Antigua & Barbuda Ranked as Having Caribbean’s Top Citizenship by Investment Programme


ST JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda, Thursday November 9, 2017 – Antigua and Barbuda is ranked as the Caribbean’s top Citizenship by Investment programme, while Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis are ranked second and third respectively, according to the Read more

CITIZENSHIP REDUCED TO $100,000 USD


Antigua Observer   The cost for Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship under the National Development Fund (NDF) has been reduced to US $100,000. The previous price was US $200,000. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne who was speaking in parliament Thursday Read more

Antigua-Barbuda citizenship reduced to US$100,000


  CARIBBEAN NEWS NOW Oct 12th 2017   ST JOHN’S, Antigua — The cost for Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship under the National Development Fund (NDF) option has been reduced to US$100,000. The previous required contribution was US$200,000.   The announcement was made by Prime Minister Read more

NEW CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT OPTION


2nd Passports It appears that obtaining a second citizenship is beginning to catch momentum as a global trend. I’ve met several people in just the past week who have obtained multiple passports (more on that in later) but this trend is Read more

Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment


Through the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment program, investors and their immediate family members can directly qualify for citizenship. Antigua and Barbuda, an independent Commonwealth state in the Eastern Caribbean, has a developing economy driven primarily by the tourism industry. The verdant tropical islands Read more

Investment-Based Immigration Opportunities


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. Read more

Antigua & Barbuda becomes latest Caribbean country to sell citizenship to international investors


Antigua and Barbuda is joining other Caribbean countries in selling citizenship to international investors. Prime Minister Gaston Brown says the revenue generated by the citizenship-by-investment program will help put the islands "on the road to sustainable growth and development." A foreigner Read more

Antigua and Barbuda Launches Citizenship Program


On October 13, 2013, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer, announced the launch of the territory's Citizenship by Investment Program. The prime minister described the program as "an initiative which has the potential to transform the economic Read more

Antigua and Barbuda launches ‘Citizenship by Investment’


Antigua and Barbuda has officially launched a residency for investment – or ‘golden’ – visa. The Prime Minister announced the Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) late last week. To get a passport and citizenship in Antigua, investors must invest $250,000 to Read more

Antigua & Barbuda launches Citizenship by Investment Program


Antigua & Barbuda has launched its “Citizenship by Investment Program” with Prime Minister saying the initiative is to generate investments and jobs for nationals and to put the twin island-nation on the road to sustainable growth and development. According to Read more

China to spend US$1b in Antigua and Barbuda

Chinese investors are to plunge more than US$1 billion (S$1.25 billion) into developing Antigua and Barbuda’s first mega resort, creating 1,000 jobs for the tiny cash-strapped nation.

 

Chinese investors are to plunge more than US$1 billion (S$1.25 billion) into developing Antigua and Barbuda’s first mega resort, creating 1,000 jobs for the tiny cash-strapped nation. Construction on the mammoth 1,600-acre (647-hectare) multi-hotel, residential and commercial project is slated to begin early next year.

 

The ‘Singulari’ scheme – 50 per cent bigger than the regionally-heralded Baha Mar resort under way in the Bahamas – is being lauded as a major feather in the East Caribbean country’s tourism cap. Spanning 900 acres of land in the north of Antigua and 700 acres of tiny islands, it will include several luxury hotels, hundreds of private homes, a school, hospital, marinas, golf courses, an entertainment district, horse racing track and the Caribbean’s biggest casino.

 

A Yida spokesman said job fairs would be held within weeks to ensure locals were given first priority for the 200 positions being made available later this year when the land is prepared for development, and the 800 created next year when construction starts. “Over the next 10 years, Yida Group and its global partners will create an additional US$2 billion of gross domestic product and economic value to Antigua, including sales of real estate, creation of new industries and origination of foreign direct investment,” he added.

 

Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne signed a memorandum of agreement with the developers on June 13, one day after taking office following June’s general election. Browne declared his intention to transform the country, suffering crippling national debt and unemployment, into an economic powerhouse.

 

Citizenship By Investment is seen to be a major component of the project as it is for the future development of the economy and the island as a whole.

 


Schengen Access – Citizenship By Investment

Soon, more than 20 countries will be granted the right of visa-free travel to Schengen countries, a right which will change the way citizenship in these countries will be perceived.

 

As some Caribbean islands are expected to be granted this right soon, an increased interest in the passports of these countries will be the logical result.

Luckily, the Caribbean region hosts some of the most accessible citizenship programmes in the world; programmes that are also dubbed ‘over-the-counter-programmes’ due to the ease with which a passport can be obtained.

 

Various citizenship options were discussed at the Citizenship by Investment & International Residence Summit in Dubai last month, and the Caribbean islands were well represented.

 

“Today, migrants move to, move from, and transit through every nation – big and small; rich and poor – including south-south migration,” noted Sergio Marchi, Member of the Global Agenda on Migration of the World Economic Forum.

According to a joint report presented by Wealth-X, experts in the field, the Caribbean accounts for 25 per cent of the applications for citizenship programmes, a remarkable representation considering these applications are spread over only four islands – St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Grenada.

 

Further, all four islands are ranked in the top 10 of the jurisdictions by examining the overall cost, speed, global mobility, quality of life and simplicity of the programmes. St Kitts and Nevis ranked third, Grenada 5th, Antigua and Barbuda 6th and Dominica 8th.

“We call these the over-the-counter programmes; these are countries that basically sell passports,” said the Managing Partner, M/Advocates of Law.

 

Antigua and Barbuda



Antigua and Barbuda already offer visa-free travel to 130 countries, including Schengen countries. Nevertheless, it is a relative newcomer to the market, with its citizenship-by-investment programme up and running since January this year.

 

Although the programme was launched last year, the programme is subjected to a couple of changes in response to the initial feedback, explained Harold Lovell, Minister of Finance and Economy.

 

“We are looking at changing the 35 days rule,” he said. Whereas most islands in the region do require minimal to no physical presence of the applicant in order to obtain citizenship, Antigua and Barbuda requires the applicant to stay in the country for 35 days over a period of 5 years, after having obtained citizenship.

 

“This seemed to be a hurdle for many people, and we do not want to harm the process,,” the minister explained on the sidelines of the summit.

Citizenship can be obtained when a minimum investment of $250,000 is made in the National Development Fund (NDF), a minimum investment of $400,000 is made in the real estate sector, or a minimum investment of $1.5 million in an existing business. By means of incentive, the NDF option has been reduced to a minimum investment of $200,000 in the first 6 months, an offer which runs until June, 2014.

 

“We are going into the right direction with the programme. We have received 44 applications so far, from nationals of China, Syria, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries,” Lovell said, adding that the expected revenue from the programme is $20 million this year.

 

No minimum level of English is required, and citizens approved under the programme will not be taxed. A maximum processing time of 90 days is applied, although this usually results in 30-60 days in reality, added the minister.


Africans Seeking Alternative Citizenship By Investment

Wealthy citizens of unstable African countries are seeking alternate citizenship in safer places by buying real estate, TheStar reports.

 

These wealthy citizens are interested in visa-free access to South Africa.

 

Due to lack of awareness, demand for alternative citizenship by people living in East Africa is less than in North, West and Southern Africa.

 

These citizenship-by-investment programs are offered by several countries and allow an investor to legally, and almost immediately, acquire citizenship without needing to physically move to the country of choice, according to the website.

 

“We are not at liberty to reveal any particulars or demographics of these applications,” the company told The Star.

 

Clients from tumultuous countries, it said, seek secure destinations for their families when the need arises. They are looking to benefit from visa-free travel, education for their children and international tax planning.

 

Countries that offer citizenship by investment are seeking the type of investments that stimulate their economies, The Star reports.

 

There are four citizenship-by-investment programs of real interest. These include two in the Caribbean (St Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda) and two in Europe (Cyprus and Malta).

 

To qualify, an individual must invest at least $300,000, and in exchange, receives citizenship and passports that allow visa-free travel to Canada, the European Union, and U.K.

 

Kenyans are often interested in the Antigua and Barbuda program mainly because the citizenship offers visa-free access to South Africa.

 

Malta and Cyprus programs are the most attractive, according to Henley, because they give immediate European Union citizenship. They are also the most expensive, requiring investments starting from 1 million euros ($1.378).

 

Cyprus investors pay taxes (over and above real estate taxes, which are unavoidable) if they live there for 183-plus days in a year.

 

With anti-money laundering regulations increasing worldwide, those applying for the Cyprus program qualify only if they have no criminal record from their countries of origin and have been cleared by Cyprus police as well.

 

Starting April, the Cypriot citizenship required a qualifying investment of $2.898 million including a 5 percent value-added-tax charge. Making Caribbean Citizenship By Investment program options such as Antigua & Barbuda more attractive with programs starting from $250,000 USD.

 


Iranians May Apply – Under Certain Conditions

Information from the Citizenship By Investment Unit: http://cip.gov.ag/faq/

Iranian nationals may apply for Citizenship by Investment under the following conditions:

 

The Applicant must:

 

  • Be lawfully and actually resident for a minimum of 1 year outside of Iran, (including any accompanying over age dependents),
  • Provide funds generated from outside of Iran and provide documented proof of their legal origin and the source of the applicant’s wealth,
  • Have no direct exposure to activities proscribed in the United Nations’ sanctions on Iran.

 

Applicants should, where applicable, be able to provide:

 

  • Compliance with OFAC guidelines,
  • Supporting documentary evidence such as evidence of title, copies of leases, utility bills and bank accounts,
  • Whether the applicant is the holder or a residence permit for Canada , the UK or EU countries,
  • Whether the applicant has a verifiable record of travel or study in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada or EU and /or dual citizenship which entailed an evaluation process.
  • Whether the applicant holds a USA OFAC license or a Canadian SEMPA Order, or similar instrument from an EU member state,

 

Applicants under these conditions should be aware that in view of the complexity of completing a thorough evaluation and due diligence that the time frame for approval MAY be exceeded.


Syrian Family First Antigua Citizenship by Investment

Antigua St. John’s – George Georges and his family of four on Monday became the first people to receive Antigua & Barbuda citizenship under the recently-established Citizenship by Investment Programme.

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, during a brief ceremony, presented Georges with his Certificate of Citizenship by Registration and his Antigua & Barbuda passport. Earlier in the day, Georges was administered the Oath of Allegiance by Minister of National Security and Labour Dr Errol Cort.

Prime Minister Spencer, in welcoming Georges to the Antigua & Barbuda family, thanked him for the confidence he has exhibited in the process and Antigua & Barbuda, and noted that he is looking forward to Georges opening up avenues for investment for Antigua & Barbuda.

The country’s leader said that Georges, who is based in Dubai, has already indicated interest in a number of developmental projects and has introduced a number of investors to the government in the field of tourism.

Georges, who gained citizenship through his contribution to the National Development Fund, said that he is delighted to have been accepted for Antiguan & Barbudan citizenship, and it is his intention to work in the interest of his newly adopted country.

Under the Citizenship by Investment Act, individuals and their families can become citizens of Antigua and Barbuda through investment, donations to a charity, and contributions to the National Development Fund.


First Citizenship By Investment Passport Sold

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda citizenship has become a reality for George Georges and his family under a programme which makes people eligible to receive Antigua & Barbuda passports for a price.

The Syrian national, who has business interests in Dubai, received his passport yesterday in a brief ceremony. Earlier Georges was administered the Oath of Allegiance by Minister of National Security and Labour Dr Errol Cort.

In welcoming the newest citizen, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said on State Media, Georges will be working closely with government to transform the country’s tourism product.

“He will be looking at important investments, particularly in the tourism sector. He operates out of Dubai where a lot of things have been happening in that country and a lot of opportunities do exist.”

Spencer said Georges interest will be “to ensure we get airlift out of that part of the world into Antigua.”

On January 15, Finance Minister Harold Lovell said The Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) had approved six projects and was in the process of evaluating three others.

He is on record saying, “These projects represent a total investment of US $614.8 million … , it is estimated that about $60 million will be generated in the Fund in 2014.”

Georges’ gained citizenship through his contribution to the National Development Fund. George expressed gratitude to the government and people of Antigua & Barbuda.

Funds generated from CIP will go into a national development fund. The money is to be used to improve domestic infrastructure, support small businesses, and encourage entrepreneurship – particularly among the youth.


The perks of Caribbean citizenship

Second citizenship and property investment in the Caribbean is being touted as an essential component in wealth preservation

To what extent can the Caribbean citizenship programmes support an international wealth preservation strategy? According to UK lawyer Jimmy Webster, wealthy private clients the world over are looking at second citizenships for three main reasons.

“The primary motivation for the majority of investors to date is a second passport that allows them to travel more freely around the world,” says Webster. Many successful business people across Asia and the Middle East are particularly frustrated by the time delays and issues associated with gaining visas to enter western countries for legitimate business purposes.

“Secondly, this market also views second citizenship as a back-up option for personal security for themselves and their families, should their home countries become destabilised. The third but fastest-growing segment is international private clients who are looking for the best practice to preserve their wealth.”

Islands of opportunity
Caribbean citizenship is particularly well suited to this strategy, as there is little to no residency requirement and no taxation on international income in the island nations of St Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda. In this case the individual needs to make sure they spend less than the minimum amount of time in the country where they fear extraordinary taxation, and spend some of this non-domicile time in a place such as Antigua. With celebrities such as Giorgio Armani and Eric Clapton having had residences on Antigua for a long time, the needs of the discerning international high-net-worth client are well catered for.

Citizens International specialises in offering affluent individuals the opportunity to apply for citizenship through a minimum luxury property investment of $400,000 in either St Kitts or Antigua, both independent member nations of the Commonwealth.

Property in St Kitts is highly sought after: it’s believed that scores of families from Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and the US have been applying for citizenship there

“St Kitts has been offering their programme since the 1980s, but it is only in the last five years that is has really gained momentum and although the government keeps its citizens’ information confidential, we believe scores of families from Asia, the Middle East, and increasingly from Europe and the US have recently been applying for citizenship there,” explains Webster.

Tourism boosts
In tandem with the popularity of the citizenship programme has been the growth of St Kitts as a tourist destination. Supported by the development generated by its new citizens, St Kitts is enjoying an industry boom including a new Park Hyatt and luxury residential developments comprising championship golf courses, marinas, boutique hotels, and shopping malls.

In Antigua and Barbuda, the programme is brand new, having passed legislation in the summer of 2013; however, the island is already positioned and well known as a top western destination for recreational travel.

The immediate and tangible rewards that have brought the world’s elite to these islands for generations are especially evident in Antigua, where thousands of international travellers visit annually and leave harbouring dreams of having a home there. Relaxed, yet sophisticated, resident families enjoy world-class education at the Island Academy, one of the two international baccalaureate schools in the entire Caribbean.

The lifestyle at any age is idyllic in Antigua, among a mosaic of cultures, with its laid-back elegance, turquoise waters, international restaurants, and yachting community. A favourite vacation spot for both industry luminaries and celebrity icons, Antigua and Barbuda does not have to work hard to be considered an international destination.


Why should you invest in the Caribbean in 2014?

If you are looking for a promising property market to invest in this year then the balmy, palm-fringed islands of the Caribbean are certainly a rather pleasant place to start your search.

Aside from the popular image of hammocks on sugar-sand beaches, or Simon Cowell and Rhianna swanning around on private yachts, key property and travel trends have identified that the Caribbean is not only offering very favourable benefits for holiday property buyers but it is also looking very positive for renting prospects with it being an increasingly popular destination for holidaymakers.

In recent years, many of the Caribbean islands have not only established themselves as tax-free but are also offering international income to be tax-exempt for those looking to invest in real estate.

According to Property Frontiers, an international property investment advisor, one of the most significant trends within the global property market in the last few years has been the growth in dual citizenship and numerous tax advantages in the Caribbean region.

Some of the islands that already seem to be benefitting from these implementations are St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Belize and Barbados and they are soon to be joined by Grenada and Antigua.

In addition to the tax advantages available when residing in the Caribbean, there are also little to no residency requirements in areas such as Antigua, Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis – although you have to factor in the cost of the licence required when foreigners purchase land or property on many islands.

Many of the Caribbean islands have launched the Citizen by Investment Programme in order to further encourage overseas investment. The general terms of the programme grant citizenship to those accepted to invest in property in the area and in return greater liquidity is expected in that property market.

The programme is soon to be released in Grenada in order to try and restore their economy following the devastating effects of Hurricane Ivan (2004) and Emily (2005).

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) have predicted that Grenada will be the fastest growing Caribbean market between 2011 and 2021 and that the introduction of the programme will not only attract high net worth buyers but will have a positive impact on property values.

The rental market is also looking very optimistic in the Caribbean with more and more holidaymakers heading to the bliss islands.

According to Google search engine activity, searches for ‘holidays in the Caribbean’ have increased by 48 per cent from January 2013 to January 2014.

Undeniably, the Caribbean has lots to offer holidaymakers including all inclusive holidays, eco-tourism and luxury spa retreats, as well as being one of the world’s top destinations for honeymoons.

Visitors to the Caribbean are likely to benefit from the improved access to the islands with more airlines flying there and more frequently. As a result, this has provided travel agents with more options and flexibility when creating holiday packages to the Caribbean and better value flight, hotel or combined packages for the customer.

It also means the promise of healthy returns for property owners who let out their property commercially.

James Mannings, comments: “During this busy period of holiday bookings, we have seen an increase of 31 per cent from last year of people viewing our Caribbean properties. It certainly seems as though those renting or looking to rent in the Caribbean are expected to benefit in 2014 and onwards with the continuing popularity of holidays to the islands.”


No new taxes in Antigua

The Antigua and Barbuda government has presented an EC$874.8 million tax free budget to Parliament announcing also a reduction in the rate of personal income tax and the payment of outstanding arrears to public servants.

“This anticipated 15 per cent increase in revenue over the expected actual revenue out-turn for 2013 will not be achieved through any new taxes or tax increases,” Finance Minister Harold Lovell told legislators Thursday, insisting that the Baldwin Spencer administration had no intention of increasing taxes to meet the fiscal package.

“I repeat this administration has no intention of introducing any new taxes, nor will we increase any existing taxes,” Lovell told legislators.

He said the growth in revenue will be as a result “increased economic activity in 2014” adding that a number of projects would be implemented during the 12 months.

“The growth in revenue will be a result of increased economic activity in 2014 as implementation of a number of projects I highlighted earlier commences; the revenues generated through the Citizenship by Investment Programme; and continued reforms in the tax administration system that will bring about increased compliance,” he added.

But in an immediate reaction, Opposition Leader Gaston Browne described the fiscal package, titled “The New Economy” as unoriginal.

He said the budget contains a number of “plagiarised initiatives of the Antigua Labour Party” recalling that even the theme of the fiscal package had been taken from a previous statement made by “our late father of the nation” Vere Bird Sr.

In his budget presentation, Lovell said that the government, which is facing a general election later this year, anticipates that indirect taxes would account for EC$484.8 million.

He said the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (AVST), which accounts for 46 per cent of indirect taxes here, was estimated for the 2014 to be EC$224.4 million.

The government estimates it will make $60 million from the Citizenship by Investment (CIP) programme that Lovell said “will bring about increased compliance”.

Lovell told legislators that the Baldwin Spencer government would be reducing the rate of personal income tax for the lowest band while increasing the personal allowance threshold for tax-free income.

According to the finance minister, employees earning between EC$3,501 to EC$15,500 a month would now be charged eight per cent instead of the present 10 per cent.

He said the level for tax free income would also move from EC$3,000 to EC$3,500.

“The first EC$3,500 would be taxed at zero per cent. This means that every dollar up to EC$3,500 earned by all workers in Antigua and Barbuda will be free of personal income tax,” Lovell said, adding that the new measure came into effect from the start of the year.

The government said that the new policy would mean more than 4,000 people would be taken off the income tax list and Lovell said the government expects to lose an estimated nine million dollars in tax collections this year.

Last year, employees paid EC$42.5 million in income tax.

“Rather than increase other taxes or cutting social programmes, as would be inevitable if we were to abolish income tax, we will improve compliance across all tax types, in particular, property tax.

“In order to finance that loss of nine million we will only need to grow the economy by 1.72 per cent, that is very, very realisable,” Lovell said.

The government also said it intends to meet its obligations to pay more than EC$100 million in outstanding arrears to public servants.


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