Interview Although there is no mandatory interview requirement, in rare cases it is possible that a government may require you to attend an interview in order to explain certain elements of your application. Second Passport Only once becoming a citizen can the process for applying for a second passport begin. This process is entirely separate to the citizenship by investment application. In Dominica, for example, the process requires several documents including a certificate of naturalisation which is given to the applicant once they are approved as citizens.
Due Diligence All applicants for citizenship by investment must undergo stringent due diligence checks. Where such checks cannot be completed because of instability in an applicant’s country of origin or because of an uncooperating or unreliable government, Caribbean countries bar applications altogether. Excluded Nationalities In Antigua and Barbuda, for example, citizens of Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are restricted from applying to the programme unless they migrated before the age of majority or they have maintained permanent residence outside of a restricted country for 10 or more years and maintain no economic ties to the country.
Investment Options It varies, but all Caribbean countries offer the option to make a direct contribution to the government or invest in government-approved real estate. Direct contributions are usually made to a fund such as the Sustainable Growth Fund in St Kitts and Nevis and are non-refundable. Usually, these funds are then channelled into national development projects. For example, in Dominica, the Economic Diversification Fund was used to fund important socio-economic initiatives including constructing weather-resistant housing and a geothermal plant. Real Estate Real estate investments must be made in property that has been pre-selected by the government such as hotels and resorts. They come in the form of a purchase and sale agreement between that applicant and the owner of the real estate property. Under the real estate arm, applicants are required to pay a government fee to the relevant government. All citizenship by investment countries in the Caribbean, require investors in real estate to hold that property for a minimum period ranging from three to seven years depending on the country. Antigua and Barbuda and St Lucia Antigua and Barbuda and St Lucia, however, offer more options than a direct contribution or investment in real estate. In Antigua and Barbuda, for example, investors can choose to make an independent or joint investment in a business or donate to the University of the West Indies fund. In St Lucia, investors can invest in an enterprise or purchase government bonds. The type of investment that an applicant chooses depends on their specific needs and requirements. CS Global Partners helps its clients make informed decisions that take this into consideration.
Most Caribbean countries will only require you to make the investment once you have received an ‘approval in principle’. That is when you have passed the government’s stringent due diligence checks and have received a letter indicating that you can become a citizen. Once you have completed the citizenship by investment application process, the applicant also receives a citizenship certificate and can thus begin their second passport application.
Affordable options The answer depends on how many people you are applying with. However, for a single applicant, the most affordable option is a contribution of US$100,000 to the Dominican government or a contribution of $100,000 to St Lucia’s National Economic Fund. Although Antigua and Barbuda only requires a contribution of US$100,000 to its National Development Fund it also levies a US$30,000 government processing fee. Most citizenship by investment programme also include due diligence fees and processing fees. The overall affordable cost to obtain second citizenship, including additional fees, is Dominica and St Lucia. Acquiring a Caribbean second citizenship is one of the most affordable routes within the industry, the programmes also offer the most family-friendly options.
Cost of second citizenship The overall cost of a second citizenship ultimately depends on the country’s programme. Citizenship by investment fees can vary, even in the Caribbean. Every Caribbean country charges due diligence fees to cover the cost of performing high level due diligence on each applicant. Main applicants usually pay $7,500 for due diligence whereas the fees for family members are lower and in most cases no fee is levied for children under the age of 16. Some, but not all, Caribbean countries charge processing fees and application fees and some include bank transaction fees and VAT. Grenada Vs Antigua & Barbuda Grenada is the only country to levy fees on spouses even when they are not included in a citizenship by investment application. Payment of a government fee is required by all applicants who choose the real estate investment route. However, Antigua and Barbuda charges government processing fees on both direct contributions and real estate investments. In Antigua and Barbuda, 10% of these fees are due upon submission and are non-refundable.
Length of process Because citizenship by investment programmes offer citizenship and not residence, successful applicants can skip the five to six year minimum residence that other investment immigration routes generally require. In the Caribbean, the entire process from submission of an application to receipt of approval in principle takes from between three to six months. St Kitts and Nevis St Kitts and Nevis offers a more costly 60 day accelerated application process. For main applicants, the accelerated application process costs $25,000 including due diligence fees which would normally cost the main applicant $7,500. Granted that an applicant can successfully pass the due diligence checks, St Kitts and Nevis has the world’s quickest citizenship timeline – as ranked by the annual CBI Index.
To obtain a second passport you must first become a citizen. The citizenship by investment process ends with you receiving a certificate of registration or naturalisation. You or your representative must then take your certificate of registration or naturalisation along with other documents such as your birth certificate to the relevant passport office or embassy in order to begin your second passport process. This whole process takes around one week.
Passport Validity Most citizenship by investment countries issue adult ordinary passports that are valid for a period of ten years. However, for children under 16, a passport must be renewed in five years, as is the case in Dominica. Antigua & Barbuda In Antigua and Barbuda, however, applicants for citizenship by investment are issued passports that are valid for a period of five years and will only be renewed if the applicant can demonstrate that they have fulfilled the oath of allegiance and residence requirements associated with the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Programme.