Second citizenship

Why Caribbean Citizenship Is So Popular

The cosmopolitans choose Caribbean countries to obtain a second citizenship by investment to travel freely around the world. A Caribbean passport allows one to visit at least 140 countries. It is also easier to obtain a long-term visitor visa to the United States.

Learn what other opportunities there are for investors, how much it costs to get citizenship and whether it is possible to get the money back.

Comparison and benefits of the Caribbean citizenship by investment programs

Five Caribbean countries offer investors to obtain citizenship under the state investment program: Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis and Grenada. A number of investors who get citizenship in these countries grow each year by 10 to 30%. We’ll tell you why.

How many countries can one visit visa-free with a Caribbean passport?

Holders of a Caribbean passport can travel freely around more than 140 countries, including the Schengen zone, the UK and Singapore. The passport of Grenada allows visa-free entry to China. In some cases, a Caribbean passport helps to enter a country of choice even if its borders are closed.

Grenada citizenship gives additional opportunities for visa-free travel and living in the USA: investors can get the E-2 business visa for themselves and their family. This visa allows to enter the country unlimited amount of times, live and work in the States, send children to study in American schools and universities. Holders of the passport of Grenada are given the E-2 visa to the USA for up to 5 years

Citizenship of the Caribbean countries also allows to get a US visitor visa faster and for 10 years. The visa can be obtained in a US consulate for 2 or 3 weeks. For comparison, foreigners can wait for half a year or longer to get a US visa.

Other benefits of Caribbean citizenship

In addition to the freedom to travel visa-free, the investor gets a lot of new opportunities:

  • move to another country under unforeseen circumstances;
  • obtain citizenship immediately for the whole family;
  • register a company and do business in another country;
  • optimize taxes;
  • quickly open an account with an international bank;
  • give children a prestigious British education. Citizens receive benefits when applying to some UK universities as Caribbean countries are part of the Commonwealth of Nations.

How to obtain Caribbean citizenship

Caribbean citizenship can be obtained in various ways, e.g. by naturalisation or by marriage with a citizen. But the fastest path is by investment.

The minimum investment sum depends on the chosen program and investment option. For example, Dominica and Saint Lucia offer the lowest investment amount for single investors: they can get citizenship for a contribution of $100,000 to a state fund.

Investor’s family members can obtain citizenship under one and the same application: a spouse, children, parents, grandparents and siblings. The cost of their participation in an investment program also depends on the country and investment option.

The investor and his family doesn’t need to hold an exam on language or history, get a residence permit or visit the country to receive passports. The only exception in Antigua and Barbuda: investors are to visit the island state for at least 5 days during the first 5 years. The programs of all the countries imply passing a mandatory Due Diligence check

Step-by-step procedure of obtaining citizenship in the Caribbean

1
1 day
Preliminary Due Diligence
To get ready for a Due Diligence check in the CBI unit, Immigrant Invest conducts a preliminary check of investor’s diligence
2
+ 2 to 4 weeks
Preparation of documents
Immigrant Invest lawyers prepare a set of documents required to apply for citizenship
3
+ 2 to 6 months
Due Diligence
Experts of the CBI unit process investor’s documents, check the background information on the investor and his family in international databases
4
+ 1 to 3 months
Approval and fulfilment of investment condition
The investor fulfills an investment condition: makes a contribution to a fund, buys real estate or government bonds, invests in business
5
+ 2 to 4 weeks
Receipt of a passport
The CBI unit issues a passport and a certificate of naturalisation, then sends the documents to the investor’s address

Participants of the Antigua and Barbuda program pass another step before obtaining citizenship: the investor and all the adult family members take an oath during a video conference, in a consulate or when visiting the country.

How much to invest to get a Caribbean citizenship

Citizenship in the Caribbean can be obtained for at least $100,000 and in 3 to 6 months. This way is fast and inexpensive: for comparison, to become a citizen of Malta, investors spend €690,000+ and hold a residence permit for 1 to 3 years.

Comparison of program conditions in Caribbean countries

Country Expense Investment options Period of citizenship obtainment
Dominica$100,000+A non-refundable contribution to the Dominica Economy Diversification Fund3 to 6 months
$200,000+Purchase of real estate
Antigua and Barbuda$100,000+A non-refundable contribution to the National Transformation Fund3 to 6 months
$150,000+A non-refundable contribution to the University of the West Indies Fund — for families of 6 or more
$200,000+Purchase of real estate
$1,500,000+Business investment
Saint Lucia$100,000+A non-refundable contribution to the National Economic Fund3 to 4 months
$300,000+Purchase of real estate
$250,000+until 31st of December, 2021Purchase of government bonds
$1,000,000+Business investment
Grenada$150,000+A non-refundable contribution to the National Transformation Fund4 to 6 months
$220,000+Purchase of real estate
St Kitts and Nevis$150,000+A non-refundable contribution to the Sustainable Development Fund3 to 6 months
$200,000+Purchase of real estate

Participants of the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship program can invest in business less if there is a collective investment of more than 5 mln dollars. In this case, each investor gives at least $400,000 instead of $1,500,000.

Saint Lucia issued special government Covid-19 Relief Bonds with a 50% discount to support the country’s economy during the pandemic crisis. Until the 31st of December, 2021, investors can buy bonds for $250,000. The standard bond cost is $500,000.

Kiran and Dasya are brothers and professional brokers. They applied to Immigrant Invest to obtain second citizenship to travel visa-free around the world. They were familiar with conditions of purchase and sale of bonds, so they chose to buy Saint Lucian government bonds.

Investors understood that they could have invested a smaller sum to get a Caribbean passport. But their expenses would have been cut in half only in case of a non-refundable contribution which meant a loss of money.

Covid-19 Relief Bonds are interest-free but an investor can return the money in 5 or 7 years depending on the purchase sum. The return is guaranteed: the state is to buy out the bonds after the ownership period expires.

The clients' story

An investor additionally pays state and administrative fees, cost of Due Diligence and services of documents preparation. Expenses differ depending on the program, number of applicants and their age. Let’s see an example of cost calculation for participation in the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship program.

If an applicant chooses a contribution to the state fund, fees will amount to $30,000 for a single investor and a family of up to four people. Each additional family member will cost $15,000.

Due Diligence fee is $7,500 for the spouses, $2,000 for each kid from 12 to 17 years old, $4,000 for each family member older 18. Administrative fees amount up to $600 for each applicant. 

Example of cost calculation for participation in the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship program

ExpensesFamily of four: spouses and kids of 6 and 13 years oldFamily of six: spouses, kids of 7 and 19 years old, investor’s parents
Investment$100,000 $150,000 
State fee$30,000 $60,000 
Due Diligence$17,000 $31,000 
Administrative fees$2,400 $3,600 
Total$149,400 $244,600 

How to invest in Caribbean real estate and get the money back in 5 years

To obtain Caribbean citizenship, one can invest in government-approved real estate. Typically, applicants are asked to buy shares or apartments in hotel complexes.

The exception is the St Kitts and Nevis program: the country’s government allowed investors to buy any housing but only until the 1st of November, 2022. The cost of real estate beyond the list of approved projects must be not less than $400,000.

Examples of Caribbean real estate

Real estate in Antigua and Barbuda for purchase under the citizenship by investment program

A share in a beachfront hotel in Antigua and Barbuda. The share price is $200,000

Real estate in St Kitts and Nevis for purchase under the citizenship by investment program

A villa with a dock in St Kitts and Nevis. The total arearnof the villa is 302 m², the price is $2,500,000

Real estate in Grenada for purchase under the citizenship by investment program

A share in a beachfront hotel in Grenada. The share price is $350,000+

A share in Caribbean real estate may be in a physical object, trust or in bonds. Prices on shares range between $200,000 and $400,000. Apartments cost more, up to several millions of dollars. A square meter of an apartment in a hotel costs $5,000—8,000.

Under the terms of citizenship by investment programs, real estate must be owned for 3 to 7 years. After that, it can be sold with the investment returned. Dominica allows to sell real estate after 3 years of ownership. But such real estate cannot be bought by other investors: an object can re-enter the program only after 5 years. That’s why in practice investors sell real estate in Dominica after 5 years as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Caribbean countries offer citizenship by investment?

Citizenship by investment in the Caribbean can be obtained in Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia. The citizenship will be granted in 2 to 6 months, the period depends on the program of a particular country.

Why to get citizenship by investment in a Caribbean country?

To travel visa-free around the world. With a Caribbean passport, you can travel without visas to the Schengen countries, as well as to the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. Passport of Grenada also allows visiting China without a visa, as well as apply for an E-2 business visa to the United States. To optimize taxation. The Caribbean countries provide beneficial taxation. For example, Grenada has no taxes on inheritance, gift, capital gains and income earned abroad. In addition, if an investor becomes a tax resident of a Caribbean country, it is easier for him to open accounts with European banks and conduct international business. To study in the UK. The Caribbean countries are a part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. This opens up additional opportunities for the investor’s children: they can study at British universities on preferential terms. At the same time, parents will be able to visit them whenever they want and stay in the country for 180 days in a row without additional documents.

What to invest in to get citizenship in the Caribbean?

It is possible to invest in real estate or the country’s state fund. Usually the amount of a contribution is lower than the value of property, but it cannot be refunded. The property can be sold in 5 to 7 years and the investment can be returned. Some states offer additional options. For example, the Saint Lucia program allows for investment in a business or the purchase of government bonds. To get an Antigua and Barbuda passport, one can invest in a business.

How much does it cost to obtain Caribbean citizenship?

Investment program costs vary by country. The minimum investment amount starts from $100,000 in Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia and from $150,000 in Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis. The investor also bears additional costs: state and administrative fees, Due Diligence and paperwork.

Is it possible to profit from investments under a citizenship program?

Investments will be profitable in case of purchasing real estate or developing a business. Investments can only be made in those real estate objects that are approved by the government, usually these are hotel complexes. The investor receives a share of the rental income corresponding to his share in the property. It is convenient: the management company is engaged in the maintenance of the hotel and current affairs, the investor himself does not need to deal with anything. In Saint Kitts and Nevis, an investor can also buy any home worth from $400,000. But you can use this option only until November 1, 2022. To return the investment, an investor has to wait for 3 to 5 years, depending on the country.

Why Caribbean Citizenship Is So Popular

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