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Which citizenship is best for you: a comparison between Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs

Kristina Kurkuliak
11 February 2021

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Caribbean passports are increasingly popular among high-income individuals seeking an alternative safe place for residence, not only for its natural beauty and pleasant climate.

Caribbean citizenship benefits entail visa-free movement and an advantageous taxation system. The holders of Caribbean passports can travel freely among over 120 countries, including Schengen countries and the UK, and can easily obtain long-term US and Canada visas. Another factor that makes them so popular Caribbean countries don’t impose income and inheritance taxes.

The Caribbean countries are the easiest countries to get citizenship. Not only allowing dual citizenship, these countries also do not disseminate any information of the applicants to third parties. The processing time takes about around three to six months, making them very time efficient. Lastly, there is almost no residence requirement for retaining the citizenship status.

Below, we will walk you through the acquisition process of Caribbean citizenship through either investing in real estate or donating to a government fund. We’ll also make a Caribbean passport comparison, look into these citizenship programs’ nuances and the relevant financial requirements. So let’s take a look at how St Kitts citizenship vs Dominica vs St Lucia vs Grenada vs Antigua & Barbuda will look.

Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP)

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Since 1984, St Kitts and Nevis has been offering one of the most popular investment citizenship programs. Under the program, foreigners can choose to donate or invest in approved real estate to receive the passports. The St. Kitts and Nevis passport allows visa-free entry to 156 destinations worldwide, making it one of the world’s best passports. Its status as a tax haven have led many comparing Nevis versus British Virgin islands for offshore accounts efficacy. The real estate investment route covers pre-approved projects such as hotel shares, villas, or condominium units. The joint investment starts from $200,000, which should be held for at least seven years, and the independent investment starts from $400,000 with a shorter holding period of five years. The donation route entails a non-refundable $150,000 contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund Contribution (SGF). A family of four, which consists of an applicant and three dependents, including a spouse and two children, is required to contribute $195,000. For any additional dependent, $10,000 must be added.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda introduced its CBI program in 2013 and has become hugely popular, especially for big families who take advantage of its University of West Indies (UWI) fund option. The Antigua & Barbuda passport is also a great one, offering visa-free travel to destinations worldwide. The three main routes of obtaining the passport are making a non-refundable donation of at least $100,000 to the National Development Fund (NDF) or $150,000 to the UWI if the family composition is six people or hight, and purchasing a real estate project from a government-approved list. The property investment starts from $200,000 (joint investment) or $400,000 (independent investment) and must be held for at least five years.

Grenada

Grenada launched its CIP program in 1997. Grenada has an added advantage of its citizens being eligible for the US E2 visa, and it also allows visa-free entry to China among its 144 visa free destinations, making it a great business-oriented passport. Similar to other Caribbean programs, the two most popular ways of becoming a citizen of Grenada are a donation of $150,000 to the government-run National Transformation Fund (NTF) as a single applicant or $200,000 to qualify a family of four; or purchase of the real estate at the starting price of $350,000 with a holding period of four years.

Dominica

Dominica has run its CIP program since 1993. Dominica has proven time and again to be extremely cost-effective for single applicants, and its passport that allows visa-free travel to 143 destinations worldwide is a great travel document. A single applicant may become a citizen by making a non-refundable $100,000 donation to the government’s Economic Diversification Fund (EDF); a couple needs to donate $175,000, and a family with up to two children need to donate $200,000 to qualify. The investment in approved real estate projects starts from $200,000, and the holding period is three years.

Saint Lucia

The Saint Lucian authorities finalized the legal basis of the CBI program in 2015. Its passport rewards its holder with visa free access to 146 destinations, but more importantly, it is the only Caribbean country offering citizenship by investment through a government bond option starting at $250,000. There is the option of National Economic Fund donation, which is $100,000 for a single applicant, $165,000 for a couple, and $190,000 for a family of four; and real estate investment option, which starts from $300,000 with a holding period of five years.

Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Comparison

For investors opting for the financial contribution route, the program in Antigua and Barbuda offers the best value for families with children. Domenica is also arguably the cheapest citizenship in the Caribbean. It presents the best option for a single applicant on the donation route by considering the lower total costs and shorter processing time.

Which is the most cost-effective Caribbean CIP program by donation?

  Antigua Dominica Grenada St Kitts & Nevis St Lucia
Single applicant $100,000 $100,000 $150,000 $150,000 $100,000
Couple (applicant+spouse) $100,000 $150,000 $200,000 $175,000 $165,000
Family of three (A couple + 1 child) $100,000 $175,000 $200,000 $185,000 $190,000
Family of four (A couple+2 children) $100,000 $175,000 $200,000 $195,000 $190,000

In the real estate investment route, the below comparison yields similar results as the Dominican program requires the lowest level of investment for a single applicant. At the same time, Antigua & Barbuda is the best option for families of four.

Which Caribbean CIP program offers the optimal real estate options?

  Antigua Dominica Grenada St Kitts & Nevis St Lucia
Joint Investment $200,000 $200,000 $350,000 $200,000 $300,000
Holding period 5 years 3 years 3 years 7 years 5 years
Independent Investment $200,000 $200,000 $350,000 $400,000 $300,000
Holding period 5 years 3 years 3 years 5 years 5 years

However, in reality, making real estate investment decisions is not that simple. For instance, if you compared Caribbean islands,you will find that Grenada is safer than its neighbor’s thanks to its geographical location. There are no Atlantic hurricanes that have caused damage to the Caribbean region. Such geographical feature makes it safer to invest in Grenada’s real estate.

Moreover, when you decide which citizenship is better Antigua Barbuda vs St Kitts Nevis, you may also bear in mind that Antigua and Barbuda is the only Caribbean country that has a residency requirement on the CIP applicants, who must reside in the country for five days within the first five years of acquiring citizenship. In terms of processing time, all five Caribbean CIP programs allow successful applicants to obtain second citizenship within a reasonably short time frame.

Among the five programs, St Kitts & Nevis Program can be the fastest option. It operates an Accelerated Application Process (AAP), which shortens the processing time from 3-4 months to only 60 days. The average processing time in Dominica, Grenada, and St Lucia is approximately three months, while Antigua takes a bit longer, around three to four months.

A Caricom passport leads to greater international mobility. However, there are slight differences among them. The advantage of St Kitts citizenship vs Domenica vs St Lucia vs Grenada is that the holder can, relatively speaking, travel visa-free to most (156) countries and territories. Given its highest ranking on Henley Passport Index, St Kitts is arguably the best Caribbean passport.

Caribbean countries are increasingly popular among those concerned about confidentiality and personal data security, as these countries generally don’t disclose the details of the investor’s business activities to third parties. For example, Nevis is currently one of the most sought-after jurisdictions offering offshore banking, insurance, and company formation possibilities thanks to the strong security and asset protection clauses.

More and more investors favor Nevis versus the British Virgin Islands for offshore accounts because BVI, the former champion jurisdiction, has become overly regulated. The laws of BVI have not kept up with the current demands.

You can always use our passport compare tool to help you better understand the difference in cost between the programs or learn more about how to obtain your second citizenship at one of the beautiful Caribbean islands and choose the best Caribbean citizenship by investment that suits your personal needs by contacting us today for a free individual consultation with our experts.

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