CARIBBEAN Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIP)

Sumit Singh
6 min readJul 4, 2023

How investors can benefit from a second passport in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Lucia

Photo by Christian Lendl on Unsplash

Caribbean countries have been the place of interest in the recent years. With the virtue of being a former colonies of British empire, these island countries carry a powerful passport with visa-free access to various European countries, in the form of Schengen visa, the UK, and few even China and Russia. According to Arton Capital’s Passport Index, these five countries rank somewhere between 21st to 29th in the Global Passport Power Rank 2023.

Not surprisingly, “global mobility” is the name of the game here. Most of our clients just want to obtain the second passport for better prospect of moving around the globe hassle-free than to actually move and live to the island countries. Since there is no minimum requirement to stay there (barring Antigua & Barbuda) or even be present locally there for the application process, it only adds ease to the aspiring global citizens.

If, on the other hand, the investor decides to resettle there, these five countries, which are also a full members of CARICOM Community in the Caribbean area, give liberty to the fellow citizens to live, work, or study in any of the member country.

For the investors who are only looking to obtain the Caribbean passport without moving there, the dilemma they face is, “Which one Caribbean country to choose among the five?”. For this, we take up 7 parameters to understand the pros and cons for each of the programs:

  1. Passport Ranking

According to the Passport Index, following are the Global Passport Power Rank in 2023:

Source: https://www.passportindex.org/

St. Kitts & Nevis and Antigua & Barbuda clearly stand out as the countries with the most powerful passports.

2. Visa-free Access

Investors choose different passport program in order to access a particular country or particular zone for the ease of global mobility.

Source: https://www.passportindex.org/

Since the hassle-free access to the UK and Schengen zone is common among all five Caribbean countries, the investors who are looking to access China visa-free should opt for either Dominica or Grenada programs. Similarly, to gain access to Russia or Brazil visa-free, any program except but St. Lucia can solve the problem.

3. Investment Option & Amount

The citizenship by investment programs in Caribbean are primarily dominated either by donation to the government or by investing in real estate.

Donation is pretty straight-forward and sometimes also termed as “buying the passport” by making a contribution to the nation’s economy through the government. These donations are typically used by the respective governments to support a wide range of public projects that includes healthcare, education, and infrastructure development.

Real estate investment, on the other hand, comes with a pre-defined lock-in period and could be either full ownership of the property or fractional co-ownership in the project. It is also worth noting that the properties have to be pre-approved by the government in order to qualify for such citizenship programs.

Capital Requirement — Source: www.imidaily.com

The above table shows the capital required for a single-applicant application. The capital requirement goes up as the family members are added.

The below table shows the typical holding period for real estate investment in different Caribbean countries.

Real Estate Investment — Holding Period

Antigua & Barbuda and Saint Lucia also have business investment options wherein significant amount of investment is required to start or buy-out the business to qualify for the program.

4. Dependents as the CBI beneficiaries

With the single application and capital investment, the principal applicant can include the family members that includes spouse, children, parents, siblings etc. under the Caribbean CBI program.

Grenada and Saint Lucia programs favors most to the applicants who are looking to include family members. Dominica program, on the other hand, impose condition that children have to be enrolled in the institute for higher learning before they can become a part of the applicant. It also doesn’t include siblings as the beneficiaries.

5. Inception of CBI

Saint Kitts & Nevis was the first country in the world that rolled out CBI program in 1983. As a former British colony, the country wanted to kick-start the economic development with the financial aid from the foreign investors.

Below given is the table of the timeline of when the respective CBIs were started:

6. Taxation

Caribbean CIB programs are often marketed as tax havens in the migration world, and truly so.

Post obtaining St. Lucia citizenship, if one plans to live more than 183 days in a year and become a tax resident, the income tax rate on global income may vary from zero to 30%. Same with Dominica citizenship program.

However, the information given is just indicative and superficial, and subject to change. It is advisable for the investors to consult their tax consultants before making up their mind.

Uglobal.com

7. Statistic and Demography

Many investors opt for Caribbean passports because of the ease of global mobility. However, this information is useful for those investors who actually look forward to resettle in the Caribbean countries.

Being the British colonies in the past, all Caribbean countries enjoy English as their primary language.

Dominica and Saint Kitts are the largest and smallest respectively in terms of area, whereas Saint Lucia and Saint Kitts and the most and least populated respectively.

Dominica, by the virtue of being large in area and less populated, is the least dense country among the five.

Grenada and Saint Kitts have the highest and the lowest unemployment rate in the region.

A country scores a higher level of HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the gross national income GNI (PPP) per capita is higher. Clearly, Grenada and Saint Kitts enjoy this feat among the five whereas Saint Lucia ranks the lowest.

8. Economy

Economy-wise, measured in GDP (PPP), Saint Lucia is the largest economy and Dominica is the smallest in the region. On per-capita basis, Saint Kitts and Antigua are the most prosperous, and Dominica the least.

Inflation-wise, Saint Lucia has the highest inflation rate whereas Saint Kitts is heading towards deflation.

Investor must look at the local economies, its flourishing industries, and its government’s economic policies, shown above in the table, and match it with their past experience and core competencies before zeroing-in the country of choice in the Caribbean islands.

Sumit Singh (ssingh@artoncapital.com) is an Advisor with Arton Capital and Associate Member of Investment Migration Council

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Sumit Singh

Expert in Investment Migration Programs | Advisor with Arton Capital, Dubai | Associate Member of Investment Migration Council (IMC) | SEBI Registered Advisor