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Citizenship by Investment programs gaining recognition globally

Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs have gained international recognition for being widely sought-after among high-net-worth individuals and ultra-high-net-worth individuals as a means to global mobility and risk mitigation. Over the years, it has become a necessity rather than a luxury and several countries around the world offer their citizenship in exchange for a substantial amount of investment in the development of their countries, real estate, or Government bonds.

The Caribbean nations have long been admired for their pristine beaches, vibrant cultures, and warm climates. Beyond its stunning landscape, they have gained prominence as a strong contender in the citizenship by investment arena.

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The most notable Caribbean destinations offering these programs are St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, St Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda. Since their introduction, these initiatives have significantly reinforced the country’s economic position while benefiting the investors’ personal and professional lives and most times, their families.

An investor who is interested in obtaining a second citizenship from these Caribbean countries cannot submit an application directly to the governments of these nations and can only be done through a government-authorized firm such as Citizenship Invest.

Popularity of Caribbean CBI Programs

Caribbean citizenship offers numerous benefits that stand as a testament to their international popularity. Perhaps the most notable among them are below.

  • Traditionally, Caribbean countries provide a more direct route for investors to acquire citizenship swiftly, bypassing prolonged residency and testing requirements and allowing investors to obtain it in just 6 to 8 months, as opposed to their EU counterparts, which may take several years.
  • The passports of Caribbean countries come with visa-free access to over 120 countries including top destinations such as Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria,  Portugal, Finland and Sweden, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and some to the UK and China.
  • Simplest processing, these nations grant citizenship without physical residency or visit to the country.
  • While Caribbean nations have varying taxation regulations, citizens typically face no taxes on foreign capital, worldwide income, and dividends.
  • Acquiring a Caribbean passport streamlines opening international bank accounts, minimizing bureaucratic obstacles. These encompass the privilege to reside and work in any of the 15 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states.
  • The application procedure maintains strict confidentiality, ensuring that no information is disclosed unless necessary for due diligence checks conducted as part of the application process. These checks are carried out by an authorised due diligence agency and, in recent years, the heightened due diligence protocols play a crucial role in enhancing the robustness and integrity of these programs.

St Kitts and Nevis: Pioneers in Citizenship by Investment

St Kitts and Nevis is considered to be the pioneer of citizenship by investment programs in the Caribbean. The nation was under the French and British numerous times during the 17th and 18th centuries before becoming a British colony in 1783. In 1983, St Kitts and Nevis finally gained complete independence from the United Kingdom and emerged as a sovereign nation with a parliamentary democracy. By 1984, the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program was established, making it the oldest in the region to date and serving as the benchmark for all other CBI programs in the investment migration sector.

The average processing time to obtain St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship is 6 to 8 months, and passport holders can access 156 countries without visas making it the 26th most powerful passport in the world.

The minimum cost to obtain Saint Kitts & Nevis citizenship is USD 250,000. There are also a number of investment options available, through the Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC), Real Estate Investment or Public Benefit Option. This can be extended to spouses, dependent children and parents.

Throughout its existence, the CBI Program has been instrumental in driving the economic growth of St Kitts and Nevis, strengthening infrastructure, and enhancing the country’s global standing.

Grenada: A Gateway to the World

Grenada, known as the “Spice Isle,” has gained attention for its CBI Program since its launch in August 2013. Grenada’s program stands out for providing access to the United States through the E-2 visa treaty.

The average processing time to obtain Grenada citizenship is five months, with passport-holders granted instant visa-free travel to 145 countries, including the Schengen countries, China, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The cost for Grenada citizenship starts from USD 150,000. This can be obtained via contribution to Grenada’s government or investment in Grenada’s Government-Approved Real Estate Projects. The Family Dependents can include spouses, children, elderly parents and siblings 18 years and above.

People who acquire citizenship through Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program enjoy the identical rights as any other Grenadian citizen.

Dominica: The Nature Isle’s Citizenship Haven

Dominica, often called the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean”, has offered Citizenship by Investment since 1993. Renowned for its lush landscapes and commitment to sustainable development, Dominica attracts investors seeking a harmonious blend of natural beauty and economic opportunities.

The average processing time to obtain Dominican citizenship is four months, and passport holders have instant visa-free access to 144 countries, including the Schengen States, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. This can be achieved through a donation to Dominica’s Government Fund or Real Estate Investment with the investment cost starting from Family dependents can include a spouse, children, as well as parents and grandparents. The minimum cost to receive the Dominican citizenship is from USD 100,000 for a single applicant or USD 175,000 for a family of 4.

St Lucia: A Serene Haven for Investors

Known for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage, St Lucia introduced its Citizenship by Investment Program in 2015 to bolster economic growth while allowing investors to be part of its thriving nation.

The average processing time to obtain Saint Lucia citizenship is 4 months, and it will grant passport holders instant visa-free travel to 146 countries, including the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The minimum cost to obtain Saint Lucian passport is USD 100,000, one of the most cost-effective options for single applicants. This can be done through a contribution to Saint Lucia’s Government Fund, Real Estate Investment, Government Bonds, or Infrastructure Option. Family Dependents can include spouses, children, elderly parents and siblings.

Antigua and Barbuda: A Dual-Island Paradise Beckoning Investors

Antigua and Barbuda, a dual-island nation with a rich maritime history, have been attracting investors through its CBI Program since 2013. The program aims to stimulate economic growth and provide investors with a gateway to the Caribbean’s treasures.

The average processing time to obtain Antigua and Barbuda citizenship is six months, granting passport holders instant visa-free travel to 152 countries, including the Schengen countries, United Kingdom, Singapore, China and Hong Kong. The investment types available include an economic contribution to Antigua’s National Development Fund (NDF), Real Estate investment, or investment in the University of the West Indies (UWI). Antigua and Barbuda offers families a more-cost effective citizenship where the Economic contribution amounts from USD 130,000 for a family of 4, while the Real Estate Investment could cost up to USD 200,000, in addition to government fees. Family Dependents can include spouses, children, parents, grandparents and siblings without age restrictions.

Without a doubt, the Caribbean nations’ CBI programs present a unique blend of economic advantages and the chance to enjoy the region’s natural beauty.

As global citizens increasingly seek opportunities beyond their borders, these Caribbean programs provide a pathway to second citizenship, unlocking a world of possibilities for investors and their families. Whether it’s the historical appeal of St Kitts and Nevis, the spice-infused charm of Grenada, Dominica’s commitment to sustainability, the serene haven of St Lucia, or the dual-island paradise of Antigua and Barbuda, each Caribbean nation invites investors to embark on a journey of prosperity and exploration.

KBC Correspondent
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