Caribbean Citizenship by Investment & Passport Guide
The citizenship by investment industry is a popular option in the Caribbean region, where several countries offer citizenship in exchange for an investment into their economy. The programs in the Caribbean are designed to attract high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and their families.
Investors make use of citizenship by investment programs to receive a Caribbean passport. Those seeking second citizenship for improved visa-free travel, greater economic opportunity and a potential plan B option as a second home. The option has become increasingly popular as it offers various benefits, including tax efficiency, improved quality of life, and access to a wide range of business opportunities through the Caribbean network with CARICOM, OECD and as a strong Commonwealth region.
The Caribbean region offers multiple citizenships by investment programs with varying requirements, investment options, and processing times, making it a prime destination for those seeking alternative citizenship.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the five Caribbean citizenship and Nationalities you can attain by investing.
Which Caribbean Countries Allow Citizenship by Investment
The Caribbean citizenship by investment industry journey began in 1984 after Saint Kitts and Nevis’s independence in 1983 from the United Kingdom. The twin island became the first to offer Caribbean nationality to investors that met specific criteria. Over the four decades of its existence, the program has undergone several changes and improvements. Saint Kitts and Nevis, the citizenship by investment Caribbean program, is a desirable option for investors.
Legal Caribbean Nationality through Citizenship by Investment
The complete list of the five Caribbean citizenship by investment countries is available below:
- Antigua and Barbuda Caribbean citizenship by investment;
- Commonwealth of Dominica passport for the Caribbean;
- Grenada citizenship by investment in the Caribbean;
- Saint Kitts and Nevis Caribbean nationality and passport; and
- Saint Lucia Caribbean passport.
Caribbean passport holders enjoy visa-free access to the United Kingdom, Europe’s Schengen area and many other countries. Using the programs to obtain Caribbean nationality and passports from one of the above islands has become an effective strategy for thousands of investors and their family dependents.
Windward Caribbean Islands Without Citizenship by Investment
The noticeable exceptions from the Windward Caribbean islands, which are not overseas territories, include Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. These Caribbean islands do not have a citizenship by investment program. Their passports are equally as strong, with Barbados being the strongest in all of the Caribbean.
It is essential to know which Caribbeans nationality from the Windward islands do not offer citizenship through an investment program. If advertisements or agents offer them, know they are false and possibly illegal. There is always the possibility to obtain residence on these three islands, but not Caribbean citizenship, and you will only receive a Caribbean passport once meeting the typical naturalization requirements.
Expanding on the Benefits of a Caribbean Passport
The Caribbean citizenship by investment industry is effectively a commoditized market. If you meet the qualifying criteria for investment and pass the due diligence and background screening process, you will receive Caribbean nationality and be eligible for the Caribbean passport country of your investment. This can be a certainty, and thus using Caribbean citizenship by the investment industry is a certainty when getting a second passport.
Applying for naturalization, or citizenship by descent is by no means a certainty. Citizenship by descent cases may often seem incredibly easy, however it can take up to three years or more for an application to be reviewed.
There are significant benefits to using the citizenship by investment route to obtain a second citizenship. Benefits were briefly mentioned earlier in the guide, but going into more detail for the following aspects:
- Visa-free travel;
- Visa application approval rates;
- Business and educational opportunities;
- Generational wealth planning and implementation; and
- Reducing tax liability.
Having Caribbean citizenship can increase your visa-free travel options, as many Caribbean countries offer visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to many countries. Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Dominica all provide visa-free access to over 140 countries and territories. With Caribbean citizenship, you can travel to more countries without applying for a visa in advance.
Each Caribbean passport holder will have visa-free access to the United Kingdom and the European Union. Individually, each Caribbean nationality passport holder will enjoy visa-free travel to different countries, some of which may be more beneficial than others to you.
Some of the interesting visa-free countries that other Caribbean passports may not have include:
- Antigua and Barbuda – South Africa, Georgia, Hong Kong, Qatar, Russia.
- Commonwealth of Dominica – China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russia.
- Grenada – China, Hong Kong, Russia.
- Saint Kitts and Nevis – Hong Kong, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Taiwan, Russia.
- Saint Lucia – Pakistan, Hong Kong, Taiwan.
Visa Acceptance Rates
Caribbean citizenship is not only worthwhile for its visa-free access. Applicants from certain countries are often rejected from obtaining tourist visas based on their nationality. Even if the country in question does not have a visa-waiver agreement with the Caribbean passport of choice, it is likely that the visa application will be approved.
These include visa applications to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, to name but a few. The US B1/B2 tourist visa is a popular option for investors of a Caribbean passport to use to travel in the US for over ten years freely.
Grenada is a treaty nation country with the US and citizens using the citizenship by investment program may be eligible to apply for the US E-2 investor residence. They need to have been domiciled in Grenada for three years before being able to apply.
Business and Offshore Banking Opportunities
The Caribbean is an ever-improving place of business. High net-worth individuals requiring business growth can be facilitated by acquiring multiple citizenships. One of which can be Caribbean citizenship. The Caribbean hosts several international banks and hosts their own locally but internationally recognized banking institutions. Offshore banking as a Caribbean citizen is easy, but you will enjoy the highest level of privacy and security of your assets.
A Caribbean passport offers the advantage of enabling growth through expanded trade access and entry into other Commonwealth countries. As a member of CARICOM, citizens of the five Caribbean islands enjoy the freedom of movement and goods between them.
Taxes and Generational Wealth Planning
Although most countries base their taxes policies on taxing their citizens based on physical presence, the US is slightly different. The largest economy in the world taxes its citizens regardless of where their residence is.
To escape taxation entirely, the only option for US citizens is to renounce their citizenship. This has led to a significant rise in the number of individuals who have given up their US citizenship and instead invested in second citizenship from countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, or Saint Kitts and Nevis.
After becoming a Caribbean citizen, the investor can renounce their US citizenship and either move to any of the CARICOM countries or obtain another residence in their new Caribbean passport. These individuals are no longer obligated to file tax returns or pay taxes to the US government.
Families seeking to preserve their wealth for future generations often choose the citizenship by investment program in St Kitts and Nevis. The island’s Nevis Trust provides a secure and private investment vehicle for moving significant assets. The trust is renowned for its privacy laws for investors.
Family Health and Education
Many potential Caribbean citizenship by investment citizens aim to secure a comfortable future for their families and descendants. To achieve this, they often utilize citizenship by investment programs that allow their dependents to join them in the application process and eventually obtain citizenship themselves.
With multiple citizenships, family members can access better healthcare facilities in times of need and take advantage of more freedom in travel. A dependent can quickly travel to another country without waiting for a visa. Something that can be detrimental to their health when needing to urgently travel.
They can also benefit from increased educational opportunities, such as attending prestigious schools at local rates or being eligible for scholarships.
For example, the Caribbean University Fund citizenship by investment program in Antigua and Barbuda allows one dependent on attending the University of the West Indies for free in their first year of education.
St. George’s Medical University in Grenada is world-renowned for its high standard of medical students. The Caribbean medical university is one of the top feeder schools in Canada, the United Kingdom and the US. As a Caribbean citizen, there are local scholarships available to apply for, as well as attending the university at local rates versus international student fees.
Dual Citizenship benefits
All five of the Caribbean citizenship by investment islands allow dual citizenship. There is no need to renounce citizenship on their part. If your existing nationality will enable you to hold dual citizenship, then it is advisable to keep it. You never know when it might be helpful.
As for being a dual Caribbean citizen, a few additional benefits have yet to be mentioned. For example, along with protection from both of your countries, as a Commonwealth Realm citizen, you have the ability to seek British consular protection in any country where your Caribbean nationality does not have a consulate. Similarly, you can acquire a British emergency passport to return to your country of residence.
Dual citizenship can allow you to retire more quickly in the future. Moving to the Caribbean lowers the cost of living and, as mentioned earlier, reduces your taxes. Something that needs to be considered is the quality of your day-to-day life. Moving to a warm, sunny island with beautiful beaches and landscapes can improve your health.
Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Requirements
The five Caribbean citizenship programs all vary slightly in their financial investment requirements. They differ slightly on which dependents can and cannot claim Caribbean nationality on the main investor’s application.
Legal Requirement for a Primary Investor
The legal requirements for the primary investor to become a Caribbean citizen of any of the five islands include the following:
- Over the age of eighteen;
- Not have a criminal record;
- Be in good health;
- Have a verifiable source of income; and
- Be able to show proof of funds for the investment.
Legal Requirement for Family Members
Global Residence Index’s vast experience can provide you with all the critical information regarding your family. Specific programs are better suited to large families while others are best for single applicants.
Typically a spouse and dependent children under eighteen years old will be okay with being added to the primary investor for a Caribbean passport. Each program is different concerning parents, grandparents, children over eighteen, and siblings.
Five Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Program Costing Comparison
There are several cost comparisons when looking for the best Caribbean Citizenship by Investment program. The below infographic compares the five different Caribbean citizenship by investment programs so you can make an informed decision based on your individual needs and interests.
Whether you seek second citizenship for tax benefits, travel, or as a backup plan, Caribbean citizenship by investment program can fulfill your needs. Read on to learn about the differences and compare the factors.
Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Program Investment Cost Comparison
The below list is as comprehensive as possible. However, there may be smaller agents and legal costs that will be charged. Ages for due diligence and processing fees may also be slightly different than indicated below. For a more in-depth program costing and insight into Global Residence Index, click on the respective country name below.
- Antigua and Barbuda Caribbean citizenship by investment program;
- Commonwealth of Dominica Caribbean citizenship by investment program;
- Republic of Grenada Caribbean citizenship by investment program;
- Saint Kitts and Nevis Caribbean citizenship by investment program; and
- Saint Lucia Caribbean citizenship by investment program.
Analysis of Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs
The above comparison table will give you some insight as to which Caribbean citizenship may best suit you and your family’s needs. The government contribution options are typically the most popular options. However there is growing demand on the real estate option as the markets mature and the properties are actually yielding a decent return for the investors.
Individual applicants will possibly be drawn towards Saint Lucia and Dominica Caribbean citizenship. Large families will possibly look towards Antigua and Barbud or Saint Kitts and Nevis as those programs have special prices for extra large families.
Grenada is always a popular option for those potential Caribbean citizens looking to make use of the US E2 investor visa. This may change going forward as citizens need to be domiciled in Grenada for three years before they can apply for the E2.
Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Program Fees Comparison
The investment component of Caribbean citizenship is the majority of all costs required to be eligible for Caribbean nationality. There are additional smaller fees and costs payable to the government in question when applying and when the inventors become Caribbean citizens. The due diligence component is arguably the most important aspect of the Caribbean citizenship process.
These fees and costs below are as accurate as possible, but the ages and costs may differ slightly. Applicants using the Saint Lucia Bond Option will carry a $30,000 processing fee.
Final Thoughts from Global Residence Index
Caribbean citizenship by investment programs is an incredibly positive aspect for many reasons. Through no fault of their own, someone with a sanctioned nationality or weak passport can improve their global mobility and citizenship by legally obtaining another citizenship. The five Caribbean countries are able to increase their government revenue to help develop their own countries.
There are many aspects to consider when deciding which Caribbean nationality suits you and your family.
You can use our economic citizenship comparison tool to compare programs here. We work with you to determine which Caribbean nationality is best for you. Our experts must ask you several key questions during the consultation and other engagements. We can devise a citizenship and passport strategy by developing an informed and holistic viewpoint from the information you provide.
If you are interested in any of the programs, you may sign up for a free consultation with our team.
How Fast can I receive my Caribbean Citizenship and Passport?
Most programs take between three to six months. However, Saint Kitts and Nevis can fast-track applications in thirty to forty-five days for an additional fee.
Which Caribbean Citizenship Program is best for US citizens?
All programs have individual benefits and they should be reviewed individually rather than looking at a nationality overall. Saint Lucia has proved to be popular among US citizens. Saint Lucia is very well marketed in the continental US for tourism.
Which Caribbean nationality is best for Taxes?
Antigua and Barbuda has a tax-free policy for any income its citizens earn. Saint Kitts and Nevis is also a great option, and its Nevis Trust is globally recognized for its strong privacy laws.
Which Caribbean passport is best for Traveling to the Far East?
Becoming a Caribbean citizen of Dominica and Grenada might be best. Both nations have visa-free access to Hong Kong, Macao, China and Russia.
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