The law of the Citizenship-by-Investment Program of Antigua and Barbuda was established in 2013. The passport is internationally recognised and includes most Schengen countries as well as Canada.
The program is based on the statute which means the granted citizenship may not be revoked no matter of changes in the governmental executives or policy.
Obtaining a passport through the citizenship by investment programme allows an investor and their family to enjoy a number of benefits conferred by their citizenship. As a member of the Commonwealth the holder of an Antigua and Barbuda passport can enjoy visa-free travel to over 100 countries including the United Kingdom, Canada and all European Union Schengen countries. As well as the ability to travel freely and invest in a growing economy the citizenship will allow, but not require, an investor the ability to reside in Antigua for as long as they would like.
Since 1981, Antigua and Barbuda has been governed as an independent country, with a constitutional monarchy and British style parliament. The Queen of England still remains the formal head of state. Since its independence from Britain 30 years ago Antigua’s economy has focused on tourism as its main form of income, with almost 80% of the workforce directly or indirectly involved with the travel and hospitality industries. Antigua is renowned as one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands, with 365 beaches, crystal blue waters and year-round tropical climate.
Prior to the economic downturn in 2008 Antigua enjoyed significant GDP growth, peaking in 2006 at almost 13%. During 2009 and 2010 Antigua saw negative growth but this has now returned to positive growth in 2011 with projected increases for 2012 and 2013 of 2.5% (IMF 2010). Tourism is the largest industry sector accounting for nearly 60% of GDP and 40% of investment. Antigua is the sixth wealthiest Caribbean country on a per capita basis.
Antigua has direct flights from London, New York, Miami, Atlanta, San Juan, Montreal, Toronto and Frankfurt. Antigua’s VC Bird International Airport sees almost half a million visitors a year, with over 70% arriving from Europe and the United States. Eighty per cent of all visitors to Antigua state ‘leisure’ as their purpose of visiting. A new airport is currently under construction to meet future demands, which will have the capability to handle up to 1.5 million visitors per year. It is expected the airport will be completed in 2014. In addition to air passengers, Antigua has a very active seaport, however most visitors via sea do not stay on the island whereas air passengers typically remain in Antigua for around 10 days.
Antigua has over 3,000 hotel rooms for tourists. In 2011 the average occupancy rates were of luxury and mid range accommodation (60%), with a peak in March at 81%. The mid range of accommodation accounts for the highest proportion of visitors to Antigua, however it should be noted that the luxury accommodations receive highest average occupancy levels annually.
Due to the lack of significant foreign direct investment in Antigua and Barbuda, both islands remain relatively undeveloped compared to other Caribbean islands such as Barbados. The citizenship by investment programme offers significant opportunity for a developer wishing to capitalise on the programme by purchasing undeveloped areas of beachfront land for resort development. Antigua Estates represents a number of unspoiled greenfield sites ranging from three acres to over 1,000 acres in prime locations across both Antigua and Barbuda. The citizenship by investment programme includes real estate purchases, which can be individual residences, fractional ownership of residences or part ownership in hotel resorts, facilitating many routes for developers.
The benefits of dual or multiple citizenship range from ease of movement where there is political and social unrest, where travel within or out of a country might be restricted, where personal and family security might be a concern to investment planning, to where an individual may need to transfer funds in order to reduce taxation and prepare for the future. Citizenship by Investment should be distinguished from residency programmes. Although many countries offer residency visas to investors and wealthy individuals there are few countries with provisions for granting Citizenship by Investment. Citizenship by Investment is the granting of citizenship status to an individual and their immediate family members contingent on a specific investment within the country granting the citizenship.
High net worth citizens of some countries spend considerable amounts of time obtaining visas from other countries in order to travel freely which may be a time consuming and complex operation with no guarantee of success. For individuals involved in business where international travel may be required on short notice, access to another passport may be crucial. Additionally, a second passport may afford the holder visa-free travel to jurisdictions not available to their country of birth.
Several countries around the world levy tax on non-resident citizens. Alternative citizenship has therefore become increasingly important as an effective tool for international tax planning and reducing an individual’s potential taxation profile. Holding citizenship of two or more states, an individual will in general have more planning options as well as more privacy in banking and investment.
Citizenship and a passport from a small, peaceful country such as Antigua and Barbuda with its close ties to the United Kingdom is considered by some as a form of protection when travelling, particularly in times of political unrest, civil war, terrorism or other delicate situations. Many international business executives consider an alternative passport from a neutral country as a very effective way of mitigating risks while travelling. Within one’s own country, where there is political and social unrest, a second passport can allow an individual and family members to quickly travel out of the country if required.
Due to today’s changing political and economic environment, the acquisition of a second citizenship for an individual and their family members could be considered an investment for future generations. For many there is no need to give up one’s own citizenship and passport – leaving them free to enjoy the benefits of a legal second passport.
There are several possible routes including investment in a national development fund, real estate purchase and business investment. The real estate investment allows an investor to gain citizenship as well as own a revenue generating asset with potential for future capital gain.
Please contact us if you are interested in the Citizenship by Investment Programme in Antigua and Barbuda and would like to be kept updated. We will be happy to provide you with information regarding real estate developments included within the scheme.