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    Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship by Investment

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Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship by Investment & Second Passport

Antigua & Barbuda is yet another idyllic Caribbean island nation that offers foreign investors (and their families) the opportunity to become citizens and get a second passport. Citizenship can be easily acquired in exchange for a donation or investment of a minimum of $100,000. It is the cheapest citizenship by investment program for families and married couples. 

The Antiguan Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program was started in 2013 and since then it has taken off as one of the preferred CBI programs in the world. Its affordable price, especially for families, as well as its ease and quick turn around time have contributed to it being so successful over the years. 

Table of Contents:

Why Choose Antigua & Barbuda?

The Antigua CBI program has many great things going for it, and some unique features which give it an edge in this highly competitive industry. 

Advantages of Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship by Investment

Fast processing time

The total application processing time and awarding of citizenship takes place within only three to four months.

Affordable

The minimum investment amount is only $100,000 (not including fees). This is on par with the other cheapest programs such as St. Lucia and Dominica. The higher fees make it slightly more expensive for a single applicant; however, Antigua & Barbuda offers by far the most affordable economic citizenship for married couples and families. That is because the minimum investment amount remains the same, even with additional family members. 

Strong passport

The Antigua & Barbuda passport is one of the strongest in the whole Caribbean. It provides visa-free access to around 150 countries, including the entire Schengen zone, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Africa.

Dual citizenship permitted

Antigua & Barbuda permits dual citizenship, meaning you do not have to give up your former passport in order to qualify.

Tax benefits

Antigua & Barbuda, like many of its neighbours, offers a wealth of tax benefits. While it is not completely tax-free, you can greatly reduce your tax burden if you decide to live there for tax purposes, thanks to its zero capital gains, gift, inheritance, and real estate tax. It also implements a territorial tax system whereby income generated outside of the country is exempt from income tax. 

Minimal physical presence requirements

You do not need to physically visit the country to complete the citizenship application and receive your passport. The only requirement is that you spend at least five days in Antigua & Barbuda over the course of a five-year period in order to maintain your citizenship. This can be achieved in one short beach holiday, and so is not such an onerous requirement at all. 

Quality of life

Perhaps you are only looking to acquire a second passport and do not actually plan to physically relocate to the country you have chosen. If, however, you do decide to actually reside in Antigua & Barbuda, or spend some time there during the year, you will find it to be a genuine paradise. Its beautiful beaches and exotic natural landscapes have helped make it one of the top tourist destinations in the world, which is easily accessible from North America and Europe. Not a bad place to call your second (or even primary) home. 

Disadvantages of Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship by Investment

While there’s no denying that the Antigua & Barbuda CBI program is outstanding on the whole, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

Overpriced real estate investment

The Antigua CBI program allows you to make an investment in real estate as an alternative to the government donation. While this may sound attractive, the real estate is generally overpriced, and the fees are high. This means you are unlikely to actually make any return on your investment and will more likely make a net loss. 

Passport is good, but not outstanding

Antigua & Barbuda offers a fairly good passport considering what you pay for it and when compared to other programs at a similar price point. That said, it does not match up to a Tier A passport from one of the more premier CBI programs, like that of Malta’s. Bear in mind though that it costs nearly a tenth of the amount. 

Physical visit is required

As mentioned, the physical presence requirements really are minimal, but they are still enforced. In comparison, most of the other Caribbean CBI programs have absolutely no visitation requirements meaning you don’t ever have to set foot in the country to maintain citizenship if you don’t want to. 

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How to Qualify for Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship by Investment

Basic Requirements

In order to qualify for citizenship by investment in Antigua & Barbuda, you must first meet the following basic requirements:

  • Be over the age of 18 (main applicant)
  • Be of excellent personal character.
  • Have a clean criminal record.
  • Have good physical health.
  • Demonstrate that you have a high personal net worth.

Antigua & Barbuda Investment Options

If you meet the above basic requirements, you can obtain citizenship by making one of the following four qualifying donations or investments:

  1. Donation to the National Development Fund (NDF)

This option involves making a minimum donation of $100,000 for a family of up to four, plus $25,000 for each additional dependent. In addition, there is a $30,000 NDF processing fee for a family of up to four, plus $15,000 for each additional dependent. 

The donation route laid out here is by far the most popular option for qualifying for citizenship by investment in Antigua. This is because it requires the least amount of capital upfront and is the simplest to navigate. The Antigua & Barbuda CBI program is unique in that it costs the same amount for a single applicant as it does for a couple or family of four. This makes it by far the most cost-effective CBI program for families, and is what gives them their main competitive edge. 

  1. Investment in Real Estate

Like most other CBI programs, Antigua & Barbuda also offers the option to invest in real estate. The minimum requirements are to invest at least $400,000 in property (which can be reduced to $200,000 each if two parties make the investment on a joint basis). It must be held for at least five years after which it can be sold. In addition, there is a government fee of $30,000 for a family of up to four, plus $15,000 for each additional dependent. 

While the real estate investment option does provide the potential to recover some of your initial investment, it is much less popular than the donation route. This is because there are additional risks involved in investing in property, it requires more capital upfront, you can rarely expect to make a return on your investment, and the process is much more complicated. 

  1. Invest in a Business

You can also qualify for citizenship by investing a substantial amount in a pre-approved Antiguan business. The minimum total investment required is $1.5 million; however, this can be shared with a group of other applicants in which case the minimum investment per applicant is a less daunting $400,000.  Similarly, the government fees are $30,000 for a family of up to four, plus $15,000 for each additional dependent. 

  1. Invest in the University of West Indies (UWI) Fund

In May 2020, Antigua & Barbuda introduced a new and interesting alternative donation option, which is only open to families of six or more. It involves making a one-time donation of at least $150,000 to the University of West Indies (inclusive of all processing fees). In addition, one family member will be eligible to receive a one-year scholarship to the university.  If the family has more than 6 members, the donation amount increases by $15,000 for each additional dependent. 

Additional Fees

It is important to take note that Antigua & Barbuda does add on some hefty additional fees for actually getting the passport. These fees are the same irrespective of the investment option chosen, and include:

  • Due diligence fees of $7,500 per adult applicant, $4,000 per dependent over the age of 18, and $2,000 for each dependent between the age of 12 – 17 (those under the age of 12 are free).
  • Passport fee of $300 per person
  • There is usually an agent fee of anywhere between $40,000 to $70,000 for processing the application. 

One can see that when these additional fees are factored in, Antigua & Barbuda remains relatively more expensive than cheaper alternatives like St. Lucia and Dominica, although still comes in cheaper for couples and families. 

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Application Process

The application process is quite straightforward so long as the minimum requirements have been met. It is important to note that only licensed agents can make the application on your behalf (hence the high additional fees). The steps are as follows:

  1. Lodge the application along with supporting documents which must be apostilled for legal use in Antigua & Barbuda. Supporting documents include: police clearance certificate, certified passport copy, marriage certificate if applying with a spouse, birth certificate, and medical health certificate. This stage of the process takes a few days at most and you will need to pay 10% of the $30,000 government fee to initiate the process.
  2. Wait for approximately three months for the government to complete the due diligence checks and either approve or reject your application. If the application is approved, you will receive a Certificate of Registration of Citizenship, after which you will be required to make the qualifying investment and pay the relevant fees within 30 days to finalise your citizenship. 
  3. Finally, you can visit an Antiguan Embassy or Consular office to receive your passport. You will be required to take an oath of allegiance. The passport is valid for five years, and in order to renew it you must spend at least five days in the country during that period. After renewal, all subsequent passports are valid for ten years and there are no longer any physical presence requirements that apply. 

Conclusion

Antigua & Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment program might not have the same legacy as that of St. Kitts & Nevis or Dominica, and it does come with its minor drawbacks. However, on the whole, it is an excellent program that offers efficiency and affordability. It comes with some unique benefits which are not offered by other similar programs, which will certainly help it to retain its place among the best CBI programs in the world. 

If you are a single applicant looking for the most affordable and convenient economic citizenship program, then you might be better off choosing St. Lucia or Dominica. On the other hand, if you are married and/or have a larger family which you are trying to get citizenship for, then Antigua & Barbuda is undoubtedly the most affordable option on the market, which offers some highly attractive benefits too. 

For more information:

Best Citizenship By Investments

CBI Programs

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Disclaimer: Information on this site does not constitute legal or tax advice.
Though we try and keep information up-to-date, company and tax laws change.
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