Caribbean citizenship by investment in 2020

Where could you acquire a second passport and citizenship for investment in 2020? The Caribbean countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, as well as Saint Kitts and Nevis would be the most affordable and the simplest options. A great number of millionaires and billionaires have already taken advantage of the favorable conditions that these countries offer.

Over the recent years, we have witnessed many new tendencies appearing in many different spheres of life. As far as the global mobility issue is concerned, one can safely claim that the first two decades of the 21st century have left a deep imprint on the world history.

Contrary to what is commonly thought about the current age of wall constructions and border closures, the world has become more open, as a matter of fact. This is true at least for those individuals who have managed to build a collection of different passports.  

The most efficient and the fastest way to build such a collection is to acquire citizenship by investment. The Caribbean basin states have offered the best conditions to migrant investors in the elapsing decade. And they still do.

Caribbean citizenship by investment in 2020: the growth in the number of millionaires and billionaires arriving to the region and the general inflow of wealth

The Caribbean basin is the home for quite a few millionaires and billionaires including those who have acquired citizenship through investing in the region. The most inviting islands in the Caribbean have attracted wealthy people for many year now by offering exotic vacation locations, elite residential estate, and low taxes.  

According to Knight Frank consultation agency, there are about 14 million millionaires in the world. Many of them frequent Caribbean islands and some have already purchased homes there. So, how many millionaires reside in the Caribbean? According the Knight Frank data, about 1.1 thousand millionaires resided in the region as of the beginning of 2018.

Besides, over 230 multimillionaires lived on the islands at that point in time. (Knight Frank agency qualifies the person who is worth more than five million dollars as a multimillionaire.) It is forecast that their number will grow significantly (by 1.5 times approximately) by 2022.

Wealthy people residing in the Caribbean basin People worth over 5 million dollars People worth over 50 million dollars People worth over 500 million dollars
2012 210  <= 20 <= 10
2016 230 <= 20 <= 10
2017 230 <= 20 <= 10
2022 330 (a 48% increase) <= 20 <= 10

Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report 2018

There are not so many billionaires living in the Caribbean basin but quite a large number of them visit the islands regularly and spend their vacations there. According to the 2019 Global Wealth Migration Report, the Caribbean islands have the sixth largest population of millionaires in the world residing there permanently or temporarily.

The Report says that around two thousand new millionaires arrived to the islands in 2018, which is a 3% increase in comparison to the previous year. Wealthy individuals prefer such locations as Bermuda, Cayman, and Virgin Islands and also Antigua and St Kitts and Nevis.

Caribbean citizenship by investment: the return of buyers to the Caribbean real estate market

There is another clear tendency: more and more millionaires, multimillionaires, and billionaires put money into luxury residential accommodations in the Caribbean. A considerable portion of them does it in order to acquire residency in exchange of investment into real property. As far as the property price per square meter is concerned, the most expensive real property in the region is found in Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, and Barbados.

Country Property price per square meter
US Virgin Islands 3,235 US dollars
Antigua and Barbuda 3,501 US dollars
Aruba 1,455 US dollars
Bahamas 3,632 US dollars
Barbados 4,467 US dollars
Belize 2,322 US dollars
Bermuda 7,056 US dollars
British Virgin Islands (BVI) 6,469 US dollars
Guadeloupe 2,940 US dollars
Dominican Republic 2,078 US dollars
Cayman 4,163 US dollars
Martinique 2,979 US dollars
Netherlands Antilles 2,162 US dollars
Puerto Rico 1,007 US dollars
Turks and Caicos Islands 3,884 US dollars
Saint Martin 3,267 US dollars
Saint Kitts and Nevis 3,496 US dollars
Saint Lucia 1,860 US dollars
Trinidad and Tobago 2,334 US dollars
Jamaica 1,404 US dollars

Source: Global Property Guide

Many well-to-do people living in the northern hemisphere find an ideal solution of the winter frost problem: they fly to the southern hemisphere and relax in hammocks under the swaying palm trees. The Caribbean basin countries are arguably the best destination for winter rest in the tropics.   

According to the Caribbean Tourist Organization report, 2019 saw the record-breaking number of tourists to the region. About 32.3 million people visited the islands the last year. The experts do not rule out the possibility that many tourists visiting the area also bought accommodations there.

The increased number of tourists should contribute to the revival of the real estate market in the Caribbean. Real estate sales dropped greatly due to the world economic crisis that broke out about ten year ago as well as the Chinese-American trade wars, the Brexit turmoil, and the natural disasters that happened in the region.

Thus, several months ago, hurricane Dorian, referred to as one of the strongest Atlantic storms in history, hit Bahamas destroying two most popular islands in the country. These are Grand Abaco and Grand Bahama.  

At the same time, as experts note, hurricanes are part of life in the Caribbean. They happen as regularly as earthquakes do in Japan, Italy, or California and thus they are not considered anything out of the ordinary.

Notwithstanding the natural disasters, buyers are returning to the Caribbean real estate market. The developers in the region report a slight increase in the interest to real property over the recent time and they cherish the hope that the tendency will continue and their businesses will grow.

An increasing number of local developers are turning to the construction of mixed complexes: hotel buildings where private individuals can not only rent suites but purchase them as well. The owners of such accommodations pay regular maintenance fees (or condominium fees). These can be recompensed, however, if the owner of the suite rents it out for the time he or she is away from the Caribbean. Letting the suite on a lease for an extended period can even become a source of stable passive income.

One has to admit that some wealthy people find the Caribbean basin countries quite boring. There are certain individuals who prefer the liveliness of Miami or Palm Beach in Florida even though they cannot enjoy the stably perfect weather there as they would in the southern part of the Caribbean.

Caribbean citizenship by investment in 2020: construction of new hotels and demand for hotel rooms as drivers of Caribbean “golden passports” popularity

It is important to bear in mind that you can acquire Caribbean citizenship only if you invest into the development projects that qualify for this purpose. It is not the case that any house purchased on the islands will bring you a Caribbean passport. As a rule, hotels and resort complexes qualify for the ‘citizenship by investment’ programs. In this connection, it should be noted that according to the latest statistics, the profitability of the hotel business in the Caribbean is on the rise.  

According to the STR research company report, September of 2019 saw a slight decrease in the average daily price of the hotel room (Average Daily Rate or ADR). However, the Caribbean hoteliers reported that the dynamics became positive again in October and the ADR started growing again.  

Today, the average ADR in the region has grown by 0.4% in comparison to last October. However, the hotel room occupancy rate has decreased by 5.2%. The Revenue per Available Room or RevPAR has also lowered by 4.9%.

With the exception of the last few months, the absolute figures show that the ADR и RevPAR rates in the region have yet to reach the highest values. Over the first ten months of 2019, the ADR was 217 US dollars while the RevPAR was 137.83 US dollars.

According to the STR report, in October 2019, the largest increase in the room occupancy rate (25.9%) occurred in the US Virgin Islands. At the same time, the same country saw the sharpest decrease of 20.2% in the average daily rate (154.36 US dollars). St Lucia, in its turn, demonstrated the largest growth of the ADR in the Caribbean (16%) as well as that of RevPAR (27.4%).

According to the experts of Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association or CHTA, the RevPAR indicator has grown slightly due to the constriction of 20,000 new hotel rooms and constant flow of investment into the improvement of the existing hotel accommodations. The CHTA experts expect that the ADR is going to increase by 6% to 8% in the region in 2020 while the RevPAR should increase by 5% to 6%.

In addition to that, potential investors into the Caribbean basin countries are gaining excess to a wider choice of property as the number of hotels, resorts, and other accommodations under construction is also growing.

According to the STR data, as of October 2019, 60 hotels were under construction in the Caribbean that will increase the total hotel room number in the region by 14,506 rooms. The Dominican Republic is the leader in the new resort construction (5,738 new rooms are being built at the moment).

The current rates of new hotel are resort constriction in the Caribbean basin are quite stable. The region attracts a number of different construction companies. Independent boutique hotels and condominiums are erected and giant international hotel chains are building new property under their brand names too.  

Apart from that, the hotels that suffered from hurricanes Dorian, Irma, and Maria in 2017 are being rebuilt and refurbished. With the view of these facts, hotel and resort construction in the Caribbean is going to stay on the rise in the foreseeable future. According to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association information, the total number of hotel rooms in the region is around 255,000 at the current moment.

Caribbean citizenship by investment in 2020: some conclusions

It is well known that citizenship by investment programs in the Caribbean are among the best migration products that can be found in the world. Local schemes for investor migrants are not only the most affordable and the most long-lasting ones but also highly advantageous for investors from all parts of the globe.

Statistics show that people from all kinds of countries choose to relocate to the Caribbean basin: the trouble-ridden states such as Belarus and Ukraine but also such prosperous countries like Italy, the Netherlands, France, and so on. Many people from such regions as Asia and Middle East also seek to acquire citizenship by investment in the Caribbean.

As far as Western European investors are concerned, they seem to be turned off by the coming Brexit and they have started looking in other directions, away from Great Britain. Similarly, the Middle East business people appear to be cloyed with investing into the USA and they also look for new places where they can bring their capital.

There are also spots on the planet where political tensions are quite high. Wealthy people from such regions often want to have a ‘Plan B’ in case some serious problems arise in their home countries. This factor also increases the international demand for Caribbean ‘citizen by investment’ migration programs.

Antigua and Barbuda offers probably the most attractive citizenship by investment opportunities in the Caribbean. The Government program allows the foreign national to acquire a second passport that gives visa-free access to 149 world countries. The minimum required investment amount is a small as 100,000 US dollars in this country.  

Wealthy people looking to establish citizenship in one of the Caribbean countries also do so with the view of the beneficial taxation regimes that some of these countries offer. Citizens of St Kitts as well as Antigua, for example, do not have to pay the income tax on the profit that they gain in any other part of the world.

If you would like to receive a fast answer to your question about acquiring legal residency, citizenship, and a passport of a foreign state, you are welcome to contact us via [email protected]. We have a large variety of options to offer.