The first time you set foot in Antigua and Barbuda, you may have already envisioned yourself retiring there.
And you are not alone.
Over the last few years, numerous people, ranging from celebrities to politicians, have moved into this small country, enticed by its natural beauty and its promise of a vibrant, healthy lifestyle. It certainly helps that the government does not levy taxes for inheritance, capital gains, or even from income generated outside of the country.
Furthermore, you do not need to travel to the country when applying for citizenship. Once approved, you will acquire lifetime dual citizenship, allowing you to go to over 130 countries visa-free. This is why many consider the Antiguan citizenship program as one of the best in all of the Caribbean countries.
The quickest route to acquiring citizenship
How can you acquire Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment?
There are three options that you can consider: real estate purchase, business investment, and government donation. Among these three, government donation or contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF) is the most economical option.
What is the National Development Fund?
Contribution to the NDF is a type of economic citizenship program that allows individuals to acquire dual citizenship and a second passport.
In an economic citizenship program, you can acquire citizenship upon undergoing the legal process of becoming a permanent resident of another country or naturalization through financial investment.
Antigua’s NDF is one good example of that.
The NDF was enacted through the Citizenship by Investment Act of 2013 with the primary purpose of securing funding for government projects.
Take note that the NDF is a non-profit program. The Antiguan parliament maintains transparency through detailed reporting submitted semi-annually. Furthermore, the fund is subjected to an annual audit.
How much will it cost?
The minimum donation to the NDF is pegged at US $100,000. This one-time payment applies to both individuals and persons with a maximum of three dependents. Dependents may include the spouse, children up to 28 years old, and parents aged 59 years old and above.
Apart from the contribution to the NDF, citizenship applicants will also need to shell out for other fees.
Solo applicants or families with up to four members need to pay a total of US $25,000. For families exceeding four members, an additional fee of US $15,000 will be paid for every additional family member. Ten percent of this government fee is paid upon submission of the application, and the remainder should be paid upon approval. This fee is non-refundable.
In order to ensure that only meritorious applicants are approved, all applicants over the age of 12 shall be subjected to third-party diligence. The primary applicant and his or her spouse will need to pay US $7,500 each. Their children aged between 12 and 17 need to pay US $2,000, while dependents aged 18 and above need to pay US $4,000.
Lastly, applicants need to pay for a passport fee for every family member submitting an application for citizenship in Antigua.
The application process
The application for economic citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda can be broken down into five steps.
- Submit requirements
All applications for economic citizenship can only be processed with the assistance of a government-authorized agent licensed by the Citizenship by Investment Unit or CIU. Your chosen agent will help you prepare all the required documents and submit these.
- Payment of fees
Upon submission of the required documents and forms, you will also need to pay for the fees broken down above.
- Diligence checks
Once your application has been submitted, and after the payment of required fees, the CIU can then proceed with its diligence checks. Depending on the complexities of your application, the process can take anywhere between 90 and 120 days.
After 90 days, your agent will receive a report on the status of your application, whether it has been approved, denied, or is still in process.
- Payment of fees
Upon approval of your application, you will need to pay your contribution to the NDF as well as the remainder of your balance for the government fees. Donations to the NDF are paid through the CIU.
- Oath-taking and passport application
Once you have paid your contribution and other required fees, your agent will give you your Certificate of Registration of Citizenship. You will need this certificate for passport processing.
Upon receipt of the required certificates and documentation, including your passport, you will need to go to Antigua’s high commission, embassy, or consular office to take an oath or to affirm your allegiance.
Enlist the help of professionals
To stay on track with your Antiguan citizenship application, be sure to work only with expert and authorized experts.
Having an experienced government-authorized agent by your side throughout the application process can make things a lot easier for you. Such a professional can provide you with much-needed advice and clear up any confusion that may arise from the outset.
Abire Mansoor is a Director and Licensed Agent at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship, residency and investment into the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. Based in her home country of Antigua & Barbuda, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.