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Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment: the Ultimate Guide

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Breaking News: Antigua and Barbuda Raises Minimum Investment for Citizenship by Investment Program

Antigua and Barbuda has signed up to a new deal that’s set to shake up the Caribbean Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) scene.

Along with Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will raise the minimum investment required to qualify for citizenship to US$200,000 by June 30, 2024.

It remains to be seen what the knock-on effects will be, but it’s important to be aware that the winds of change are currently blowing through the Caribbean.

This significant policy shift is part of a broader Caribbean initiative aimed at upgrading regional standards and comes in the wake of international scrutiny and criticism of the security and integrity of some local CBI programs.

The four island nations maintain that the program overhaul is another significant step towards enhanced regulatory integration, transparency, and the eradication of underselling – a notable concern within the industry.

The agreement addresses issues such as sharing information on CBI applicants, enhancing transparency measures, establishing a regional competent authority, setting common standards of communication and promotion, regulating agents and facilitating joint training programmes.

That means greater security and transparency: vetting of CBI applicants will be strengthened and the four island nations will establish a shared digital portal for exchanging information on applications.

Notably, St Lucia has opted out of this price hike, though it has implemented its own extra due diligence fee of US$500. St Lucia’s stance is interesting and provides investors with an alternative to the new MOA.

We’ll continue to cover this developing story and update you on what’s clearly a significant shift in policy on CBI programs in the Caribbean. But things move quickly in this scene and there’s no guarantee St Lucia will sit this new move out indefinitely. So, if you’re currently exploring the option of Caribbean CBI, take time to read our comprehensive guide below and get in touch.

 

Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment: The Ultimate Guide

Invest a minimum of US$130,000 (including fees)

Get your passport in 3-6 months

Visa-free travel to 150 countries

On the surface, Antigua and Barbuda looks to many travellers like just another pair of hidden Caribbean gems.

But dig a little deeper and you might find there’s more to Antigua and Barbuda than stunning beaches and turquoise seas.

Spend time here.

Discover its history, listen to its people. You might hear stories of freedom and prosperity echoing through the air. You might just discover that the real treasure in these islands is the abundance of opportunities on offer to investors.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) is one such opportunity, offering a visa-free gateway to 150 countries.

There are five Caribbean CBI programs: each has unique advantages, but there are many similarities between them and changes to one can reverberate throughout the region.

Antigua and Barbuda launched their CBI program in 2013 and, since then, this initiative hasn’t been about simply keeping up with the competition – it’s been about setting the pace.

That may be about to change with the signing of the new Memorandum of Agreement mentioned at the top of this story. However, until the end of June 2024, Antigua and Barbuda CBI remains the cheapest way for a family of up to four to get a Caribbean passport. That’s because you can claim a spouse and up to two kids under the same investment fee of US$130,000 (including fees).

There’s one other treasure to be found here – tax savings. In fact, there are zero taxes on personal income, capital gains or inheritance, meaning citizenship here could save you a lot of money each year.

So, while the natural beauty draws many, it’s the economic and travel freedoms that a passport from Antigua and Barbuda secures that attract discerning investors. 

Let’s dive into what makes the Antigua and Barbuda CBI program stand out and find out why it’s not just the most budget-friendly but also the most beneficial among Caribbean passport programs. If the country doesn’t catch your eye, the region has several other exceptional CBI programs. All you need to do is reach out to us to figure out which works best for you.

Citizenship by Investment: The Basics

Are you new to the world of buying a second passport?

Then let’s take a look at what a citizenship-by-investment program is and what the general requirements for qualifying for a CBI passport are.

Citizenship-by-investment programs are created and run by a national government to attract investors. If the domestic economy is lacking or overly reliant on one industry such as tourism in the Caribbean, the government will seek foreign investment to diversify the ways they make up the country’s gross national income. 

Antigua and Barbuda is just one of many countries worldwide offer CBI programs. Each program has its own individual requirements, but the general procedures include the following: 

  • Invest or donate a specified amount of money to the country
  • The required investment money must be invested or donated in a way that’s specified by the CBI program legislation
  • Citizenship and a passport are granted as a result.

Now that you’re up to speed with the basics of what a citizenship-by-investment program entails, let’s look at what Antigua and Barbuda specifically offers.

How to Get Antigua Citizenship by Investment

So, What’s Antigua and Barbuda Like?

Antigua and Barbuda is a nation in the West Indies, comprising two large and several small islands. Just take a short, direct flight from North America or a slightly longer one from Europe and you can experience for yourself all that these islands have to offer a foreign investor. 

English-speaking and part of the British Commonwealth (it’s an ex-British colony), Antigua and Barbuda thrives on tourism. That industry is responsible for generating 50% of the twin-island nation’s GDP with over a million people – mostly Americans, Canadians and Europeans – visiting each year. 

Antigua and Barbuda has succeeding in capitalising beautifully on its beaches, coves and lagoons. Antigua has built some of the most exclusive resorts in the world while Barbuda continues to attract people with its untouched and raw natural beauty.

The two islands are quintessential Caribbean, with rum factories, brightly coloured villages and friendly locals. However, the islands’ geographic location spells trouble in the shape of tropical storms.

It’s in the lap of the gods whether the islands are hit during the annual hurricane season (July to October) and it’s just an unpredictable whether any damage suffered will be severe or not. But storms do happen and it’s worth recalling that in 2017, Hurricane Maria basically demolished the smaller island of Barbuda. 

The Antiguan government has taken several steps to diversify their economy and made investment banking and financial services an essential part of its local industry.

Like its neighbouring island states, the country lets foreigners invest and manage their capital at a fraction of the cost in the West.

They’ve also established their citizenship by investment program, which has raised a large sum of money for this tiny country, allowing it to develop and grow. 

You could get an Antiguan passport, enjoy its luscious beaches and luxurious resorts and save a lot of money in the process. 

Let’s see how it works. 

Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Program

Want to make Antigua and Barbuda your home? Or perhaps you just care about its passport and the benefit it would bring you and your family? 

In just three to four months, you could have an Antiguan passport in your hands and start enjoying all the benefits that it brings. 

In return, you’ll be expected to contribute economically to the country. 

While Antigua and Barbuda’s CBI program doesn’t have a significant advantage over other island states’ CBIs if you’re a solo applicant, its true value and appeal are appreciated by families. 

A family of up to four members (two adults and two children) can apply for citizenship under the same contribution of US$100,000 and a processing fee of US$30,000. Due diligence fees will be added for each person, but the principal investment of US$130,000 (contribution processing fee for a four-person family) remains the same.

That’s not very common in the CBI world (at all) and gives Antigua and Barbuda a clear advantage.

The Antigua and Barbuda CBI program is also one of the few that not only allows for adult dependant children aged 18-26 to be included in the main application (if they are full-time students), but it also allows for parents and parents-in-law of the principal applicant to be added too (financially dependant, 55+ years old). 

Residency Requirement 

Although other Caribbean countries with CBI programs don’t have residency requirements, Antigua and Barbuda does. And we don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing because it shows that Antigua wants its applicants to take the citizenship process seriously. 

There is no pre-passport residency required. In fact, you can get an Antiguan passport without ever leaving your home. There were no interview requirements in the past, but this has changed as of December 2023. Now, applicants can expect to be interviewed virtually by an approved third-party agent. These interviews apply to all applicants over 16 and will cost an additional US$1,500 per person.  

However, there is a residency requirement after you receive your passport: you must spend five days a year in the country to maintain your citizenship. If you don’t, you won’t be able to renew your passport when the time comes. However, after your passport is renewed, there is no longer a residency requirement. 

There shouldn’t be any issue in meeting this requirement. The country is stunning and has beautiful beaches and luxurious amenities for complete relaxation.

Main Pros of Having an Antiguan Passport

When trying to decide which Caribbean Island is best for you, it helps to know some of the potential benefits. Here are the main perks to holding an Antiguan passport: 

  • Access the UK as part of the Commonwealth

  • Access to the entire European Union (EU)

  • Low investment amount required

  • Get an Antiguan passport for as low as US$130,000 (including fees)

  • Short residence requirement – just five days a year

  • Enjoy visa-free travel to 150 countries, including South Africa and Central America

  • Antigua and Barbuda is known for its luxurious travel spots

  • The best option for a family -–can apply for the price of one.

How to Obtain a Passport from Antigua and Barbuda

These are the basic requirements to acquire citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda through investment:

Make a Donation

Donate US$130,000 (including fees) for up to a family of four

Invest in a Business

Invest at least US$400,000 in a local Antiguan business

Invest in Real Estate

Invest US$200,000 (including fees) in pre-approved real estate

Invest in the University Fund

Donate US$150,000 to the University of the West Indies Fund

How to Buy a Passport for Antigua and Barbuda

So, how exactly do you get Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment?

The Antiguan government has set out four options, but the reality is much simpler. Despite the possibility of investing in real estate or local businesses, the vast majority of applicants (97%) choose to contribute to the National Development Fund. 

That’s because it requires the lowest amount of investment, even though you could potentially see a return on your real estate or business investment. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose which route you want to take, but we strongly urge you to consider donating to keep things simple. Look for businesses or real estate investments elsewhere – the world is full of opportunities. 

Let’s delve a little further into each of the three investment options and talk about the Antigua passport fees associated with them. 

Option A – National Development Fund (NDF)

Even though it might seem counterintuitive to make a donation rather than invest your money in a tangible asset, there is a reason this route is by far the most popular in Antigua’s CBI program.

It’s the lowest amount that can get you an Antiguan passport, and it’s one of the most affordable options for a family of up to four people in the world. 

The National Development Fund was established in 2006 to finance government projects that improve the lives of its populace, such as building roads and investing in education. 

Here’s what it looks like. 

Investment Costs: US$100,000 donation to the Antigua National Development Fund for a family of up to 4 people. Additional dependants cost US$25,000 each. 

Government Fees: US$30,000 NDF processing fee for up to four family members. Incremental payments of US$15,000 for each additional dependant.  

Option B – Real Estate Investment

Your second option is to invest in real estate but only 1-2% of applicants choose this option.

Real estate is unlikely to appreciate a great deal in Antigua and Barbuda. Moreover, investing in a country that relies only on tourism and foreign investment is risky. However, you could potentially recover your funds after the holding period of five years is up. 

Still, some people will choose this investment route.

Investment Costs: US$200,000, or US$200,000 each, if two related parties invest together. The real estate must be held for at least five years before it can be sold. It can be sold to another CBI program applicant, but only once. 

You may only buy real estate that’s pre-approved by The Cabinet, which means that you’ll be looking at the overpriced luxury real estate segment. 

The most up-to-date and official list of approved real estate investment options can be found here on the government website.

Government Fees: US$30,000 for a family of up to four people, with additional payments of US$15,000 for each additional dependant. 

Altogether, the investment in real estate in Antigua and Barbuda comes to US$230,000. If you can wait five full years, it could be an attractive option for those looking to recover all their investment. 

You’ll still be able to keep your citizenship if you sell the real estate after the five years are up. 

Option C – Business Investment

You can also invest in a pre-approved business to obtain your Antiguan passport. Again, this may be done individually or with someone else, in which case you can split the costs. 

Here’s an up-to-date and complete list of approved business investment opportunities if you choose to go this route. 

The two business investment options are:

  • Invest at least US$1,500,000 in an approved business as a solo applicant.

  • Make a joint investment (with another applicant) in an approved business totalling at least US$5,000,000, with each person contributing at least US$400,000.

Processing fees: US$30,000 for a family of up to four people, with additional payments of US$15,000 for each additional dependant.

Option D – University Fund (UWI)

Effective May 2020, Antigua and Barbuda introduced a new donation option that is only available to families of six or more.

By donating to the University of the West Indies, you can automatically qualify six applicants for citizenship. Plus, one family member will receive a one-year scholarship to the UWI.

Investment Costs: A one-time donation of US$150,000 to the University of West Indies Fund.

Government Fees: All processing fees are included in the US$150k donation amount, but additional family members will require an extra US$15,000 donation per person.

Antigua Passport Fees

In addition to the investment and government fees applied to each of the three investment options, additional fees are tacked on to each application for good measure. 

So, what are the additional Antiguan passport fees?

Due diligence fees: US$7,500 per adult applicant, US$2,000 per dependant aged 12-17 (under 12s are free), and US$4,000 per dependant aged 18 or older. 

Passport fee: Every person in your family who needs a passport will have to pay US$300.

Interview Fees: Since the nation introduced interview requirements, each member of the family who is over 16 will cost an additional US$1,500 for the interview.

Agent fee: Whatever fee you agree upon with the authorised agent or an agency, you’ll have to add it to the total cost of obtaining an Antiguan passport. This will usually range from US$40,000 to US$70,000. 

The Step-by-Step Application Process

Now that you know what the total costs involved might be, we’ll give you a rundown of what the process of applying for an Antiguan passport looks like. 

Please note that only licensed agents can lodge applications on your behalf. Here is a complete list of licensed agents who are permitted to help you with the application process. 

Not a fan of talking to a bunch of agents to figure out the best one? No problem. Get to know our team and let them help you plan your best way forward without you having to lift a finger.

Personal Requirements 

It’s not a highly restricted CBI program and all of the requirements are standard in the industry. 

They are as follows: 

  • You are 18 years or older

  • You can’t be under sanctions, restrictions or bans to enter EU countries, the United States, the UK or Canada

  • You must have no criminal record

  • You must be able to confirm that the source of your income is legal and that you have enough money coming in to survive

  • You are of good character and health

  • You must not be a threat to the integrity and the safety of Antigua and Barbuda.

1. Lodge Application (A Few Days)

There are certain documents required to apply and complete the process of obtaining Antiguan citizenship by investment.

They are as follows:

  • Police certificate
  • Copy of your passport
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Birth certificate
  • Health and medical documents
Cyprus lodge an application - Areal picture of a real estate beside the beach

All of your documents should have an apostille so that they can be legally used in Antigua and Barbuda.

To initiate the process, apply with your advisor or individually via an authorised agent. You will have to pay 10% of the government fee (so US$3,000 if you’re going the donation route) to start the application process.

Real estate investors will need to provide a sale agreement and business investors will need to get their projects approved.

Antigua and barbuda real estate investment - Antigua landscape in caribbean

2. Due Diligence Period (3 Months)

It will take approximately three months for the government to look into your application and decide on the outcome.

You will have 30 calendar days from the day the Certificate of Registration of Citizenship is issued to finalise your investment and pay all the fees.

3. Receive a Passport

Visit an Antiguan Embassy, High Commission or Consular office to take an oath of Allegiance and physically receive your passport. 

It will then be issued for five years. During that time, you must visit and spend at least five days per year in the country to be able to extend the passport once it expires. All subsequent passports are valid for periods of 10 years.

Antigua and Barbuda Passport - A picture of a women sitting on a palm tree leaning beside the beach

Want to Enjoy Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship like these Nomad Capitalists?

“I thoroughly enjoy having an Antiguan passport. Visa-free travel has opened up numerous business opportunities for me in Europe and in South Africa.”

Nicolas Owens

“After obtaining an Antiguan passport, I’ve been able to open up my business in Russia. It’s such a relief not to worry about getting a visa every time I need to travel there.”

Ruslan Janovic

“Antigua and Barbuda was by far the cheapest option to obtain a second passport for my family of three. Now, my child will have options in his future too.”

Xavier Stevens

The Pros of Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship

Although similar to other programs, such as St Lucia or Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda has an edge if you aren’t a solo applicant. 

If you have a spouse and children, Antigua is the cheapest jurisdiction in the world to obtain a second (or subsequent) passport. While other programs charge additional fees for every family member, Antigua lets a family of four apply for the same price – that’s a bargain. 

Plus, there are other benefits of Antigua and Barbuda citizenship: 

  • Visa-free travel to 150 countries: According to the Nomad Passport Index, an Antigua and Barbuda passport allows you to travel to 150 countries without applying for a visa. These countries include the Schengen area, South Africa, Hong Kong and Brazil.

  • Access and privileges in the UK: Since Antigua and Barbuda is part of the Commonwealth, its citizens are entitled to certain privileges in the United Kingdom and its other member states. 

  • Dual citizenship for life: You will get to enjoy your citizenship for life, and the same goes for your children. You will obtain the right to live and work in the country. However, you won’t automatically have the right to vote in elections. 

  • Quick passport: The total time from submitting your application to receiving your passport is relatively quick, especially compared to European CBI programs.

  • No residence requirement: You don’t have to live or even visit Antigua and Barbuda to obtain your passport. Lodge an application, and you will only have to spend five days per year in the country in order to retain your citizenship if you receive a passport. 

  • Favourable tax: Even though you can’t live tax-free in Antigua and Barbuda if you choose to become a resident, the tax environment as a whole is quite favourable. The country has no capital gains, gift, wealth, inheritance or real estate tax. Income tax is not charged on income that’s generated outside of the country. 

  • An island paradise: There is no negating the fact that Antigua and Barbuda is one of the top holiday destinations in the world. Antigua’s resorts and Barbuda’s unspoiled beaches and nature attract over one million visitors annually. You could have a second home there, with easy air connections to major hubs in North America and Europe. 

 

Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment: FAQs

Who cannot apply for Antiguan citizenship?

People born in Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan are not permitted to apply to become citizens of Antigua and Barbuda. However, if certain conditions are met (for example, if they migrated as a child and lived in another country for at least ten years), then someone from these countries could apply. As of March 2022, applications of Russian and Belarussian citizens are not being processed. 

What are the residency requirements for Antigua's CBI program?

Once becoming a citizen, you must visit and spend five days per year in Antigua and Barbuda during the first five years. Otherwise, you won’t be able to renew your passport after it expires.

How much do I invest in Antigua and Barbuda to get citizenship?

To obtain an Antiguan passport, you can invest US$130,000 (including fees), not including agent fees, in the National Development Fund. Other options include a real estate investment of US$400,000, a business investment of at least US$1,500,000 or $150,000 to the University of West Indies Fund.

Will I need to have a residential address in Antigua and Barbuda?

No, there is no such requirement.

Does Antigua and Barbuda publish the names of its investors who receive passports?

No. When you participate in the investment program, your name won’t be published anywhere, nor will it be disclosed to any third parties unless it’s legally required.

How long does it take to get Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment?

The citizenship application process for Antigua and Barbuda takes between three to six months and includes government authority and due diligence checks.

Which Caribbean country is the easiest for obtaining citizenship?

St Lucia’s citizenship-by-investment program has been modified to offer a more streamlined application process, making it potentially the most accessible Caribbean citizenship investment program.

How can I get citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda?

Antigua and Barbuda provide citizenship to wealthy individuals who are willing to invest in the country’s investment program. This citizenship program offers various benefits, such as visa-free travel. You can obtain citizenship by contributing to the National Development Fund, investing in real estate, business investments or the University Fund. The application process is quite strict and ensures that all applicants meet the eligibility criteria for citizenship.

Your Antiguan Barbuda Passport

Antigua and Barbuda is just one of several countries competing for you to choose their citizenship-by-investment program and your investment. 

So, does it make sense for you to invest in Antigua and Barbuda? Only you can decide, but there are some obvious advantages to this program.

Not only would you be able to travel to more than 150 countries visa-free, including all of the EU, most of Latin America, South Africa and Hong Kong, among others, but Antiguan citizens are also (British) Commonwealth citizens, which in itself has some benefits if you were to go to the UK. 

Bear in mind that all Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programs are pretty similar and it’s entirely up to you to decide which way you want to go.

But are you still undecided?

Don’t worry. No matter how similar some of the CBI programs are, it’s always beneficial to do your due diligence so that you can go where you’re treated best. That’s exactly what we believe in here at Nomad Capitalist.

We have helped our clients acquire citizenship from 28 countries and we can help you do the same. Apply to become a client today to get your second passport.

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