest Foreign Direct Investment, highest GDP, fastest-growing economy, largest international population, best medical and educational infrastructure in the region and more.
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment; into the Caribbean, North America, and Europe.
Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years. She is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.