Recent Amendments to the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program

Recent Amendments to the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program
  • 10 minutes
  • Nov 25, 2020

The Caribbean is one of the most popular regions in the world right now for investors seeking international opportunities and new citizenship options. Antigua and Barbuda have an attractive citizenship-by-investment program for foreign investors. They’ve recently amended their program eligibility and financial requirements to meet the nation’s evolving needs and attract more foreign investment.

Before making a significant, life-altering commitment to applying for citizenship-by-investment and an Antiguan passport, let Bluemina help you learn about these new changes and the other details you’ll need to apply for naturalization successfully.

Eligibility for Citizenship-by-Investment in Antigua and Barbuda

Qualifying for the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship-by-investment program isn’t hard, but there are some strict requirements all investors must meet in order for their applications to be considered. Before going through the detailed application process, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Your assets must be free and clear of investigations and must not be frozen for any reason.
  • You must have a clean criminal history.
  • You must have a high personal net-worth regardless of the size of your assets.
  • You must be physically healthy, as verified by a doctor.
  • To be granted a passport, Antigua and Barbuda requires you to reside on the island for at least five days during the first five years of your investment period.

Once granted, your passport is irrevocable and thus protected from changes to the CBI program or other government policies. Be aware that you must still maintain good legal standing and demonstrate outstanding character in order to maintain a valid passport.

Benefits to Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship

Why choose Antigua and Barbuda citizenship-by-investment? For starters, an Antiguan passport grants you visa-free travel to over 140 countries around the world, including most of South America, the nations of Southeastern Africa, many nations in the Asia Pacific region, and the entirety of the European Union. Your Antigua passport will be a fully authorized international travel document trusted around the world.

Antigua and Barbuda is a beautiful Caribbean destination featuring over 350 beaches, seaside resorts, and coastal properties on crisp, clear waters. The Commonwealth boasts an enormous tourism industry that generates over half of the island’s GDP bringing in wealthy visitors from North America and Europe every year.

The Commonwealth of Antigua and Barbuda also permits dual citizenship allowing you to maintain your full rights in your nation of origin while gaining permanent citizenship to the island.

You aren’t required to permanently reside in the Commonwealth even during your 5-year probationary period so long as you spend a short time in the country. You can even bring your family along with eligibility being extended to your spouse, children, siblings, and even your grandparents.

As an Antigun citizen, you’ll also enjoy highly-favorable tax conditions, with the Commonwealth levying no income tax, wealth tax, or inheritance taxes. Wealthy investors around the world pay hefty sums for simply having financial success, but Antigua and Barbuda doesn’t penalize you for making money on the island.

Newest Amendments to the Antigua and Barbuda CBI Program

While most of the citizenship-by-investment program regulations remain the same as they’ve been in years past, Antigua and Barbuda have updated a few key requirements for foreign investors seeking naturalization.

Contributions to the National Development Fund have increased for families of four or more. The processing fee associated with family members has increased slightly from $25,000 to $30,000.

However, the real estate investment scheme has lowered its minimum commitment. The government processing fees for real estate investors have dropped from $50,000 to $30,000, making real estate investment cheaper and easier than ever before.

The real estate investment path still carries a commitment of at least $400,000 commitment. Yet, under the new amendments, this total may be split between two investors contributing $200,000 each in order to receive their own separate titles.

Also, the government has expanded the definition of dependents. Some of the major changes are:

  • Inclusion of unmarried siblings of main applicants
  • Inclusion of future spouses and future children of the main applicant’s children
  • Increase in threshold of dependent children, i.e. up to 30 years (previously 28)
  • Lowering of threshold of dependent parents/grandparents, i.e. 55 years and older (previously 58).

Finally, a recent provision has passed protecting citizens established under the CBI program from losing their naturalization status due to COVID-19 restrictions. Suppose you are unable to travel to Antigua and Barbuda due to travel restrictions associated with the pandemic.

In that case, you will not be disqualified for your inability to spend the minimum required time on the island during your 5-year probationary period.

Antigua and Barbuda may pass amendments to the CBI program at any time, so to ensure the best chances of approval, contact Bluemina today for a free consultation to determine if now is the time for you to apply for citizenship and a passport for visa-free travel.

Investment Options for Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship

Each path to citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda carries a minimum commitment as well as government processing fees and due diligence fees. There’s also a small fee to have your new passport issued, though in most cases, this fee doesn’t amount to more than $350.

These due diligence fees are non-refundable and are owed upon the initial submission of your application. However, you won’t be required to submit your final contribution/investment or processing fees until your application is approved.

Upon approval of your application, you may be required to visit Antigua and Barbuda in person in order to swear the national oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Commonwealth.

You may be permitted to take your oath at an embassy or consular office outside of the island in some cases.

Contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF)

The Antigua and Barbuda National Development Fund is a non-profit government-regulated fund that backs Antiguan infrastructure projects, partnerships between public and private-sector entities, and charitable contributions to Antiguan organizations.

Applicants for Antigua and Barbuda citizenship may gain naturalization by contributing a minimum of $100,000 to the NDF. In addition, applicants will be required to cover government processing fees of $25,000 plus an additional $15,000 per dependent after the first three. There are also fees for due diligence procedures starting at $7,500 plus smaller additional fees for each dependent.

Investment in Antiguan Real Estate

Real estate investment is the most popular path to citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda, though it requires a higher financial commitment than other paths.

To invest in Antigua/Barbuda real estate, you must make a minimum commitment of $400,000 to invest in a government-approved real estate property or venture.

Real estate investors are subject to a newly-lowered $30,000 government processing fee for themselves and up to three dependents. To include more dependents, you’ll need to pay $15,000 each and make a donation of $150,000 to the NDF.

The required $400,000 commitment may be divided among two or more co-investors, but each co-investor must commit at least $200,000 to the project. As a result, if you have more than two joint investors on your application, the minimum commitment increases by $200,000 each.

You must maintain ownership of your real estate investment property for a minimum of 5 years before you’re permitted to sell.

However, should you purchase another government-approved investment property on the island worth at least $400,000, you will be allowed to sell the original property with government permission.

Investment in Antiguan Business Ventures

If you’re looking to invest in a business in Antigua and Barbuda to gain citizenship, there’s a minimum principal investment of at least $1,500,000. This option is available only for sole investors.

If you’re investing in a joint venture with at least two or more investors, the minimum contribution required is $5,000,000, with each investor responsible for at least $400,000 of that contribution.

Each investor must also apply for Antigua/Barbuda citizenship, but this can be done on their behalf by another agent.

You must invest in a government-approved business in order to be eligible for this path to citizenship. However, unlike CBI programs in many other nations, you are not restricted to a pre-approved list of businesses. You may request that the Citizenship-by-Investment Unit (CIU) office review your request and petition the Cabinet for the approval of any existing or proposed business you’d like to invest in.

Processing fees for business investors total $30,000 for a family of up to four individuals. For larger families, you’ll be required to pay an additional $15,000 per person and make a $150,000 contribution to the NDF.

Contribution to the University of the West Indies Fund (UWI)

This path to citizenship is popular for larger families. With the intention of bolstering the financial operations of the University, the UWI funding program requires that the applicant bring a family of at least six persons along with them on the path to citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda.

The program requires a minimum contribution of $150,000, which includes processing fees— no extra costs are required! The only additional fee is a small $15,000 per family member for the 7th individual and each thereafter.

The UWI investment path also carries a unique benefit not available to other CBI investors in Antigua/Barbuda.

One family member on your application can be granted a one-year tuition-only scholarship to the University of the West Indies to be used as you see fit for their education.

How to Apply for Citizenship-by-Investment in Antigua and Barbuda

While there’s no mandatory requirement for you to apply for your CBI application through an authorized agent, the Antiguan government strongly encourages that you do so rather than applying independently. This ensures that your application is thoroughly pre-screened for eligibility so that you don’t lose your non-refundable due diligence fees to a small, unexpected issue.

Through your authorized agent, you can submit the required forms and documentation for your citizenship and passport application. These documents include:

  • Master CBI Application Form
  • Signature Certificate with Photographs
  • Verified Medical Certificate
  • Investment Confirmation Form
  • Agent Form
  • Passport Application Forms

Upon receipt of all of the required documentation from your authorized agent, a licensed agent in Antigua/Barbuda will perform eligibility and diligence checks against your completed application and will work with your own agent to secure further information and initial payments. This process typically takes between 3-5 months unless the Commonwealth determines they need further information.

You don’t need to visit the island in-person during this time, as all decisions will be initially communicated to you through your authorized agent.

If your application is approved, you’ll receive an approval in-principle granting you temporary permission to visit Antigua/Barbuda upon the submission of your required contribution or investment.

Once this is complete, your passport for visa-free travel will be issued and valid for a 5-year period.

After this initial 5-year period concludes, you’ll be eligible for permanent citizenship and an extension of your visa-free travel privileges so long as you continue to meet the requirements laid forth in your CBI approval.

Applying for Citizenship and a Visa-Free Travel Passport with Bluemina

While you can apply on your own, you’re taking a big risk by trying to navigate the complicated legal landscape of the CBI program on your own. If you make even a small mistake or oversight on your application, you will forfeit your entire due diligence fee.

For this reason, the Commonwealth itself recommends that you work with a licensed and authorized agent to ensure your application is pre-screened and properly completed.

Contact an expert CBI agent at Bluemina today for a free consultation to learn more about how to apply and what to expect when investing in Antiguan citizenship.

You’ll be able to determine your dual-citizenship eligibility and, should citizenship in the Commonwealth be the right choice for you, you’ll get on the fast-track to approval within just a few short months.