Becoming a Citizen Expat in Antigua

Why do so many expats choose the Caribbean when moving abroad?

While people move abroad for an infinite combination of reasons, there are a few main categories that make up the bulk of motivations. The first of these is climate. Unless you are being transferred to a new country for a job, chances are you are choosing a destination because you prefer some aesthetic quality about that location. This could be the warm weather, tropical culture, history, etc. The country offers you a setting that is more desirable to you than what you can find at home.

The second main reason people relocate abroad is for financial benefits – the ability to find a similar or improved quality of life at a reduced cost of living. This can be achieved by finding a culture that puts less premium on material possessions (thus, allowing for a happy life with minimal expenses) or by finding a location with a currency exchange rate very favorable to the one you are coming from or continuing to generate income from.

These factors combine to make the Caribbean a very attractive landing spot for those looking to find paradise in another country. One of the lesser-publicized, yet most prized, locations in the Lesser Antilles is Antigua.

Antigua is one half of the nation known as Antigua and Barbuda, a small sovereignty with year-round tropical weather, 365 beaches, and crystal blue water for snorkeling, sailing, or swimming. In addition, the cost of living in Antigua is about a quarter less than it is in the United States.

In order to realize your dreams of sipping cocktails in the sun of Antigua, however, you’ll have to undergo the reality of obtaining legal documentation in the country. While you can get various levels of entry permits, temporary residency, and permanent residency, one of the most attractive things about Antigua is its citizenship by investment program.

Citizenship by Investment Program in Antigua (CIP)

Those who are interested in gaining a second citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda may do so through the investment program. In order to be eligible, you’ll need to make a contribution in one of the three approved investment options:

  1. Paying a minimum of $100,000 USD into the National Development Fund of Antigua and Barbuda. This is a one-time, non-refundable fee in exchange for citizenship.
  2. Making a real estate investment following the Citizenship by Investment Unit guidelines. This constitutes a property valued at a minimum of $400,000 USD, in addition to a $50k processing fee per applicant (plus $15k for each additional dependent beyond a family of four).
  3. Making a business investment according to the Investment Unit’s guidelines. This includes 2) Making an investment of at least $1.5 million into an existing business in Antigua, or 2) Investing at least $5 million into a business split between two investors – with each paying at least $450k. Both options also include a processing fee of $50,000 USD.

In addition to the investment requirements, there is a certain amount of processing and due diligence fees applied to any CIP route. Contact your corresponding embassy to find out which real estate and/or business investment opportunities would count towards approval for citizenship.

Trust the Process

In order to apply for citizenship by investment in Antigua, you will need a completed application form, a medical certificate showing a positive bill of health, a police certificate proving a clean criminal record, a birth and marriage certificate (if applicable), and passports that are valid for at least six months upon registration. All documentation, whether original or copies, must be supplied in English.

The Bottom Line

Obtaining a second passport and citizenship is one of the most important things you can do for you personal freedom. Second citizenship allows you the liberty of having a “backup plan,” in case your home country becomes unfavorable. While many countries offer citizenship by investment programs, Caribbean nations offer some of the most streamlined and affordable versions. For citizens of the U.S. and Canada, this means short flights and island paradise in no time.

If you’re considering moving or investing abroad, look to Antigua to make your international dreams a reality.

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Author Bio:
Tyler Sorce is an American writer and chef currently based in New York City. He has previously worked in Rome, Paris, and Lisbon, documenting local cuisine and culture through words and photos. Follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.