The citizenship-by-investment program requires a person to make a significant economic contribution to the country. In exchange, and subject to a stringent application procedure, including thorough background checks, the applicants and their families are granted citizenship.
To qualify for citizenship, the person must be over 18 years of age, meet the application requirements and select one of the following three options available:
• an investment of at least USD 400,000 into one of the approved real estate projects; such investments cannot be disposed of within a five year period or before the proposed development in which the investment has been made has been substantially completed
• a contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF) of a minimum non-refundable amount of USD 100,000 for a family of up to four people
• an investment of a minimum of USD 1,500,000 directly into an eligible business as a sole investor or a joint investment involving at least 2 persons in an eligible business totalling at least USD 5,000,000, and each of those persons individually invests at least USD 400,000
Under each of these options, there are government processing fees of USD 50,000 for the main applicant plus additional government processing fees of USD 50,000 for the spouse, any dependent child of 18 to 25 years of age and any dependant parent over the age of 65 years, as well as USD 25,000 for each dependent child under 18 years of age. However, the Government has announced a “Limited Time Offer” under the NDF option only, whereby for a family of four, the government processing fees will be USD 50,000 for the main applicant, USD 50,000 for the spouse, and the remaining two family members will not need to pay any government processing fees.
There are also due diligence fees of USD 7,500 for the main applicant and USD 7,500 for the spouse, USD 2,000 for any dependent child of 12 to 17 years and USD 4,000 for any dependent child of 18 to 25 years of age as well as any dependent parent over the age of 65 years.
Government processing fees and due diligence fees apply to all three options.
The NDF is a non-profit foundation established for the purpose of, inter alia, supporting enterprises develop significant innovations through the provision of long term committed share capital, public/private partnerships, specific governmental projects and, from time to time, charitable investments in non-profit organisations which deliver services in healthcare, education, environmental management, youth development or the promotion of sport and culture.
The NDF is governed by the provisions of the Finance and Administration Act, which stipulates that there be established a special fund to be administered by a public officer. These funds will not be comingled with the Government’s consolidated funds and will only be utilized for the specific aforesaid purposes. The citizenship-by-investment program will be subject to six-monthly reporting which will be published and presented to the House of Representatives no later than 30 days following completion of the report.
The program allows for a dependant between the ages of 18 to 25 years to be included in the application of the main applicant if the dependant is a full time student at a recognized higher learning institution and is financially dependent on the main applicant. The program also allows for parents and grandparents over the age of 65 of the main applicant or his or her spouse to be included in the application as dependants, if the parent/s and grandparent/s are living with and are fully supported by the main applicant.
The main applicant and his or her dependants will become ineligible if they have not received a free pardon or have at any time previously been convicted in any country of an offence for which the maximum custodial penalty is in excess of six months imprisonment. The Regulations further provide that a person who has been denied a visa to a country with which Antigua and Barbuda has visa-free travel arrangement and has subsequently not obtained a visa to the country that issued the denial shall not be entitled to apply under the program. A person who is deemed a potential national security risk, a reputational risk or is subject to criminal investigation will also be denied citizenship.
For further information on the program and on how to apply – or to arrange a private consultation – please contact us today.