The twin island nations of Antigua and Barbuda are located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The country boasts stunning beaches, opportunities for yachting, sailing, scuba diving, and snorkeling, as well as golfing, horseback riding and more. It is a member of the United Nations and CARICOM, making the small country a large player on the international stage. Considering all that Antigua and Barbuda have to offer, it comes as no surprise that the nation is called the Caribbean’s premier destination for tourism.
Antigua and Barbuda have become a very attractive option for foreign investors who are interested in relocating to an island paradise while at the same time diversifying their portfolio. While the nation’s economy is dominated by its thriving tourism industry, the country’s investment banking, financial services, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors are also very lucrative and successful. Moreover, its citizenship by investment opportunity is relatively new and requires a lower minimum investment amount in comparison to similar programs.
Investment-Based Immigration to Antigua and Barbuda
The government proposed the Antigua and Barbuda Economic Citizenship Programme Act of 2012. The purpose of the Act was to create a quick and easy pathway to citizenship for foreign investors who are seeking to relocate to the country.
Under the program, foreign investors have four options for qualifying for citizenship. The first option requires the foreign national to contribute at least $250,000USD to the country’s National Development Fund. The investment should be a lump sum, one time payment into government designated real estate that is valued at a minimum of $400,000USD.
The second option allows two or more investors to join their resources together and execute a sale and purchase agreement of an Antigua and Barbuda business as long as each investor contributes at least $400,000USD. The country’s Citizenship by Investment Unit will consult with the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA) to approve businesses for the purpose of the investment-based citizenship program.
The third option allows a single foreign national to invest a minimum of $1,500,000USD into an ABIA approved business.
Finally, the fourth option allows two or more foreign investors to make a combined investment of at least $5,000,000USD into an ABIA approved business as long as each investor personally contributes at least $400,000 to the joint venture.
The Citizenship Application
Regardless of the investment option the foreign national chooses, after making the investment the national is eligible to apply for Antigua and Barbuda citizenship for the investor and family. Among other documents and materials, the application must include proof of the investment in the form of an escrow agreement, bank deposit, wire transfer, etc., and if the investor chose the real estate option, a copy of the real estate deed of sale, title transfer, and contract.
Additionally, the investor must submit an original reference letter from a bank professional at an internationally recognized bank. This letter must be no older than six months. Finally, the investor must also provide one professional reference from an attorney, accountant, notary, or similar professional. This reference must also be no older than six months.
If the application is approved, the investor and family can immediately obtain their Antigua and Barbuda passports which are valid for an initial period of five years and can be renewed indefinitely. While not required to permanently reside in the country, investor citizens and their families are required to spend at least 70 days in Antigua and Barbuda during the five years after they receive their first passport. The failure to do so will prevent the investors and their families from renewing their passports after the passports expire.
Benefits of Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship
Antigua and Barbuda passport holders have the unconditional and unrestricted right to live, work, and travel in and out of the country. Moreover, because of the nation’s membership in CARICOM, passport holders enjoy visa-free travel to more than twenty countries including the United Kingdom,Canada, Belize, and Jamaica. Antigua and Barbuda nationality also carries numerous financial benefits as well such as low tax rates.