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Caribbean citizenship program investment options explained

PUBLISHED: 24 February 2020

Why people choose to get a second citizenship?

Before we begin exploring today’s topic, let’s establish why people need second citizenship at all. There are many reasons why foreign nationals might want to get a second passport. Here are some of them.

Main benefits of second citizenship

  1. Citizenship of another country is a great way to get rid of visas and travel visa-free or visa-on-arrival to many countries in the world.
  2. Second passport can come along with tax residency to help you reduce your tax burden. In this case, you should be looking for countries with tax laws that would be beneficial both to individuals and businesses.
  3. Second or third nationality can serve as a back-up plan, a safe haven that you can revert to for safety and security. Economically developed countries offer cutting-edge infrastructure, high quality of education and healthcare. doors of many world bank would be open to a holder of such a passport.

Why choose a Caribbean passport

What would be your ideal solution for getting citizenship by investment in a foreign country?

  1. Low entry threshold, i.e. reasonable investment amount required from an investor
  2. Possibility to get your money back is a few years, if necessary
  3. Citizenship for the whole family and not just an investor
  4. Minimum requirements
  5. Remote processing – getting a passport from the comfort of your home

All this and more you can expect from five Caribbean countries that offer their citizenship by investment programs. What you get:

  • Visa-free travel to 120-150 states including the UK, Schengen area, Singapore and Hong Kong.
  • Real estate is cheaper than in Europe.
  • Beneficial taxation for individuals and special regime for international business.

Преимущества карибского паспорта

A choice of Caribbean investment options

Not all Caribbean countries are good for obtaining citizenship by investment. At the moment, there are five jurisdictions that operate such programs offering foreign nationals a passport and all benefits coming with it in exchange for their contribution to the local economy. They are Saint Kitts & Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Dominica and Grenada.

The choice of investment options and jurisdictions is shown in a table below.

CountryMinimum InvestmentInvestment OptionsProcessing Time
Antigua & Barbuda$100,000

$1,500,000 – investment in business

$400,000 – in property for 5 years

$100,000 –  donation to National Development Fund

$150,000 – contribution to the Education fund

3 – 6 Months
St Kitts & Nevis$150,000

$200,000 – in real estate for 7 years

$400,000 – in real estate for 5 years

$150,000 – contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund

45 – 60 Days
St Lucia$100,000

$3,500,000 – investment in enterprise project

$300,000 –  in real estate for 5 years

$100,000 – donation to the National Economic Fund

$500,000 – investment in government bonds

3 – 4 Months
Grenada$150,000

Investment in real estate for 3 years

$350,000 – for single investor

$220,000 –  if 2 or more investors

or

$150,000 – donation to the National Transformation Fund

3 – 4 Months
Dominica$100,000

$200,000 – in real estate for 5 years

$100,000 – donation to the Economic Diversification Fund

4 Months

Let’s have a look at main investment options for obtaining Caribbean citizenship.

Contribution to a national fund

The economies of former British colonies have achieved great results in the last ten years, but they do not stop at that. They have established development and diversification funds to help their countries thrive. Your contribution to such a fund will be non-refundable, i.e. you will not get your money back. But this is the only drawback of this investment, everything else are advantages.

Benefits of non-refundable donations

  1. As a rule it is the cheapest investment in a second passport. Even if you add all extra costs on top, Dominica citizenship through contribution to a national fund will be only $108,500 for a single applicant.
  2. There is no maintenance costs like with real estate or associated risks that come with a business. A fund donation is a one-off payment. You get your second passport and enjoy life without additional headache.
  3. By contributing $150,000 to the University of the West Indies Education Fund on Antigua and Barbuda, one family member receives a one-year free tuition there.

Buy an apartment or a house

Investment in Caribbean real estate is a good way to make money. Economic reforms and foreign investments are playing out well for the islands and attracting more visitors, holidaymakers and businessmen.

Therefore, if you buy an approved property in Dominica or Antigua, in 5 years you might get more than the $400,000 you have bought it for. Not to mention any rental income on top that you can get during these five years of ownership. If you are not selling, this Caribbean property can become your second home, safe and secure, whenever you need it. you can always rent it out to earn a good rental income.

Многообразие вариантов инвестирования в карибское гражданство

What you should know before buying a property

First of all, if you want to take part in a citizenship by investment program, remember that you can only buy properties from the government approved developers.

Secondly, the minimum investment of $200,000 (Dominica, St Kitts & Nevis) will not buy you an entire property. Though real estate prices in the Caribbean are nothing compared to those in Europe for similar seaside properties, they are still higher than the above amount. Therefore, if you have limited resources, consider the second option – buy a share in a hotel or an apartment.

Next, bear in mind that you will be paying the price for ownership – property tax (if applicable), as well as maintenance fees and charges. However, if you are going to rent your flat or house, rental income should cover the above.

Important!

It is possible to bring annual rental income up to 3% of the purchase price. Interested? Talk to our experiences financial experts that know the Caribbean real estate market. We will recommend high-potential projects, developers and respectable and reliable managing companies.

Buy a share in a hotel or resort off-plan

Here are the reasons why this option may be appealing:

  • A share can be purchased for the minimum required amount.
  • You invest in an approved investment property.
  • You can forget about paying taxes and maintenance fees – this will be responsibility of hotel management or a managing company.
  • You get monthly income from renting your share in a hotel. There is no need to communicate with other co-owners and get their approval for anything.
  • A discount will be provided to you if you decide to live in your room or apartment. If it is for a short period of time during a holiday, you can stay there for free.

Same as with an entire place, you will be able to sell your share after a certain time. Recent trend in growing prices shows that you can even gain on resale.

Invest in government bonds

Another reasonably cheap way of getting a Caribbean passport by investment is buying non-interest-bearing bonds in Saint Lucia for $500,000. Duties and charges apply.

Bonds will be issued in your name and you must hold them for at least 5 years. And as you might have guessed already, you will not get any interest from them.

If you want to apply for citizenship by investment for the whole family, the minimum amount for a couple will increase to $535,000, for a couple with two kids – $550,000.

Good thing about this option is that you spend similar amount of money that you would spend on a property, but it is protected by government guarantees. On the other hand, you are freezing half a million dollars for 5 years that would not bring you income.

Conclusion

We have not mentioned another option here, contributions to government funds, because that investment are non-refundable. Neither have we talked about business investments that start at $1.5 million in Antigua and Barbuda, because the same amount could buy you a Maltese passport.

Whichever option you choose, it is always advisable to consult expert immigration lawyers, especially if you want to make an investment and apply for a second passport remotely. Our qualified advisers will answer all your questions, help you choose a country of second citizenship to your requirements and take care of the whole process and paperwork till you get your passport.

FAQ about Caribbean passport by investment

Why invest in Caribbean citizenship?

There are 26 island states and territories in the Caribbean and only a few of them have passport schemes for foreign investors. And out of these few only Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, Saint Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda offer official programs to obtain a second passport by investment.

The above countries are former British colonies and they have not lost connection with the UK. You can come to the UK on a Caribbean passport and stay here for up to 180 days. Younger generation enjoys preferential treatment when enrolling in UK educational institutions even if they got their passport through parents who applied for citizenship by investment and they have never been to the Caribbean.

Almost all the countries we talk about here are politically stable, have low crime rates and are developing their tourism sector. Eventually, it is not just a passport for visa-free travel to Europe, the UK and South-East Asia, it is a Plan B when things go terribly wrong in your home country.


What is the costliest investment option in the Caribbean passport programs?

Imperial & Legal experts believe that the most expensive way of investing in second citizenship in the Caribbean is a non-refundable donation to a government fund. Why? Because you will not be able to return your money in a few years which is exactly what you can do if you invest in real estate.

However, this option still has its benefits:

  • You make a one-off contribution to a government fund, pay all necessary fees and that’s it – problem solved. You get your second passport and never come back to this issue again.
    Purchase of a share in a hotel or another holiday facility, on the other hand, requires your constant involvement even after you become naturalised. Do not forget about maintenance and repair costs. If you decide to let your property, you will need a trusted property management company in the country. Finally, in 3 to 7 years, it will be time to sell.
    For these reasons, wealthy people, who have no time to spare, opt for an easier way out and invest in a Caribbean passport by donating to a fund. Another way to do it is to delegate all tasks to experienced advisers from a company that is acting as an agent under a citizenship by investment program.
  • If you are on a limited budget and cannot afford to lock $200K-$400K for a few years, a one-off contribution to a state fund can be the best solution as the minimum required investment starts at $100,000 for a single investor, excluding extra fees and expenses.

What is the most unusual way of investing in a second citizenship in the Caribbean?

Donating $150,000 to the University of the West Indies Education Fund. This option is available to applicants of Antigua and Barbuda citizenship program along with three other options making it a total of 4 investment options under this scheme.

It is not unusual, someone might say, that the state encourages investment in one of the oldest and most respectable Caribbean universities. However, do not jump to any conclusions before you read this:

  • A donation to the Education Fund is only available to applicants who apply for Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment with a big family of 6 or more people.
  • By way of appreciation, the university will give one family member one year of free tuition on one of the campuses on Antigua.

Do I need to go to the Caribbean to collect my passport?

You can visit your second home to… spend an amazing time in the tropical paradise. Besides, if you invest in a hotel share, you will get discounts on your stays or even a free stay while you are there.

If we talk about visiting the country to apply for second citizenship and make an investment, there is no need and more over, it is not allowed by current citizenship laws. All communications with island authorities must be done through licensed intermediaries.

This has been an intentional choice of Caribbean governments and it was not done to create an additional expense for applicants. It is justified by the governments having control over the whole production chain – from an agent to a developer – this is a way to weed out fraudsters and unreliable legal firms.

Another good thing that comes out of it is fast processing times. If your application is supported by such experts asImperial & Legal, there is a good chance that you will not lose time on additional request for information and documents.

To recap, under 4 out of 5 citizenship by investment programs, you can get a second passport and invest in real estate without travelling to the Caribbean. The only exception is Antigua and Barbuda where you will have to spend at least 5 days in the first five years of obtaining citizenship.

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