Antigua & Barbuda Citizenship Program
Antigua and Barbuda is an independent Commonwealth state in the Eastern Caribbean. With some 365 beaches of clean, clear, turquoise waters, the lush tropical island of Antigua is an inviting paradise and considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. As a result, tourism is the key driver of GDP and generates around 60% of the island’s income, with key target markets being the US, Canada, and Europe. Antigua is a member of the United Nations (UN), the British Commonwealth, CARICOM and the Organization of American States (OAS), among many other international organizations. Holders of the Antiguan passport enjoy visa-free travel to approximately 150 destinations, including the UK and Europe’s Schengen area. Holders of this passport, like all Caribbean countries, do require a visa to enter the US as Antigua and Barbuda is not a member of the Visa Waiver Program.
The laws regarding the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by- Investment Program are contained in the country’s
Citizenship by Investment Act 2013, and Citizenship by Investment Regulations 2013.
The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship-by-Investment Program requires a person to make a significant economic contribution to the country. In exchange, and subject to a stringent vetting and due diligence process, including thorough background checks, the applicants and their families are granted citizenship. To qualify for citizenship, the main applicant must be over 18 years of age, meet the application requirements, and select one of the following three options available:
- The purchase of real estate with a minimum value of USD 400,000 from an approved real estate project. Under a limited time offer (LTO) — valid until 31 October 2018 — two applicants can make a joint investment with each applicant investing a minimum of USD 200,000 in order to qualify. The real estate cannot be disposed of within the five-year period.
- The direct purchase of an eligible business for a minimum amount of USD 1.5 million as an individual, or a joint purchase where each person contributes at least USD 400,000, totaling a minimum of USD 5,000,000
- A contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF) of a minimum non-refundable amount of USD 100,000
The NDF is a special fund established under section 42(2) of the Finance Act 2006 for the purpose of funding government-sponsored projects, including public-private partnerships and approved charitable investments which deliver services in healthcare, education, environmental management, youth development or the promotion of sports and culture. Under the NDF option, the contribution for a single applicant or a family of up to four people is USD 100,000 and the
processing fee is USD 25,000. For a family of five or more persons, the NDF contribution is
USD 125,000 with processing fees of USD 25,000 and three dependents free. An additional fee of USD 15,000 will apply for the fifth and each additional dependent. Under the real estate option, the minimum contribution is USD 400,000 for a single applicant or family of up to four persons with government processing fees of USD 50,000 and three dependents free. A fee of USD 15,000 will apply for the fifth and each additional dependent (see LTO). There are also due diligence fees of USD 7,500 for both the main applicant and spouse, USD 2,000 for any dependent child of 12 to 17 years of age, and USD 4,000 for any dependent child of 18 to 28 years of age as well as any dependent parent over the age of 58 years. The main applicant and their dependents must have a clean personal background, not having received a free pardon, and at no time been convicted in any country of an offense for which the maximum custodial penalty is in excess of six months’ imprisonment. The regulations further provide that a person who has been denied a visa to a country with which Antigua and Barbuda has a visa-free travel arrangement and has subsequently not obtained a visa to the country that issued the denial, shall not be entitled to apply under the program. A person who is deemed a potential national security risk, a reputational risk or is subject to a criminal investigation will also be denied citizenship.
Procedures and Time Frame
The government authority responsible for administering the program, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU),
is responsible for the processing of all applications. The CIU examines the application thoroughly and, if deemed necessary, may request the applicant to attend an interview. The CIU undertakes strict due diligence checks and will decline an application if the applicant makes a false statement or omits any relevant information in the application. The documentary requirements of the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship-by-Investment Program are reasonable and the procedures are straightforward. Once the application is approved, passports can be collected in Antigua and Barbuda. It is estimated that the process will take between three and four months from submission of the application to issuance of the passport, assuming there are no areas of concern with the application. Under the real estate option, the time frame may vary depending upon the project. Therefore, it is important to select a real estate project that is able to provide the necessary paperwork required from the developer for the citizenship application.
There are no restrictions on dual citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda.
- An Antigua and Barbuda passport provides visa-free access to approximately 150 destinations including the UK, Europe’s Schengen area, Singapore, and Hong Kong
- Full citizenship with a passport is granted to the applicant and family
- Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Commonwealth. This entitles citizens to certain privileges in the UK and other member states
- Antigua and Barbuda is an attractive place to live or to own a second home, with excellent air links to North America and Europe.