A handful of Caribbean countries have launched investment immigration programs in order to attract foreign investors and stimulate their island economies. The oldest such program is operated by St. Kitts and Nevis and was established in 1984, demonstrating the region’s long commitment to encouraging foreign investment. The newest program was established in Grenada in 2013 and follows the same structure as its predecessors.
All of the Caribbean investment immigration programs offer citizenship directly, rather than temporary or permanent residence. Some of these countries are valued for their favorable tax rates, and all are valued for the travel access granted by their passports. The region’s proximity to the United States and Canada is a draw too, and Grenada is even part of the E-2 treaty with the United States.
Caribbean investment immigration programs are largely based on real estate—most often requiring applicants to invest in approved government projects. Each of these countries also offers a fund contribution option, which allows investors to, instead, make a one-time non-refundable contribution to a national fund used towards projects of national interest. The contribution amount is less than the amount required of a real estate investment, and allows the governments to raise funds for development projects.
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda offers citizenship to foreign investors willing to make a significant investment in the country’s economy through their Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP). In order to qualify for the CIP in Antigua and Barbuda, applicants are required to make a real estate investment of at least $400,000, a minimum contribution of $200,000 (single applicant) to the country’s National Development Fund, or an investment of at least $1.5 million in an eligible business. Real estate investments must be made in government-approved projects and maintained for five years. The program was established in 2012 and grants citizenship and a passport to approved applicants and their families, which will allow them to travel visa-free to approximately 130 countries.
Dominica has been operating its citizenship by investment (CBI) program since 1993. Citizenship through this program, too, is granted on the basis of an investment in real estate or a contribution to the Government Fund. The program requires a real estate investment of at least $200,000 or a minimum contribution of $100,000 to the fund, plus fees for included dependents. The country has no capital gains, estate or death taxes and allows free movement of profits and dividends. Citizenship acquired through this program is extended to investors’ eligible family members and the Dominican passport offers visa-free access to over 90 countries.
The newest investment immigration program in the Caribbean, Grenada’s CIP grants citizenship and a passport to investors and their family members on the basis of an investment in an approved real estate project or a contribution to the National Transformation Fund (NTF). The real estate investment must total at least $350,000 and the NTF minimum contribution is $200,000, plus fees. Grenada is party to the Schengen agreement, granting visa-free travel in all 26 Schengen countries and some 110 more. Additionally, Grenada is an E2 treaty country, meaning that its citizens are able to apply to come to the United States as E-2 treaty investors.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Established in 1984, St. Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship-by-investment program is the oldest such program in the Caribbean and among the oldest in the world. Applicants are granted citizenship on the basis of an economic contribution to the island nation in the form of a real estate investment of at least $400,000 or a minimum contribution of $250,000 (single applicant) to the country’s Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation. Real estate investments must be made in government-approved projects and maintained for five years. In exchange for their investment, approved applicants and their qualifying family members will receive citizenship and a passport that will allow them to travel visa-free to more than 120 countries. There are no income, capital gains, inheritance or gift taxes imposed on citizens by the country, making this program particularly attractive for those looking to minimize their tax burden.
Each of these countries has established institutions to promote and run their respective citizenship by investment programs. Prospective investors can visit our pages on each of these countries to learn more about investment opportunities, application requirements and how to get started.