May 14, 2020

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda Offers New Benefits

What are the benefits of investing in the Caribbean passport and citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda? Visa-free countries for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda (Schengen Area, the UK) and no income tax are just the “tip of the iceberg.” By applying for citizenship by investment of Antigua and Barbuda, nationals from across the world get access to passports with ever-increasing value as evidenced by our latest digest.

365 beaches, one for each day of the year. This slogan has been widely used since the 1990s to attract foreign tourists to the Islands of Antigua and Barbuda, constituting a state in the Caribbean.

In the 21st century, Antigua and Barbuda offers foreigners a unique opportunity to call one of the most beautiful places on Earth their home thanks to a fair and affordable Citizenship by Investment Program. Learn more: Antigua Economic Citizenship

What additional benefits would you receive this year applying for a second passport and citizenship by investment of Antigua and Barbuda? This question can be answered after learning the latest news from the Caribbean country that covers the following topics:

  • Passport & Citizenship (successful check by the U.S. State Department in the context of issuing “Golden Passports”, visa-free entry to South Africa and Serbia)
  • Economy (economic growth, tourism development, construction of a modern cruise terminal, new air routes, development of alternative energy)
  • Lifestyle (Internet development, high level of the rule of law, celebrity guests, dress code liberalization).

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda Successfully Passes the U.S. State Department Check on “Golden Passports”

By applying for citizenship by investment of Antigua and Barbuda, foreigners first of all receive a prestigious “Golden Passport” the legitimacy of which is recognized even by officials with the U.S. State Department. The latter recently analyzed a number of existing economic citizenship programs, including the Antiguan ones.

The relevant report by the U.S. State Department notes that the Antiguan Investment Citizenship Unit (CBU) receives applications for “Golden Passports” from foreigners via local immigration agents only. These agents must be citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, stay in the country for at least seven years and have a license for appropriate commercial activities.

The Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 1996 (MLPA) covers such agents and treats them as financial institutions. Consequently, local licensed immigration agents are subject to anti-money laundering obligations.

Applicants for citizenship undergo numerous checks, including background checks. Citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Yemen are not entitled to the economic citizenship of the Caribbean country, except when they demonstrate evidence of permanent residency in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia or Australia for at least a decade. Applicants must also demonstrate that they no longer maintain economic ties with the blacklisted countries.

The document emphasizes that the authorities of Antigua and Barbuda have signed a mutual legal aid agreement and an agreement on the exchange of tax information with the United States, which ensures compliance with the high standards of reliability that the United States imposes on its foreign partners.

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda Offers Visa-Free Entry to South Africa and Serbia

The Antiguan passport value has also increased against the background of the country’s authorities’ visa-free travel agreements with their colleagues from two other countries: the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Serbia.

Starting from February 2019, Antiguan passport allows you to use the visa-free regime when traveling to South Africa. It is noteworthy that Antigua and Barbuda is currently the only Caribbean country with economic citizenship programs to offer visa-free travel when crossing the borders of the Republic of South Africa.

Earlier (November 2018), the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and the Serbian Government also agreed on the introduction of a visa-free regime for citizens of the two countries. This step was preceded by negotiations that had been taking place during the previous nine months.

In addition to South Africa and Serbia, the Antigua passport also provides a visa-free regime when travelling to other noteworthy countries. These are the United Kingdom, Ireland, the EU Schengen Area, Brazil, and South Korea.

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda Records Economic Growth

Direct foreign investment in “Golden Passports” supported by generous government incentives has contributed to the rapid development of the local economy, making Antigua and Barbuda now boast one of the highest GDP per capita in the Caribbean. And this figure continues to grow against the background of perpetual economic growth.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) forecasts a 3 percent increase in the real gross domestic product (GDP) of Antigua and Barbuda in 2019. The regulator’s report says that large construction projects fixed by the public and private sectors will stimulate the growth of Antiguan economy at the national level. These include the refurbishment of roads and the reconstruction of other infrastructure in the island of Barbuda, which in 2017 was hit by two hurricanes of the highest Category 5.

But even despite the shakeups the economy of Antigua and Barbuda was growing in 2018 thanks to tourism and construction. The CDB estimates that Antiguan GDP grew by 3.5 percent last year, an excellent result compared to a 2.8 percent increase in 2017. Moderate inflation and improved labor market conditions have also contributed to macroeconomic stability.

At the same time, the budget deficit has increased against the background of high public debt and growing general financing needs. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the ratio of public debt to GDP in the case of the Caribbean country at the end of 2018 was at 88.2 percent. The figure is slightly higher than the result achieved a year earlier: 86.8 per cent. Over the past five years, servicing the national debt (interest and other payments) has accounted for an average of 53 per cent of budget revenues.

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda Successfully Develops Tourism

One of the economic growth catalysts in the Caribbean country is the successful tourism sector. The Ministry of Tourism and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Agency (ABTA) reported that 2018 was a record year: the islands welcomed more than a million visitors. This allowed to achieve a record result in the last five years.

According to ABTA, a total of 1,081,365 guests visited the country in 2018. In 2017, the state reached the mark of one million guests for the first time: 1,059,924 tourists. ABTA reports that the most impressive growth was seen among guests arriving by air and staying at local hotels. The number of new arrivals from this category in 2018 amounted to 268,949 people and turned out to be more than 20,000 higher compared to 2017 (an increase of 8.75 per cent).

The resort state has also attracted more visitors traveling aboard cruise ships. According to ABTA, a total of 792,873 guests arrived on board cruise ships in 2018, compared to 19,543 of yacht arrivals.

The Antiguan authorities are now paying more attention to the development of certain tourism industry sub-sectors, including the health tourism promotion. In March 2019, it was reported that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda had concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a private structure from the United Arab Emirates that would build a  USD 350-million-worth medical hotel in the Coolidge area.

The project will train and hire hundreds of nurses, administrative staff and other hospitality workers to serve the steady flow of customers/patients who are expected to fly to Antigua for treatment all year round.

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda is Building a Modern Cruise Terminal

An improved cruise terminal should also contribute to the increased inflow of tourists into the country. Global Ports Holding (GPH), the world’s largest cruise port operator, announced in February 2019 that it had signed an agreement with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to operate the terminal in the Caribbean island.

The company, which operates in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Asia Pacific, said the two sides had entered into a concession agreement for the 30-year cruise port operations on an exclusive basis. The contract also includes financing of the construction of a new dock for the Oasis Royal Caribbean vessels service. The works were expected to start in the first half of 2019.

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda Offers New Air Routes

You can also get to the country on board the aircraft. At the same time, this task has recently been further simplified thanks to new air routes. In particular, Delta Air Lines introduced a new route connecting the Caribbean country to the United States at the end 2018. We are talking about the New York-Antigua flight.

Delta Air Lines officially launched the new route on December 22, 2018, performing its first ever flight from New York to Antigua. The company now flies to the Caribbean country weekly on Saturdays, departing from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The flights depart from New York at 8:35 a.m. and arrive in Antigua at 1:49 p.m. local time. At the same time, return flights depart from the recently refurbished VC Bird International Airport in Antigua at 2:50 p.m. and arrive in New York at 6:31 a.m. local time.

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda Finances Alternative Energy Development

Smooth operation of the above-mentioned air harbor and other critical infrastructure facilities is ensured by the effort of local authorities to improve energy security, including the development of alternative energy sources.

PV Energy Limited, in collaboration with the local government, is currently working on a project to develop a clean energy generation and storage system in Antigua and Barbuda. The system will include an block of solar panels with a total capacity of 10 MW.

The project also envisages the 6.5 megawatt-hour (MWh) energy storage system, which will be the first facility of the kind in the jurisdiction, and will make a significant contribution to the stabilization of the island nation’s power grid.

In particular, the energy accumulation in the system will be used during storms if the power supply from other sources via the central grid is cut off. The project designers note that electricity stored with battery banks can be used during any power outages via the central grid.

The project’s objectives include ridding Antigua and Barbuda of dependence on all fossil fuels. Renewable energy currently accounts for only about 20 per cent of the power generated in the two islands. After commissioning the new plant, this figure will increase dramatically.

In addition, PV Energy noted that the plant should significantly reduce the cost of electricity production in the country. However, PV Energy does not have up-to-date and detailed information on the actual cost of electricity production from fossil fuels in Antigua and Barbuda and therefore cannot determine actual savings.

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda Accelerates the Internet Development

In addition to reliable power supply, the jurisdiction also offers its guests and residents a stable Internet, the speed of which should grow soon. Early 2019, it became known that the authorities of Antigua and Barbuda will invest millions of dollars in the state Internet provider.

The money will be allocated to the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) and will be used for upgrading the APUA telecommunications infrastructure. APUA currently provides electricity, water, Internet and mobile services.

It is expected to invest about USD 29,600,000 in laying its own underwater main line telecommunications cable, providing high-speed broadband data transmission via the Internet. The project is expected to make the Internet access more affordable providing residents with more accessible, reliable and fast Internet services.

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda Provide a High Level of the Rule of Law

The World Justice Project, headquartered in Washington, D.C., ranked Antigua and Barbuda 3rd in the Caribbean for the rule of law. Only Barbados and St. Kitts and Nevis scored higher in the latest World Justice Project ranking that was published in February 2019.

In general, Antigua and Barbuda is ranked 6th across Latin America and the Caribbean, ahead of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Argentina. If we take all the countries covered by the recent World Justice Project rating, and that is 126 states and territories, we can note that Antigua is ranked 33rd, ahead of the United States (ranked 50th). The world’s top 5 in the recent ranking includes Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands.

In assessing individual countries, the authors of the ranking used eight factors: restrictions on government powers, level of corruption, openness of government, basic rights, order and security, enforcement, civil justice and criminal justice.

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda Welcomes Celebrity Guests

The decision to apply for citizenship by investment of Antigua and Barbuda in 2020 and move to the Caribbean country for permanent residence significantly increases your likelihood of meeting a celebrity. And not just because famous people pro-actively buy up Antiguan real estate.

The most famous celebrities also use the Caribbean country as a place to have some rest and recuperate. So, last year the New York Jets American football team flew to the Caribbean state for their vacation.

A JetBlue flight with a New York Jets livery arrived at Antigua’s VC Bird International Airport. The flight was packed with athletes as well as members of the coaching team, sponsors and fans.

Citizenship by Investment 2020: Antigua and Barbuda is Liberalizing its Dress Code

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has announced an order to the Ministry of Social Transformation to undertake a comprehensive review of the policy that prohibits people from wearing certain types of clothing when visiting government offices to receive public services. In particular, it is planned to liberalize the dress code for women. According to the representatives of the relevant department, if a person is not dressed vulgarly, they will be able to get unhindered access to the state institution buildings.

Antiguan officials plan to take advantage of the experience of other Caribbean countries in the dress code liberalization for visitors to government agencies as part of this initiative. It is noteworthy that just a few months ago the Government of Jamaica announced that it was not allowed to enter government buildings for women who wear sleeveless clothing.

Do not hesitate to contact us and we will introduce you to the most experienced consultant in the field of citizenship by investment. Please email us to [email protected] right now.