Thanks to a certain Hollywood star named Robert De Niro and his billionaire business partner James Packer and a high profile development project they’re involved with, the Caribbean dual island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has been featured in the news quite a lot in recent months. For regular high net-worth folk wishing to get in on the act, Antigua and Barbuda have their very own citizenship by investment program. Passport Reviewer checked it out.
Antigua and Barbuda In A Nutshell
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island West Indian nation located in the Lesser Antilles, and sits between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. While Antigua and Barbuda are the two major inhabited islands, the nation also includes multiple smaller islands. The country was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, and it was he who names the islands, in honor of the Virgin of La Antigua in the Seville Cathedral.
Antigua and Barbuda was an English colony until it was granted independence in 1981. The country remains part of the British Commonwealth and regards Elizabeth II as their ruling monarch. Antigua and Barbuda is a democracy, and has both a Governor-General and a Prime Minister.
Antigua and Barbuda’s primary source of income is tourism, which accounts for more than 50% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Antigua is renowned for being a “millionaire’s playground”, and has several 5-star hotels and luxury resorts. Investment banking also makes up a large part of the country’s economy, and Antigua has offshore branches of many of the world’s major banks including the Davos International Bank, BOI Bank Corporation, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Scotiabank.
Antigua and Barbuda Stats:
- Official Language: English
- Capital City: St. John’s
- Largest City: St. John’s (Pop; 82,000)
- Surface Area: 440 km2
- Religion: Christian
- Population: 91,295
- Government: Parliamentary democracy under constitutional monarchy
- Legal system: Civil legal system based on Roman law
- Currency: East Caribbean dollar
- GDP per capita: $24,000
- Climate: Hot and humid all year round, 1 meter of rain per year plus hurricanes
Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program
Following in the footsteps of their Caribbean neighbor St. Kitts and Nevis who initiated the world’s very first citizenship by investment program back in 1984, Antigua and Barbuda announced their own CBI program in 2013. The move was seen as a natural progression, designed to both stimulate the local construction economy, and to give foreign investors who were keen to use the island’s banks the opportunity to invest and have a deeper connection with the country, while gaining a powerful second passport in the process.
Investors looking to take advantage of the Antigua and Barbuda citizenship program have a choice of three options:
Antigua and Barbuda CBI Options
- Charitable Donation: A charitable, non-refundable $200,000 donation to the Antigua and Barbuda National Development Fund (NDF) (or)
- $400,000 Real Estate Purchase: Citizenship can be achieved via an investment purchase of at least $400,000 into an approved real estate project. The investment cannot be sold until five years after the completion of purchase (or)
- $1.5 million Business Investment: An investment of a minimum of US $1.5 million directly into an eligible business as a sole investor
Antigua and Barbuda citizenship and passports are issued within 2-3 months of investment completion.
Antigua and Barbuda CBI Program Key Benefits
The Antigua and Barbuda passport grants the holder visa-free access to 134 countries worldwide, including the 26-nation Schengen Area, Canada, the Far East, Southern Africa and most of Latin America
Antigua and Barbuda citizenship can be gained for a financial outlay of little more than $250,000
Antigua and Barbuda citizenship automatically grants the owner access to live and work without restriction in any CARICOM (Caribbean Community) country
The Antigua and Barbuda CBI program demands just 35 days of residency from applicants during the first five years of citizenship
Collection of the Antigua and Barbuda passport and citizenship documents can be undertaken either in Antigua and Barbuda itself, or at any Antigua and Barbuda Embassy, High Commission or Consular Office, anywhere in the world
Robert De Niro and James Packer’s Paradise Found Project
Two-time Oscar winning New Yorker Robert De Niro and Australian billionaire James Packer might seem unlikely bedfellows at first glance. Aside from their different backgrounds and career paths, De Niro is well into his 70s now, while Packer is not yet 50. However Packer owns a major movie production company named RatPac-Dune Entertainment, and through his Hollywood contacts he struck up a friendship with De Niro that became a business partnership.
The duo’s latest project is the development of “Paradise Found”, a luxury resort on the island of Barbuda. Although initially opposed by some of the locals, the Antigua and Barbuda government have now green lit the project, with construction due to begin in 2017. interestingly, applicants for the Antigua and Barbuda CBI program can request to “buy in” to the Paradis Found project if they so wish.
Pros and Cons of Living In Antigua and Barbuda
Despite its small size and population, Antigua and Barbuda is an exciting place to be a part of right now, with a feeling that the coming years will be the country’s best ever.
No matter how much investment and development is taking place, Antigua and Barbuda is still a pair of small islands, so there is bound to be an element of “Groundhog Day” eventually.
Passport Reviewer Ranking: A
It’s a great time to be a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, and if one is an owner of real estate on the island, that property is going to increase in value dramatically in the coming years. With the likes of Robert De Niro and James Packer putting the islands in the news, and Prime Minister Gaston Browne determined to make Antigua and Barbuda the “Dubai of the Caribbean”, these islands represent an outstanding CBI prospect for foreign investors right now.