Citizenship-by-Investment in Antigua and Barbuda

Citizenship-by-Investment in Antigua and Barbuda

The citizenship-by-investment program requires a person to make a significant economic contribution to the country. In exchange, and subject to a stringent application procedure, including thorough background checks, the applicants and their families are granted citizenship.

To qualify for citizenship, the person must be over 18 years of age, meet the application requirements and select one of the following three options available:

Under each of these options, there are government processing fees of USD 50,000 for the main applicant plus additional government processing fees of USD 50,000 for the spouse, any dependent child of 18 to 25 years of age and any dependant parent over the age of 65 years, as well as USD 25,000 for each dependent child under 18 years of age. However, the Government has announced a "Limited Time Offer" under the NDF option only, whereby for a family of four, the government processing fees will be USD 50,000 for the main

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.applicant, USD 50,000 for the spouse, and the remaining two family members will not need to pay any government processing fees.

There are also due diligence fees of USD 7,500 for the main applicant and USD 7,500 for the spouse, USD 2,000 for any dependent child of 12 to 17 years and USD 4,000 for any dependent child of 18 to 25 years of age as well as any dependent parent over the age of 65 years.

Government processing fees and due diligence fees apply to all three options.

The NDF is a non-profit foundation established for the purpose of, inter alia, supporting enterprises develop significant innovations through the provision of long-term committed share capital, public/private partnerships, specific governmental projects and, from time to time, charitable investments in non-profit organisations which deliver services in healthcare, education, environmental management, youth development or the promotion of sport and culture.

The NDF is governed by the provisions of the Finance and Administration Act, which stipulates that there be established a special fund to be administered by a public officer. These funds will not be combined with the Government’s consolidated funds and will only be utilised for the specific aforesaid purposes. The citizenship-by-investment program will be subject to six-monthly reporting which will be published and presented to the House of Representatives no later than 30 days following completion of the report.

The program allows for a dependant between the ages of 18 to 25 years to be included in the application of the main applicant if the dependant is a full-time student at a recognised higher learning institution and is financially dependent on the main applicant. The program also allows for parents and grandparents over the age of 65 of the main applicant or his or her spouse to be included in the application as dependants, if the parent/s and grandparent/s are living with and are fully supported by the main applicant.

The main applicant and his or her dependants will become ineligible if they have not received a free pardon or have at any time previously been convicted in any country of an offence for which the maximum custodial penalty is in excess of six months imprisonment. The Regulations further provide that a person who has been denied a visa to a country with which Antigua and Barbuda has a visa-free travel arrangement and has subsequently not obtained a visa to the country that issued the denial shall not be entitled to apply under the program. A person who is deemed a potential national security risk, a reputational risk or is subject to a criminal investigation will also be denied citizenship.

Advantages of Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship

In 2009, the Antigua and Barbuda government signed a visa waiver agreement with the EU which allows an Antigua and Barbuda citizen to visit the Schengen countries without a visa for a period of three months within any six month period following the date of first entry into any EU country.

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The Antigua and Barbuda passport is a very good travel document for many international individuals. With an Antigua and Barbuda passport, a citizen can travel to approximately 130 countries in the world, including Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and Europe with relative ease and without challenging visa requirements.

Full citizenship with passport is granted to the applicant and family, and there are no restrictions whatsoever, not even on voting, subject to meeting the standard voter registration criteria. Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Commonwealth, which entitles Antigua and Barbuda citizens to certain privileges in the UK and other Commonwealth countries.

Procedures and Timeframes

The government authority responsible for administering the program, the Citizenship-by-Investment Unit (CIU), is responsible for the processing of all applications. The CIU examines the application thoroughly and, if deemed necessary, may request the applicant to attend an interview.

The CIU undertakes strict due diligence checks and will decline an application if the applicant makes a false statement or omits any relevant information in the application.

The applicant must apply on the prescribed government forms which can only be submitted through an Agent who is the holder of a Citizenship-by-Investment program licence granted under the Regulations.

The applicant is required to personally complete the form in English and submit the prescribed forms together with original or certified supporting documentation as specified by the government.

The documentary requirements of the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship-by-Investment program are reasonable and the procedures are quite straightforward. It is recommended that investors visit the Islands before making a decision on the purchase of real estate. Once the application is approved, passports can be collected in Antigua and Barbuda or the applicant may attend an Embassy or the office of any High Commission or Consulate of Antigua and Barbuda or such other office as may be specified from time to time, by the Minister to both collect their passport and to take the oath or affirmation of allegiance.

It is estimated that the process will take between three and four months from submission of the application to issuance of the passport, assuming there are no areas of concern with the application. The Regulations specify that, within three months of the submission of an application to the CIU, the CIU shall notify in writing to the licensed agent on behalf of the main applicant that the application has been approved, denied or delayed for cause and is still being processed.

Under the real estate option, the timeframe may vary depending upon the project. Therefore, it is important to select a real estate project that is able to provide the necessary paperwork required from the developer for the citizenship application.

If the real estate option is selected, it is important for an applicant to be aware of the investment potential, financial strength, track record and reputation of the developer before committing to the property. Once the applicant has chosen their preferred real estate, a sales and purchase contract is signed, which is usually conditional upon the person receiving citizenship. After approval by the government, the real estate purchase is completed and the ownership title transferred to the buyer. Applicants under the real estate option should also ascertain from the developer whether there are additional purchase and/or closing costs and the amount of those costs, prior to entering into any purchase contact.

Within 30 days of notification of approval, the applicant shall pay the balance of the processing fees and:

1.   deposit the required contribution into the National Development Fund; or
2.   complete and execute all necessary documents and pay the purchase price and all required disbursements to enable title to be registered in the applicant’s name and allow for the implementation of the proposed real estate investment in accordance with the guidelines established by the CIU; or
3.   complete and execute all necessary documentation for the payment or investment of all sums due for the implementation of the proposed investment in business in accordance with the guidelines established by the CIU

Your Grant of Citizenship

The citizen must visit an Embassy, Consular Office or High Commission of Antigua and Barbuda to enable physical collection of the passport and swear an oath or affirmation of allegiance. The passport will be valid for a period of five years and is renewable, provided that the requirements for renewal are met, including the residency requirements: the Government may by Order deprive of his citizenship a citizen who has obtained citizenship under the citizenship-by-investment program if the citizen does not spend at least 5 days in Antigua and Barbuda during the period of five years after becoming a citizen.

A six-monthly report including applications made, granted and refused along with statistical data will be provided to parliament the parliament in accordance with the Citizenship-by-Investment Act.

An Antigua and Barbuda citizen is entitled to take up residence in Antigua and Barbuda at any time.

There are no restrictions on dual citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda.

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