May 27, 2020

Citizenship by Investment 2020. Why Does Everyone Want To Invest in Business in Antigua?

In recent years, there have been a lot of reviews by people from different countries who obtained economic citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda. These reviews are mostly positive. Chinese, Americans, Russians and other foreigners decide to invest in local business in exchange for a new passport and citizenship by investment of this Caribbean country. Let’s try to figure out what exactly is the reason for that, and why immigration to Antigua and Barbuda may be of interest after you obtain your citizenship and open your business.

The history of Antigua and Barbuda as an independent country began in 1981 when this Caribbean jurisdiction gained independence from Great Britain. So far, the Antiguans have managed to build a stable and prosperous state that many foreigners want to settle in.

It was especially for them that a few years ago Antigua and Barbuda launched the Citizenship by Investment Program, joining a group of other Caribbean countries pro-actively competing by price.

Thanks to this program, immigration to Antigua became simplified to a great extent. After all, in just a few months you can get your citizenship by investment of Antigua and Barbuda even without visiting this country and with no unnecessary formalities as in the case of other immigration programs.

Unfortunately, not so long ago, the indigenous and economic citizens of Antigua and Barbuda lost a solid lead which was the right to simplified visa-free travel to Canada.

But fortunately for the Antiguans, the number of countries available for visa-free travel is not the only criterion for deciding in favor of this citizenship. Thus, the Antiguan program still offers such trump cards as no income tax, and no tax on income from any sources.

In addition, the Antiguan immigration program remains 100 percent anonymous, which is also important for its potential participants.

In total, 3 investment options are available under the Antiguan program: a donation to the National Development Fund (NDF), a repayable investment in the local approved real estate, and a repayable investment in the approved business projects.

At that, the demand for the latter investment option (repayable investment in one of the business-projects approved by the authorities of the host country) has been relatively low but is now growing rapidly. Let’s try to find out what this is about.

Citizenship by Investment of Antigua and Barbuda: Are Business Projects in Demand?

When it comes to the Caribbean economic citizenship programs, many immigration agents and media outlets only inform their clients/readers about the possibility of obtaining passports via irretrievable donations or via buying property. These are the two most popular and promoted ways to the Caribbean citizenship for wealthy foreigners.

However, two Caribbean immigration programs from the Citizenship by Investment category have additional investment options available. For example, in Antigua and Barbuda, you can obtain a passport by investing in a business project approved by the authorities. Little is known about this investment option, but the possibility of investing in a business to obtain a passport under the Antiguan program is still worth paying close attention to.

A study of official statistics on the Antiguan program since its inception shows that, on average, 12 per cent of applications for economic citizenship in this country are for business investment. This was 135 applications from the date of the relevant immigration program inception until June 30, 2017. Specifically, three applicants out of 233 opted to invest in business in the first half of 2019. The popularity of the business investment option is almost at the same level as the option of buying real estate.

But if you look closely at the statistics on the demand dynamics in the first half of 2017, you can see that as many as 78 applications (42 percent) for citizenship from foreigners were obtained by the Antiguan authorities on the basis of investment in business. Yet 71 applications were filed on the basis of donation to the National Development Fund (38 percent) и just only 38 applications (20 percent) were submitted on the basis of investing to the Antiguan real estate.

Investment Option January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017 From the program launch to June 30, 2017
  In absolute terms In relative terms (percentage) In absolute terms In relative terms (percentage)
NDF donation 71 38 771 69
Real estate investment 38 20 215 19
Business investment 78 42 135 12
Total applications 187 100 1121 100

Thus, the popularity of the business option soared in 2017. It slightly dropped in 2018 and continued to be stable in 2019. In 2017, the number of applications for citizenship via business investment clearly exceeded the number of applications for citizenship via the NDF donation and citizenship via buying real estate, in quantitative terms.

Citizenship by Investment of Antigua and Barbuda: Who Chooses Antigua Passports Investing Their Money In Local Business & More?

According to the latest data, 42.6 per cent of all applications for Antigua Citizenship by Investment and/or donations received between the program inception and June 2017, came from investors from China (478 applications). It is a very high number reflecting a very high level of activity of the Chinese in the investment immigration sector across the world.

At the same time, the Chinese have not yet achieved total dominance under the Antiguan immigration program. Their share is more than twice lower than in the case of a neighboring Caribbean jurisdiction of Grenada that offers visa-free entry to China, so the Chinese can renounce their native citizenship when applying for a Grenada passport but retain simplified access to their historical homeland.

As for other applicants, investors from Russia come second in terms of activity after the Chinese. Between the Antigua immigration program launch until June 2017, 4 percent of applications for participating in it came from investors from Russia (49). In fact, the Russians shared the “silver medals” with investors from Lebanon (49). The next are investors from Bangladesh (42) with a result of 3.5 per cent of the total number of applications. Another 2.4 per cent of applications were made by U.S. investors (27) who also need Caribbean passports for a number of reasons.

Citizenship by Investment of Antigua and Barbuda: Terms & Conditions for Obtaining A Business Passport

As noted above, it is not possible to invest just in any local business to apply for Antigua investment citizenship. Only government-approved projects are available.

Here is how the approval process works. Officials of the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) upon  consulting the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA), approve (or reject) applications from local businesses (whether existing companies or start-ups) to secure the status of projects approved for business investment purposes under the Antigua economic citizenship program.

The Caribbean authorities have approved 12 business projects under the local immigration program. You can find the CIU-approved business projects in the table below.

Company’s name Address Contact details
Antigua Sustainable Aquaculture Limited Hill & Hill Chambers, Long Street, St. John’s, Antigua Phone: +1416 549 1612 Fax: +1905 698 1096 email: [email protected]
Call Centre Services Inc. C/o Cort & Cort, Attorneys –at-Law, Fitzgerald House, P.O. Box 2010, 44 Church Street, St. John’s Phone: +268-462-5232/330 email: [email protected]
Caribbean Free Trade Zone Development (Antigua) Inc International free Trade Centre of Antigua, Carlisle, St. George’s, Antigua W.I. Phone: +1 (268) 462-4717 Phone: +86-400-8520-860 email: [email protected]
Diamond Caribbean Properties Limited c/o Hill and Hill Chambers, Long Street, St. John’s, Antigua Phone: +268 (4624717) 462-4717
email: [email protected]
Freetown Destination Resort Limited P.O. Box 1301, #60 Nevis Street, St. John’s. Antigua and Barbuda Phone: +1 604 648 6681
email: [email protected]
Freetown Hotel Development Limited P.O. Box 1301, #60 Nevis Street, St. John’s. Antigua and Barbuda Phone: +1 604 648 6681
email: [email protected]
Golden Island Filmworks Ltd C/o Cort & Cort, 44 Church Street, St. John’s, Antigua Phone: +1 (268) 562-1530 email: [email protected]
G.V. Development Limited Courtyard Marriott Hotel Antigua c/o James and Maginley Ltd., #51 Church Street and Hardcastle Avenue, St. John’s, Antigua W.I. Phone: (268) 562-8775
Phone: (268) 720- 3800 Phone: (268) 720 – 7284
Phone: (268) 728 4155
Phone: (268) 785 – 9005
Jiahao Investment (Antigua & China) Limited Long Bay Hotel, C/o Hill & Hill, Long Street, P.O. Box 909, St. John’s, Antigua Phone: +1 (268) 462-4717
Phone: +1 (268) 464-7743 email: [email protected]
Operose Capital ATG Investors Limited Level 41 Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road, PO Box 31303, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Office: +971 4 319 7542
Mobile: q966 56 776
email: [email protected]
The Verandah Resort & Spa By Verandah Resorts Limited, Long Bay, St. Phillip’s, Antigua, W.I. Phone: (613) 290-4719
Whitegate Real Estate Limited Hill & Hill Chambers, Long Street, St. John’s, Antigua, W.I. Phone: (268) 462-4217 email: [email protected]

The process of applying for citizenship is similar to that of choosing the NDF donation or buying a property. The business investment option involves two additional options:

  • Individual investment in an approved business must be worth at least USD 1,500,000.
  • Investment in an approved business within an investor group that includes at least two people. The total amount of joint investment in such an approved business must be at least USD 5 million, and each member of the group must contribute at least USD 400,000 individually.

Citizenship by Investment of Antigua and Barbuda: Benefits of The Business Investment Passport

You can find the advantages for foreign investors who decide to apply for citizenship by business investment of Antigua and Barbuda below:

  • Antigua offers a very attractive option for foreigners willing to invest in the tourism business. 60 percent of Antigua’s economy is related to tourism (directly and indirectly), which is why the local government has been doing its best to develop the sector. Antigua is famous for its numerous luxury resorts that are excellent for developing the hotel business. Experts also recommend considering investing in other key sectors such as agriculture and services.
  • Residents of Antigua and Barbuda do not pay capital gains tax and some other fees. And the recent amendments to part 111 of Section 5 of the Income Tax Act, as noted above, made income received both in Antigua and Barbuda and other parts of the world exempt from taxation. The Real Estate Tax Act (2000) reduced the rate of tax on land and buildings used in operating business facilities down to 10 per cent . In addition, Antigua law grants businessmen certain tax holidays.
  • Antigua and Barbuda is a constitutional monarchy with a British-style parliamentary system of government. The country’s legal system is based on the British common law system which makes it predictable and understandable for international businessmen.

  • The gross domestic product of Antigua and Barbuda is estimated at 2.74 billion US dollars, according to the World Bank experts (data as of 2019). The index was growing steadily after its fall against the background of the global financial recess of 2007/08. Antigua and Barbuda ranked 107th out of 190 countries in the 2018 World Bank’s Doing Business Report, up 6 lines compared to the previous year (113).
  • Established in 2006, the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority, mentioned above, promotes direct foreign investments in the aforementioned prioritized sectors and advises the Government on the shaping and implementation of policies and programs to attract investment to Antigua and Barbuda.
  • Antigua and Barbuda has no restrictions on foreign investors and external controls. Foreign investors can hold up to 100 percent of assets in the country’s investment projects.
  • Antigua and Barbuda offers investors lots of incentives. They are enshrined in the 2006 Investment Management Act. The list of incentives includes exemption from duties on imports or purchases of raw materials, building materials, furniture, fixtures, appliances, machinery and equipment to be used in construction and running the business facilities. Reduction of import duties or purchase fees, or their full exemption is also possible in the case of vehicles purchased and/or imported for the business use.
  • As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Antigua and Barbuda is free to participate in the import and export of goods and services on the world market.

Local Prime Minister Gaston Browne recently announced why it is worth participating in the Citizenship by Investment Program of Antigua and Barbuda. Being a keynote speaker at a two-day event of the Global Investment Immigration Summit 2018 (GIIS18) in London, United Kingdom, Prime Minister Browne urged foreigners to consider citizenship by investment of Antigua and Barbuda the best instrument to hedge risks.

The politician mentioned such benefits of the program as the Government’s commitment to fighting corruption, ensuring the political system stability, preserving democracy and protecting human rights, and creating a strong economic system that distributes revenues fairly while promoting entrepreneurship.

According to the politician, education and healthcare are at the heart of the Caribbean country’s development strategy. Antigua hospitals are the most advanced medical facilities of the sub-region. In addition, Antigua and Barbuda is now on the verge of establishing a new university that will become a key university in the West Indies, attracting students both from the Caribbean and beyond.

As noted by the speaker, the Caribbean country has already attracted more than two billion dollars of investment capital via its immigration program. This will stimulate sustainable growth and development. According to him, the strong and dynamic economy of the island nation is an ideal basis for the prosperity of entrepreneurship and investment projects.

The speaker underlined that the Antigua Government is developing laws and regulations to facilitate operations in the field of high technology, including rules for dealing with blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies. In particular, the country’s domestic laws are already being amended to facilitate payments in bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, including payments made when applying for citizenship by investment.

The Antiguan Government intends to use blockchain technology to improve efficiency of the public sector and launch its own ICO to raise funds in order to finance various public investment projects.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that the Citizenship by Investment Program had become an industry that is important not for Antigua only but for other Caribbean countries as well.

In his speech, the Prime Minister emphasized that the global immigration industry growth became a great opportunity to strengthen global interrelations, and could serve as an incentive to minimize the geographical, racial and ethnic differences that hinder world development.

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