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Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program

Introduction

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), much in the same way that the island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis does. 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 grants citizenship and a passport to approved applicants and their families, which will allow them to travel visa-free to approximately 130 countries.

 

History and Statistics

The Citizenship by Investment Program in Antigua and Barbuda was established in 2012 in the hopes that it would stimulate the economy and attract wealthy individuals to the islands. Parliament enacted changes to the program in August 2015, reducing the residency requirement, the NDF minimum contribution amount, and processing fees.[2]

 

Eligibility and Requirements[3]

The Citizenship by Investment Program requires applicants to choose one of three investment options in order to qualify for citizenship:

  • A minimum contribution of $200,000 to the National Development Fund (NDF), or
  • A qualifying real estate purchase of at least $400,000, or
  • An investment of at least $1.5 million directly into a business

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, in good health and have a clean criminal record. Qualifying dependents that can be included in family applications include a spouse, minor children, dependent children between 18 and 26 enrolled in higher education, and parents or grandparents of the applicant and his/or her spouse that are older than 65.

Individuals who acquire citizenship through the program must spend at least five days in Antigua and Barbuda within five calendar years of naturalization.

NDF contribution

This investment method requires a one-time contribution of at least $200,000 to the National Development Fund, which is approved to accept investments to support government-sponsored projects. Applicants can include their dependents on their application, but must pay processing and diligence fees for each individual.

Applicants are required to pay due diligence fees and 10 percent of the processing fee when submitting their application. The remainder of the fee, along with the $200,000 investment is due upon application approval, and prior to receiving citizenship.

Real estate investment

The real estate investment method requires a minimum purchase of $400,000, plus required government and due diligence fees. Real estate investment must be made in government-approved development projects, a list of which can be found on the CIP website.

Investors must maintain ownership of their property for five years after the purchase, unless they sell and reinvest the amount in a different government-approved development.

Applications for citizenship based on real estate investment must be submitted after a binding purchase agreement is signed. As in the case of the NDF investment, applicants must pay diligence fees and 10 percent of the processing fee when submitting their application, and the remainder of the fee along with any balance due towards the property purchase upon receipt of approval. The official CIP website notes that an application based on investment via real estate may require more time to process than an application based on a contribution to the NDF.

Business investment

Investors can qualify for citizenship through investment in a proposed or existing business that is approved by the Citizenship by Investment Unit in consultation with the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA). The minimum required investment amount is

  • $1.5 million for a single investor, or
  • $400,000 if at least two investors make a joint investment in a business totaling $5 million dollars (each investor must personally invest at least $400,000)

Prospective applicants are encouraged to discuss their business plan with the ABIA prior to making any investment. After the business proposal is approved, applicants can submit their application and will be required to pay diligence fees and 10 percent of processing fees. Once approved, investors must pay the balance of processing fees and complete their business investment.

 

Applying

Prospective investors should first seek out an authorized representative of the program who can explain the program and pre-screen applicants for eligibility. That representative can direct qualified investors to an authorized agent of the program in order to complete their investment and application. A list of authorized persons can be found on the CIP website and each authorized person can provide applicants with comprehensive information about the program.

Fees are as follows:

  • Principal applicant and spouse: $50,000 each for government fee and $7,500 each for due diligence fees
  • Minor children: $25,000 each for government fee and $2,000 for diligence fee for each child aged 12-17
  • Adult children 18-25 and dependent parent over 65: $50,000 each for government fee and $4,000 each for diligence fee
  • $500 passport fee for each individual

Once approved applicants have completed their investment, they will receive a certificate of registration of citizenship for themself and their family members, which will serve as accompanying documentation to their passport application. Investor citizens must make an oath of allegiance on their first visit to the country or at an official embassy or consulate abroad.

Applicants are strongly recommended to seek out a qualified professional familiar with the program prior to any contribution, property purchase or investment. Furthermore, various full-service companies exist that can educate investors about the program, direct them to realtors and attorneys and guide them through the application process.

 

 

[1] “Changes to CIP Lead to More Applicants." Citizenship by Investment Program. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://cip.gov.ag/changes-to-cip-lead-to-more-applicants/.

[2] “New CIP Stipulations Set." Citizenship by Investment Program. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://cip.gov.ag/new-cip-stipulations-set/.

[3] Unless otherwise noted, all program facts taken from the CIP website. "Citizenship by Investment Program." Government of Antigua and Barbuda. Accessed February 17, 2016. http://cip.gov.ag.