If you are in the market to buy a passport, 2018 may be the best time to make that economic citizenship investment…
Why? Because several Caribbean citizenship by investment CBI) programs have gone ON SALE, due to the devastating effects of the 2017 hurricane season.
Of them, Antigua’s passport investment program is currently one of the cheapest and fastest citizenship-by-investment programs in the Caribbean.
Below, we’ll go into the benefits of buying a passport from another country, what the requirements are for an Antigua and Barbuda passport.
Plus, you’ll find out which of Antigua’s three options is the best (and least expensive) way to buy a second passport.
In This In-Depth Article…
Are You Considering Buying A Passport?
Antigua & Barbuda is not the only option… to see ALL available programs side by side.
You could potentially save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars by picking the right passport for your personal situation at the lowest price…
Free Download:Citizenship-By-Investment Comparison Sheet
Why Caribbean Passports Are On SALE Right Now
The history of many CBI programs aligns with the history of storms, because rebuilding the island nations after major natural disasters requires lots of money.
That said, 2017 has been especially challenging for many Caribbean nations.
Back in August-September, Hurricanes Irma and Maria swept through Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, Puerto Rico and many other island nations in the region.
No island in the way of these hurricanes – small or big, rich or poor – was spared…
All these nations depend on tourism for tax income. But after the hurricanes devastated the tourism infrastructure, their flow of tourists ceased, and the governments of the islands stopped getting the tax dollars they needed so badly.
However, a few nations in the region, including Antigua & Barbuda, had one source of income they could still rely on – their citizenship by investment program.
And this program offers a passport for a steep discount today: instead of $232,500, (application + fees) you can get the Antigua & Barbuda passport for about $130,000 (for a single applicant).
Why Choose an Antigua and Barbuda Passport?
For one thing, the cost of Antigua and Barbuda (not to be confused with Barbados) citizenship is currently one of the lowest among Caribbean citizenship by investment programs.
A citizenship by investment (CBI) program is also known as an economic citizenship program. It allows you to quickly and legally acquire a second passport by making a donation or investment in that country. In short, you purchase a passport.
Unlike naturalization programs, which require wait times of several years (plus lots of hurdles to clear), investment citizenship programs can provide citizenship in just a few months.
If you are considering buying a passport, Antigua could be a great choice for you…
Why? Not only do you get your second citizenship within 3 or 4 months, but you can include dependent children up to age 26 (!) and dependent parents and/or grandparents over age 65.
This makes it currently the cheapest option for families.
- Citizens are NOT taxed on local or worldwide income. (Residents of the islands also do not pay capital gains tax or estate taxes.)
- You do NOT have to travel to Antigua & Barbuda during the application process. (You do have to spend at least five days there in the 5 years after becoming a citizen. It’s a tough life.)
- And then there are the famous Antiguan beaches. Antiguans say there are 365 beaches in Antigua – one for each day of the year.
The Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program used to be one of the most expensive in the Caribbean, reflecting the high-end nature of the country’s properties. (Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and Eric Clapton all have purchased homes in Antigua, which is the larger of the two islands.)
But now Antigua’s passport investment program is one of the cheapest around if you’re applying with dependents – if you choose the route we recommend below.
That makes immigration to Antigua and Barbuda especially attractive if you have a family and are trying to acquire passports for yourself and your dependents.
An Antigua passport also is a decent travel document, allowing for visa-free (hassle-free) entry into 140 countries, including the UK, Hong Kong and all countries in the Schengen area, which is a part of Europe consisting of 26 member countries that have officially abolished border controls.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship-By-Investment Program Options & Cost
Antigua’s investment passport requirements are straightforward. You can either:
- Donate money to the government, or
- Purchase a property in a government-approved real estate project on one of its islands, or
- Invest in a local business.
That’s it. Within a few months, you should have your second passport.
As one of the newer (started in 2013) programs in the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship by investment scheme offers a direct route to dual citizenship that cherry picks the best aspects of older CBI programs in the Caribbean.
(There are currently five countries in the region that offer citizenship by investment. You can find an overview and comparison of all available programs in our in-depth citizenship-by-investment article.)
How to get an Antigua and Barbuda passport – Select your best route.
Again, there are three routes to gaining Antigua and Barbuda investment citizenship – donate to a government fund, invest in a business, or purchase property.
Here’s a summary of your options for how to purchase a passport in Antigua and Barbuda.
|Option||Amount||Govt. Fees||Processing Fees|
|Donation||$100,000 for a main applicant with up to 3 dependents (family of 4);
$125,000 for a family of 5 or more;
|$25,000 for a main applicant with up to 3 dependents;
$15,000 for each additional dependent above 3
|$7,500 for a main applicant; $7,500 for a spouse; $4,000 for each dependent aged 18 and older; $2,000 for each dependent 12-17 years old|
|Real Estate||$400,000 minimum (plus applicable real estate transaction costs)||$50,000 for a main applicant with up to 3 dependents; $15,000 for each dependent above 3||$7,500 for a main applicant; $7,500 for a spouse; $4,000 for each dependent aged 18 and older; $2,000 for each dependent 12-17 years old|
|Business Project||Investment of at least $1,500,000 in an approved business when applying solo.
A joint investment of at least $5,000,000 with each person contributing at least $400,000 in an approved business.
|$50,000 for a main applicant with up to 3 dependents; $15,000 for each dependent above 3||$7,500 for a main applicant; $7,500 for a spouse; $4,000 for each dependent aged 18 and older; $2,000 for each dependent 12-17 years old|
Keep in mind, however, that additionally you’ll have to pay a commission to an agent that will lodge your citizenship application to the government.
You can choose to work with a world-famous service provider and pay tens of thousands of dollars in fees, or work with a much smaller firm and pay a fraction of that. The end result, however, will generally be the same – second citizenship and a passport.
In any case, budget a $10,000 or more in additional fees for the service provider doing the work.
Option 1: Donate to the National Development Fund
This is the best and cheapest second passport option for families right now in the Caribbean.
Unless you’re planning on living in Antigua full-time – buying property might not make as much sense as donating to the National Development Fund (NDF).
For one thing, this option is a much cheaper economic citizenship route:
Instead of buying a property for $400,000, plus $65,000 in government and processing fees, you only donate $132,500 for the single applicant (all processing and due diligence fees included), or $140,000 (all-in) for a family of four.
Lastly, Antigua’s donation option is the least expensive program in the Caribbean if you apply as a family.
The major drawback with this option is that, unlike with real estate, there’s nothing to sell. This is a donation option, so once the money is gone, it’s gone. But it is still far cheaper than the real estate route, especially if you consider than when going real estate route you still need to pay the government $50,000 in non-refundable fees.
Option 2: Buy a $400,000 government-approved property in Antigua and Barbuda
Ensure you know what you’re getting into before choosing a Caribbean real-estate investment option for a second passport.
Governments sometimes require you to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an overpriced government-approved property that will be difficult to sell at a profit later.
Antigua, however, might be an exception. Luxury villas and other properties tend to be snapped up by the wealthy from North America and Europe. (There are direct daily flights from both continents to Antigua.)
To qualify for Antigua and Barbuda immigration via real estate, the rules currently state that you must invest $400,000 in a government-approved real estate project on the island and hold it for five years.
There are other costs you will need to consider, too – real estate brokers fees, for example, don’t count towards the $400,000. You also have to pony up application fees of $50,000 for the main applicant with up to 3 dependents; plus, another $15,000 for each dependent if there are more than three.
Those are the minuses. The plus is that you can turn around and sell the property at the market price five years after you get your second citizenship. (And hopefully that price is going to be higher than what you paid for it.)
Option 3: Buy a second passport by investing in an approved Antiguan business
This requires the most money — $1.5 million directly into an eligible business as a sole investor; or via a joint investment involving at least two persons totaling $5 million or more, with each investing at least $400,000 individually.
As you might guess, currently, we find this to be the least compelling option of the three. Don’t attempt to go this route unless you really know what you are doing. Meaning: You’ve researched the financial condition of the underlying investment, you’re comfortable with the business owners and the management team, etc.
Quality of an Antigua Passport
There are many ways to determine if the passport is good.
The size of the economy, the number of visa-free countries you can access, the country’s geography and even its climate can all play a role.
Antigua and Barbuda is the only country in the Caribbean that requires its new citizens to spend at least five days on the ground within five years after receiving a citizenship.
But considering the location, it is hardly a deal breaker.
If you decide to immigrate to Antigua and Barbuda we have good news for you:
- It is a beautiful tropical paradise with a new beach to explore every day of the year
- Antigua allows dual citizenship and does not require you to renounce your previous citizenship
- There is no military conscription
- Antigua and Barbuda has no personal taxation. If you become a tax resident there, you will owe no income taxes to the island.
However, the most important criteria is the number of visa-free countries you can visit with an Antiguan passport.
The Antigua passport ranking is solid in this regard. It provides access to 141 countries visa-free, including the UK, Brazil, and Schengen area (common European borderless area), but not to the US or Canada.
To put into perspective, the US and Canada grant their citizens visa-free travel to 170 countries or more. And the world’s worst passports provide visa-free access to 60 countries or less.
Does “More Visa-Free Countries” Equal “Better Passport”?
The answer is “it depends”… It depends on which additional countries you get and how likely you are to visit them.
For example, a passport may offer 10 additional countries, but also cost tens of thousands of dollars more… We encourage you to think it through carefully and consider whether these additional visa-free countries are worth the cost.
To help you do this, we’ve created a detailed that shows you the differences in visa-free travel between all citizenship-by-investment passports.
Use this sheet to ensure you avoid overpaying for a passport that doesn’t provide significantly more value.
Free Download:Citizenship-By-Investment Comparison Sheet
Alternative Citizenship by Investment Programs
We have an in-depth article covering all currently available citizenship by investment programs that will give you a complete overview of all the options available to you.
But for this article, we want to highlight one other options in the Caribbean and compare it to Antigua’s’ program…
Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Program (The Best Value Donation Option for Single Applicants)
Saint Lucia’s program is definitely the best value option for single applicants.
Created in 2016, Saint Lucia’s CBI program offers several options to obtain their passport (which has visa-free access to 130 countries, including the Schengen area and the UK).
First is a donation to their National Economic Fund (NEF). A single applicant will spend $109,500 all-in for this second passport route. And a family of four will spend $207,500, all-in.
(Again, you will need to add the service provider’s commission to these numbers.)
And for the more expensive citizenship by investment options, you can invest either in real estate or government bonds.
Real estate requires a $300,000 minimum investment and is limited to high-end branded hotels and resorts and high-end boutique properties. All-in costs with fees is $452,500 for a family of four.
The government bond option requires investors to keep bonds for at least five years. These bonds don’t pay any interest and are expensive – $550,000 for a family of four (and $617,500 in all-in costs).
You can get more details on Saint Lucia’s official citizenship by investment website.
As you can see, St. Lucia is a fantastic alternative to Antigua if you are a single applicant. You could potentially save $23,000.
The Antigua passport does offer 11 more visa-free countries, but you should consider whether the additional countries matter to you and are worth an additional $23,000.
I encourage you to to find out which additional countries Antigua offers over the other passport options. This will help you decide how much they would be worth to you.
Alternative Ways to Obtain a Second Passport
Economic citizenships are not for everyone.
They may be just too expensive for you. If that’s the case, consider three other ways to obtain a second passport & citizenship:
Ancestry: If you are lucky enough to have parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents from the right country, you may already be eligible for a second passport through citizenship by descent.
This option oftentimes is the cheapest and the quickest way to qualify for a second passport. You can learn more about citizenship by descent in this in-depth article.
Time: If you are willing to pick up and move to a new country, this option may be for you. After you obtain permanent residency in a country, you can .
This option usually takes several years, but its main advantage is that anyone can do this. And in some countries you don’t actually have to spend much time to become eligible for a passport (but it is also not guaranteed that you will get one).
- Flexibility: There are unconventional ways to get a second citizenship and passport, such as giving birth in a foreign country, marrying a foreign citizen or even changing your religion…
If you don’t have ancestors from Europe (citizenship by ancestry), or a few years to spare in a new country (citizenship by naturalization)… and if donating around $150,000 won’t make a severe dent in your budget, then you should consider economic citizenship.
Antigua’s citizenship program is a solid option. You should especially consider it if you are married – Antigua is the cheapest donation option in the Caribbean for families.
Having a second passport as part of your Plan B is critical. A Plan B ensures that if things get bad in your home country, you can still live, work, conduct business and travel, no questions asked, no delays at the airport, no snafus.
Think of a Plan B as a crucial insurance policy… and the passport element one of its cornerstones. Diversifying makes as much sense in life as it does in investing. That’s why it makes a lot of sense to think about your international options and take action… now (before the rules and/or fees change).
And even if nothing happens and you never “need” your Plan B, you’ve got a second passport from a tropical paradise, where every day of the year… you can visit a new beach.