Antigua, the beautiful sister island to Barbuda in the tranquil waters of the Caribbean Lesser Antilles, is one of the most desireable expat locations for residency and second citizenship.
The reason so many expats are choosing Antigua for their second passport comes down to three main criteria: the country is beautiful, the cost of living is low, and the citizenship and residency programs are some of the more favorable in the world.
It’s possible to freely travel to Antigua as a tourist if your country is on this list for approved visa-free travel. Visitors entering this way are said to use the “entry visa,” or tourist visa, which is valid for a stay no longer than six months for reasons dealing with holiday or business. You must have proof of a return ticket out of the country within that time period, proof of accommodations during your stay, a valid passport, and proof of your ability to financially maintain yourself during your visit.
Multiple Entry Visa
If temporary employment obligations are bringing you to Antigua, or any other reasons that might require you to come in and out of the country multiple times a year, you may apply for a multiple entry visa rather than the tourist visa. This visa comes with the same requirements but is valid for 12 months. It can only be granted at the discretion of the issuing officer with whom you’re working, so you’ll need to have a valid and approved reason for applying for this particular documentation.
Two of the most common financial reasons people choose to relocate to Antigua include tax planning and asset protection. In response, the government of Antigua and Barbuda launched a permanent residency program in June of 1995 in order to encourage high net worth individuals to relocate to the island. Perks of this residency program include freedom from local taxes, including income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, and wealth tax.
To qualify for residency in this manner, you must purchase or lease property in Antigua (which will require a license), pay an annual levy of at least $20,000 USD per year, and reside in the country for at least 30 days per year. You’ll need a certificate proving adequate income, a bank reference, and two personal references. The government will have the final say in determining whether you’re approved, and the residency permit, once granted, is valid for one year and is renewable annually upon payment of the levy.
Citizenship by Investment
Perhaps the most enticing piece of legal legislature in Antigua involves the country’s citizenship by investment program. Through this program, foreign nationals are able to make financial contributions to the Antiguan economy in exchange for a second passport and citizenship.
While a few European and Asian nations offer similar Golden Visa programs, the Caribbean offers more favorable tax laws, a lower cost of living, and more consistently beautiful weather for those debating where to relocate. Antigua’s citizenship by investment program, additionally, is one of the most affordable and streamlined offerings of its kind.
To qualify, one must invest in one of the following approved categories:
- Pay 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.
- Make 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).
- Make 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.
Once approved, your investment will grant you access to an Antiguan passport and second citizenship. The Antiguan passport is currently ranked as the 27th strongest in the world, granting visa-free access to 98 countries, and visa-on-arrival in an additional 33.
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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.