Citizenship Case Study: Antigua & Barbuda

By By Patrick Peters, CPA, CA, CEO, ClientReferrals (01/11/2016)

At the heart of the eastern Caribbean, the twin island nation of Antigua & Barbuda offers wonderful opportunities for foreign investors. The country is enjoying the fastest growing economy of the region thanks to foreign investments and industries like finance and telecom.

The foundation of the state’s economy, tourism, is still going strong in this tropical paradise, aided by a brand new airport and new direct flight destinations.

The current administration can be credited for this economical surge, as they created appealing incentives, eliminated personal income tax, and focused on bringing foreign investment to the country.

One of the main sources of foreign capital is the Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship-by-Investment Program (CIP).

More and more business people are obtaining Antigua & Barbuda citizenship in order to secure freedom of movement, facilitate asset relocation, implement tax strategies and ensure their children benefit of the liberties a second citizenship will offer them throughout their lives.

Key Features

• Access to 131 countries without visa, including Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong and many more.

• No personal, inheritance, estate or capital gains taxes.

• Fully confidential and secure.

• Fastest growing economy in the region.

• Known as the Gem of the Caribbean, and second home to international stars, Antigua & Barbuda is a pure paradisiac island and a sought after destination for luxury travellers.

• Massive investments in infrastructure in recent years, including the most technologically advanced hospital of the Eastern Caribbean and a new airport with direct flights from Canada, USA and Europe.

• The only Caribbean CIP with visa-free access to Canada.

Overview and Investment Options

The program grants citizenship and passport to investors of good character and health in a simple and convenient application process.

To achieve Antigua & Barbuda citizenship under its CIP, applicants must undergo a background check and medical examination; once they have been approved-in-principle by the Citizenship-by-Investment Unit (CIU), they are then allowed to make their qualifying investment.

Contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF)

The simplest option, the NDF option consists of a one time, non-refundable contribution to the country’s National Development Fund. $200,000 for families of up to four persons or $250,000 for five persons or more. Significant savings can be made on government processing fees with this option, as the fee for up to three dependent children or parents/grand-parents is waived. Simplicity is the key driver for investors who choose this option.

Real Estate Investment

Applicants may invest at least US$400,000 in a government-approved real estate project. The investment must be held for a minimum of five years. Once this five year holding period is complete, the investor is free to keep or sell the asset without affecting their citizenship status.

A wide variety of projects are available on the market, ranging from partial ownership of condominiums to custom-made luxury villas. The quality of the project and track record of developers must be carefully considered, as these are the main indicator of the potential return on investment.

Business Investment

Applicants may invest a minimum of US$400,000 into an eligible business (when qualifying as a group of investors.)

This option is preferred by many Antiguans and Barbudans as it stimulates job creation, diversity of the country’s income and economic growth, and current business expansions.

It is also becoming more popular with CIP applicants than it was in the past because in some cases, the proposed business investment is structured in a way which offers unique benefits to its investors.


Eligibility and Documentation

The investor is usually considered the principal applicant of each file and may be accompanied by a spouse, children, and parent/grand-parents.

Interestingly, it is possible for a third party to make the investment on behalf of the principal applicant. We sometimes assist investors do this program for their less wealthy siblings or who want a better travel document for their employees such as personal assistants, drivers or nannies.”

The application package consists of application forms and basic documents which support the individual’s identity, good character and health, and source of funds.

One of the key drivers of the Antigua & Barbuda CIP is simplicity:

• No complicated eligibility requirements such as management experience, minimum net worth, or language skills.

• Ineligibility criteria are clear and simple.

• The application process is streamlined and efficiently managed by the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU).

Application Process

• Document collection.

• File submission and deposit, composed of 10 per cent processing fee, 100 per cent due diligence fee and possibly a deposit for real estate or business investment options.

• File processing by CIU is completed in less than 90 days if no additional documentation is requested.

• Final investment is to be made AFTER receiving approval-in-principle from the CIU.

• Citizenship certificate and passport, are issued once the final investment is completed. Passports can be couriered to the applicant and are ready to use once received. Typical issuance time is 4 to 8 weeks after investment.

• Residency requirement, of 5 days (total) within the first five years of citizenship must be completed by all members of the family. Adults must also swear an Oath of Allegiance.