The Caribbean has some of the most sought-after citizenships in the world because of the numerous attractive benefits the countries offer. Although the benefits vary based on the specific nation, most programs provide endless possibilities and a world of opportunities, especially for high-net-worth individuals willing to invest in real estate, businesses, and the country itself.
If you’re planning to acquire a passport from one of the countries in the region, it pays to know certain information before you make a decision. This article will help you achieve just that with the top answers to the two most frequently asked questions about Caribbean citizenship.
- How Can I Become a Citizen of the Caribbean?
There are four main ways to become a country’s legal citizen: ancestry, naturalization, marriage, and investment.
The first and most straightforward way to become a citizen of a nation is to prove your ancestral ties to it. This simply means you have to show that you are a descendant of natives or legal residents of the country. Take note that this can vary from one country to another, so you need to check first if it applies to the Caribbean nation you’re considering.
You can also become a legal citizen of a country through naturalization or living in the country for a given number of years. This also involves establishing your economic and cultural ties with the nation. But again, this can differ from one country to the next.
Some people also become legal residents through marriage. Essentially, this means taking up your spouse’s nationality and enjoying the same benefits that they do from their home country.
This practice is followed in a lot of countries, including Canada and the United States. However, this is only applicable for people who enter wedlock legally for the purpose of legalizing their commitment to their partner and not just to get citizenship.
The fourth and probably most ideal route for high-net-worth individuals is citizenship by investment (CBI). This one is the most common and preferred practice in the Caribbean, especially since there are plenty of options and benefits that go with it.
As the name suggests, this citizenship route entails making a significant investment to an entity that benefits that country – either directly or indirectly – to become an honorary member of its citizenry.
For example, Antigua and Barbuda offer three primary routes to gaining a Caribbean passport, namely:
- Real estate investment
This entails at least $400,000 (single applicant) or $200,000 (per applicant for joint applications from related parties) worth of investment in a real estate project or property in the country. The government must approve the real estate projects applicants want to invest in before purchasing for them to qualify for CIP. The applicants should also hold the approved property investments for at least five years.
- National Development Fund Contribution
This involves making a non-refundable contribution to Antigua’s National Development Fund (NDF) worth at least $100,000 for single applicants or families with a maximum of four members. If you have five or more members in your family, you can still obtain Antigua citizenship for five or more family members through NDF donation by adding $25,000 to your investment.
- Business Investment
Besides Caribbean investment properties, Antigua also offers citizenship to people who wish to invest in government-sanctioned businesses in the country – whether existing or proposed.
Investment for an individual applicant must be at least $1,500,000, or $400,000 for two or more people engaged in a joint investment with a minimum total of $5 million.
Besides these three, you can also obtain Antiguan citizenship through the UWI Fund if you’re applying for a family of six or more members.
Applicants who choose this citizenship by investment route are expected to contribute $150,000 to the UWI Fund. Aside from being issued passports, this program also entitles one member of the family to a year’s worth of tuition-only scholarship at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
- What Countries Give Citizenship by Investment in the Caribbean?
Many countries offer citizenship by investment in the Caribbean, but there are four that are considered the best in the region, namely:
Antigua and Barbuda
First introduced in 2013, the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program became widely popular across the region. The country appeals not only to wealthy individuals but also big families that wish to take advantage of the UWI Fund investment route.
Besides this, a passport from Antigua and Barbuda serves as a visa-free pass to over 160 nations across the globe. This includes the Schengen Zone, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Switzerland.
Dominica is known for its CBI program since it was launched in 1993. It is considered a cost-effective choice for single applicants, especially those who travel a lot since a Dominican passport grants access to 143 destinations around the world.
Dominica also offers a few investment options that may suit your needs. For example, you can contribute to the country’s Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) the following amounts, depending on the number of your family members:
- $100,000 for single applicants
- $175,000 for couples
- $200,000 for families with two children (or a maximum of four members)
Like Antigua and Barbuda, you also have the choice to invest in approved real estate with a minimum of $200,000 and which must be held for at least three years.
Launched in 1997, the Grenada CBI program offers citizens similar travel benefits as Antigua and Dominica, with the added advantage of US E2-visa eligibility. It also allows visa-free travel to China, along with 143 other destinations. This makes the Grenada passport an ideal choice for business-oriented individuals.
Like other Caribbean countries, it also offers citizenship by investment through donations and real estate purchases.
For the former, you only need to contribute a minimum of $150,000 (for single applicants) or $200,000 (for a family of up to four members) to the National Transformation Fund. For the real estate route, the minimum investment is at $350,000 for a property that should be held by the applicant for four years.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Considered the oldest of all Caribbean citizenship by investment programs, St. Kitts and Nevis has been offering CIP to foreign nationals since 1984. It offers two citizenship routes: real estate investment and government donation.
The minimum investment is set at $400,000 for those who opt for their real estate program and $150,000 for those making a non-refundable contribution to the country’s Sustainable Growth Fund.
What separates this program from others is its application process timeframe. It takes less than six months to get your St. Kitts and Nevis passport, thanks to the country’s accelerated processing period.
A Final Word
Deciding on getting a second citizenship can be difficult without sufficient and accurate information about your options.
By knowing the right answers to what most people are asking about Caribbean citizenship, you can now make an informed decision and begin your application.