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Caribbean countries rated top among citizenship by investment programmes

Professional Wealth Management magazine has published the results of an annual study that compares various citizenship by investment programmes.

Countries offering citizenship by investment

Fourteen countries were presented in the study and half of them are Caribbean countries. To be precise, they are the ones that top the list. The leaders are Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis – both got the same number of points.

You can see the list below:

  1. Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis – 80 points.
  2. Grenada – 78 points.
  3. Saint Lucia – 74 points.
  4. Antigua and Barbuda – 69 points.
  5. Vanuatu – 66 points.
  6. Malta – 58 points.
  7. Montenegro, Turkey – 55 points each.
  8. Egypt – 49 points.
  9. Bulgaria – 48 points.
  10.  Austria – 47 points.
  11.  Jordan – 46 points.
  12.  Cambodia – 46 points.

European and Middle Eastern countries are expectedly closer to the end of the list as it is usually more complicated and expensive to get a passport there.

What criteria were estimated

Nine parameters were considered to rate programmes, each one was estimated on a 10-point marking scale:

  • a minimum investment amount;
  • ease of application process;
  • a possibility to include your family and close relatives in the application;
  • rigorousness of due diligence checks;
  • timeline of getting citizenship;
  • number of countries the host country has agreements with for visa-free or simplified travel;
  • quality of life;
  • residence requirements;
  • confidentiality.

Why do Caribbean countries lead as top investment destinations?

Caribbean countries began to offer citizenship by investment programmes long ago with St. Kitts and Nevis being the pioneer in 1984. It is still running and has been perfected during such a long period of time.

It is also worth remembering that Caribbean nations are in need of investment more than other countries. This money constitutes a major part to the national budget which is otherwise based on tourism and agriculture. That is why authorities of these countries do their best to create especially attractive conditions for investors; we will discuss them in more detail:

  1. Minimum investment: it is $100,000 in Caribbean countries. For example, you will pay this for Dominica citizenship.
  2. Application processing time: from a few months up to six months. To compare: it will take a year to get a Maltese passport, about two years to get Austrian citizenship and 18-24 months be become a Bulgarian national.
  3. Residence requirement: in most Caribbean countries, applicants are not required to live in the country, or even visit it. Immigration advisors will take care of all the paperwork and you will simply get your passport by post. European and Middle Eastern countries, however, require applicants to visit at least once. Sometimes tax residence is needed as well.
  4. Possibility to include your family and close relatives in the application: possible in any programme based on how close relatives are defined. Caribbean countries offer very good terms and allow applicants to include not only their spouse and minor children but also parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.
  5. Rigorousness of due diligence checks: all countries try to make the checks as rigorous as possible because nobody wants to earn a reputation of a money-laundering haven. Caribbean countries are no exception but if an applicant has a legal business, such checks will not be an issue.
  6. Safety of your investments: there are usually two types of contributions to Caribbean economies, refundable and non-refundable. The latter one is made to a government fund that spends money to healthcare, education, infrastructure and other vital sectors.Authorities regularly report where the money is spent. If you want to get the invested money back, you can invest in real estate in the tourism sector by choosing it from the list approved by the government. This way, authorities guarantee safety of the investment.
  7. Number of visa-free countries: it is obvious that a Caribbean passport is usually obtained for visa-free travel. And Caribbean countries continuously work on extending the list of visa-free countries. Remember, however, that it only applies to travelling as a tourist, so you will be able to go to Europe or other popular destinations and stay there for several months only. In contrast, a passport of a Schengen country such as Malta gives more opportunities.
  8. Quality of life: on the one hand, Caribbean countries can hardly compete with European ones in this regard. On the other hand, most of them have a lot of resorts which make it rather pleasant to stay there. Besides, as it has been mentioned above, you will not have to stay there for a long time – you do not have to come at all, it all depends on you and your plans.

Imperial & Legal provides assistance to applicants both for European and Caribbean citizenship by investment. If you wish to obtain a second passport and consider the most efficient ways of investment, we advise you to book a consultation with our specialists. They will help you find the best option based on your needs and budget.


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