Banking System of Antigua and Barbuda and the Procedure of Opening Bank Accounts in Antigua for Foreigners
When purchasing your second passport of the Islands of Antigua and Barbuda via the economic citizenship program, an important aspect for investors wishing to invest via a local bank is opening of accounts with a local bank in Antigua. This is especially true for those investors who have taken advantage of the option of investing in resort real estate, as in most cases developers offer their clients favorable terms of return on investment via rental programs of their purchased real estate. This is why we took the responsibility of sharing with you our knowledge of the banking system of Antigua and Barbuda.
Naturally, any offshore or international bank licensed in a recognized country that is not on the U.S. sanctions list will be suitable for dealing with the Antigua Investment Citizenship Program. We will be happy to assist you in finding such a bank.
The Antigua and Barbuda’s banking sector is the second largest financial and credit institution of the Caribbean commonwealth. Both domestic and international banking institutions are pro-actively developing in the country and attract thousands of clients every year both from inside and outside the country.
How does Antigua’s banking sector work?
Antigua is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), which ensures stability and reliability in the country’s financial sector.
Antigua’s banking system is part of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). The latter acts as a guarantor of deposit returns and regulates monetary policy, sets the main directions of development, controls all currency exchange processes and ensures stability of the national currency, the Eastern Caribbean dollar.
According to the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index, banks in Antigua and Barbuda are ranked 98th out of 183 countries in terms of attractiveness of borrowing. As for the investment reliability, this state is in 29th place and is one of the most financially protected.
In any case, the international financial operations of this country began to develop pro-actively relatively recently. Antigua’s first offshore bank was opened in 1983. Since then, this industry has become well-developed, and one of the most promising and profitable. The offshore banks of Antigua have acquired an impressive partner network and many correspondent banks via concluding a series of international agreements. The latter allows them to serve residents of any country and work with almost any world currency.
The following commercial banks operate in the islands, mainly in Antigua:
- The Global Bank of Commerce Ltd. is the oldest bank in Antigua specializing in international financial services.
- Antigua Overseas Bank Ltd is a bank that offers a fairly wide range of financial services, including offshore banking.
- BOI Bank Corporation is an Antigua-based bank specializing in personal accounts and international corporate service.
- Davos International Bank is a bank that serves individuals, trade and other businesses, including corporate accounts. The bank also deals with transactions in the stock market, including portfolio asset management.
- Meinl Bank (Antigua) Ltd is a bank specializing in international deposits and other financial activities. This bank is Antigua’s largest source of borrowed fund.
- North International Bank offers international financial services. PKB Privatbank Limited is focused on international clients, specializing in transactions with securities, and investments.
- Trium Bank and Trust Ltd is a bank in Antigua mainly engaged in investment and international financial services.
Procedure for opening an account in Antigua
If you have arrived in Antigua in order to obtain economic citizenship and intend to invest in the real business, then you have to open a bank account in one of the above banks.
All institutions of the country agree to cooperate with foreign clients, but there are still some subtleties. In order to open your current (debit) account, you will need to provide the following package of documents:
- A valid passport suitable for international travels.
- Driver’s license (if you have it) or any second ID (civil passport, ID card of the EU country resident).
- Visa documents (provided you do not have the right to visit the country in visa-free regime).
- Proof of your permanent residence. For this purpose, the bank may require you to provide your lease agreement or the bills for any utilities in your name (this does not have to be an address in Antigua, as the account is non-resident).
- Also, some banks may request recommendations from your private banker (no matter what country they are in, but recommendations from European banks or large international banks will have more weight than recommendations from a bank in the countries of CIS). Some banks could request your credit record.
- A personally signed application for opening a bank account in Antigua.
Depending on the bank chosen in Antigua, the list of the necessary documents may vary.
To be fully prepared, you can go to the website of the bank you like in advance and enquire about the package of documents and all other requirements or open a bank account in Antigua with a professional. If you don’t have enough data from the website, you can call or email us. All contacts are freely available.
It is important to note that all personal information you provide is subject to the island’s privacy law and cannot be disclosed to any third party.
If you are in Antigua and can meet with the bank employee in person, opening an account can take one workday. If you are in any other country, then everything can be done remotely, but this procedure will take at least 3 workdays (it can be more depending on the bank). But remote service is very relevant in the times of pandemic.
To open your account remotely, you will need to send a full package of documents to the institution’s postal address in Antigua, or deliver the package with a courier, or scan the papers and send them to the bank’s e-mail for prior approval. As for the application form, in most cases it is freely available in the bank’s website. It needs to be printed, filled out and signed personally.
Once you have a specific account, you will be issued with a Visa or MasterCard payment card and a checkbook. Your current account may be opened in Euros, US dollars, pounds or Canadian dollars. At the client’s request, the funds can be converted into any currency they choose at the current rate.
Deposit and credit accounts in Antigua
If necessary, you can open a deposit or credit account.
To open a deposit, you need to contact the bank representatives in advance (in person, by phone or email) and find out all the details, including their interest rates. After that you will need to sign the relevant application. As in the previous case, it can be done remotely. You can transfer your funds to your deposit by means of an international bank transfer. The latter can take up to 2 workdays. As for the currency, you can open a deposit in Euros, pounds, American or Canadian dollars. If you are directly in Antigua, you can deposit your money into the account in cash, but it is necessary to show the documents confirming the sources of these funds. You can also deposit your money with a check, but in this case it can take up to 30 days to transfer your funds and get the account opened.
To withdraw your funds, you can apply directly to the branch of an institution in Antigua (in case you want to receive the amount in cash) or transfer the amount to the account of any other bank in the currency you need.
If you want to open a credit line for your future business, it is possible only via a face-to-face meeting with bank employees. In addition to the package of documents described earlier, you need to provide the proof of solvency and business reputation (the list of additional documents is specified directly at the meeting).
Internet Banking in Antigua
You can use online banking for managing your funds remotely. It allows you to monitor the status of your accounts, make regular payments and other necessary transactions. It can also be connected remotely. To do this, you need to download the application form from the website, sign it, and send a scanned copy to the bank’s email. In some institutions it can be done by calling the hotline or choosing the appropriate option in the official website.
Please do not hesitate to contact us and we will introduce you to the most experienced consultants in the matter of obtaining citizenship for investments. Please write to us at [email protected] right now.