Why George and Cristin decided to move to the Caribbean
George and Cristin lived in Detroit, a big industrial town in the north of the USA. Upon retirement, they thought about moving to a warmer and quieter place.
The spouses opted for the Caribbean for a number of reasons. First, they were familiar with the region after they had spent several vacations there. The climate seemed delightful to the couple. Second, Caribbean countries are close to the US and well-connected with flights: visiting home, children and friends will not be a problem after relocation.
Last but not least, the Caribbean tax policy is quite attractive. In many countries of the region, there are no taxes on personal income, wealth, capital gains, gifts, and inheritance, as well as on dividends, interest and royalties. And even if taxes apply, they are much more lenient than in the US.
The spouses thought that after relocating to the Caribbean and changing their tax residency, they would get the chance to reduce the burden.
Having decided on the plan, George and Cristin turned to a Caribbean programs expert at Immigrant Invest for consultation.
Why the couple chose the Antigua and Barbuda investment program
Five Caribbean states have citizenship by investment programs allowing high-net-worth individuals to get second passports and the right to live in the country. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis are on the list. George and Cristin needed to choose one of them.
Before proceeding, our Compliance AML Officer ran a preliminary Due Diligence check on the spouses. This check is obligatory for every investor to ensure they are eligible for participation in citizenship programs.
George was a top manager at a car manufacturer, and Cristin held a senior position at a private hospital: their sources of income were completely legal, and they had no criminal records or tax arrears. The spouses could take part in any investment program.
Legal and Compliance Officer
Caribbean CBI programs offer several investment options to choose from: a non-refundable contribution to a state fund, real estate purchase, government bonds purchase, and the support of business projects. As George and Cristin planned to move, they needed housing, so they settled on the property option.
George and Cristin studied the tax systems of countries with investment programs. First of all, they were interested in personal income tax. As US citizens, they had to pay tax on all their income in the States regardless of their place of living, and they did not want to pay the taxes twice — in both countries of citizenship.
Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis seemed the most attractive as they had no income tax at all. So, the spouses narrowed their choices down to these two countries’ programs.
Under the Antigua and Barbuda CBI Program, as well as under St Kitts and Nevis’s, the minimum investment in real estate is $200,000. The couple asked our real estate expert to make a selection of properties in both countries. They wanted to buy a secluded villa as they got tired of living in a block of flats.
The spouses liked a villa in Antigua more, so they decided to participate in this country’s citizenship program. Also, the Antigua and Barbuda program’s terms allow investors to exit the investment earlier: in 5 years compared to 7 years under the St Kitts and Nevis program.
How George and Cristin obtained Antigua and Barbuda citizenship
The spouses chose a villa for $400,000 and made a downpayment of 10% of its value. Then, Immigrant Invest lawyers provided them with a list of documents required to participate in the CBI program, and the couple collected the records. The lawyers also filled out government forms.
When everything was ready to apply, the lawyer submitted an application through a government web service. George paid $15,000 as a Due Diligence fee and $30,000 as a processing fee, and the Antigua and Barbuda CBI Unit began conducting the check and considering the application.
In 3 months, George and Cristin’s application was approved. After that, they fulfilled the investment condition: signed the sale and purchase contract for the villa and paid the rest of its price — $360,000. Also, they paid $10,000 as a stamp duty of 2.5% of the property value.
George and Cristin received their Antigua and Barbuda passports half a year after turning to Immigrant Invest. After that, the spouses came to the islands to take the oath of allegiance. The fee for issuing passports was $600.
6 months and $455,600 were spent by George and Cristin to get Antigua and Barbuda passports
Prospects that opened for George and Cristin after relocation to Antigua
After the move, the spouses enjoy a more relaxed pace of life and the Antiguan climate. When they spend more than 183 days in Antigua and Barbuda, they become tax residents of the country.
Antigua and Barbuda tax residents do not pay taxes on personal income, dividends, interest and royalties. Taxes also do not apply to gifts, inheritance, wealth, and capital gains.
The only tax George and Cristin are to pay annually is the property ownership tax at 0.1—0.5% of the real estate value. If they decide to sell the villa, which is allowed 5 years after obtaining citizenship, the spouses will pay a stamp duty of 7.5%.
|❌ The right to live only in the US||✅ The opportunity to choose where to live — in the States or Antigua and Barbuda|
|❌ Living in a busy northern industrial town||✅ Living in a secluded oceanfront villa in a tropical paradise|
|❌ No way to optimise taxation||✅ The opportunity to become tax residents of Antigua and Barbuda|
Though, it’s not that simple for the investors to cut their taxes because US citizens are obliged to pay income and other taxes in the States even if they have left the country. But if George and Cristin renounce their first citizenship, they will be able to lessen their tax burden. The spouses are considering this option and consulting with tax advisors but have not made up their minds yet.
In case the investors give up their US citizenship, they will have to apply for a visa to visit the States. Antigua and Barbuda citizens get US visitor visas for 10 years.