Important factors to consider in residence planning
The Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship-by-Investment Unit (CIU), the government authority responsible for administering the program, is responsible for the processing of all applications. The CIU examines the application thoroughly and, if deemed necessary, may request the applicant to attend an interview.
The CIU undertakes strict due diligence checks and will decline an application if the applicant makes a false statement or omits any relevant information in the application.
The applicant must apply on the prescribed government forms, which can only be submitted through an agent who is the holder of a citizenship-by-investment program license granted under the regulations.
The applicant is required to personally complete the form in English and submit the prescribed forms together with original or certified supporting documentation, as specified by the government.
The documentary requirements of the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship-by-Investment Program are reasonable, and the procedures are quite straightforward. It is recommended that investors visit the islands before making a decision on the purchase of real estate. Once the application is approved, passports can be collected in Antigua and Barbuda or the applicant may visit an embassy or the office of any high commission or consulate of Antigua and Barbuda, or similar, as may be specified from time to time by the minister, to both collect their passports and to take the oath or affirmation of allegiance.
It is estimated that the process will take between three and four months from submission of the application to issuance of the passport, assuming there are no areas of concern with the application. The regulations specify that, within three months of the submission of an application to the CIU, the CIU shall notify the licensed agent working on behalf of the main applicant in writing that the application has been approved, denied, or delayed for cause and is still being processed. There is a requirement to reside in Antigua and Barbuda for a minimum of five days during the first five years of obtaining citizenship.
Under the real estate option, the time frame may vary depending on the project. Therefore, it is important to select a real estate project that is able to provide the necessary paperwork required from the developer for the citizenship application.
If the real estate option is selected, it is important for an applicant to be aware of the investment potential, financial strength, track record, and reputation of the developer before committing to the property. Once the applicant has chosen their preferred real estate, a sales and purchase contract is signed, which is usually conditional upon the person receiving citizenship. After approval by the government, the real estate purchase is completed and the ownership title transferred to the buyer. Applicants under the real estate option should also ascertain from the developer whether there are additional purchase and/or closing costs and the amount of those costs, prior to entering into any purchase contact.
Within 30 days of notification of approval, the applicant shall pay the balance of the processing fees and fulfill one of the following three requirements:
Deposit the required contribution into the National Development Fund.
Complete and execute all necessary documents and pay the purchase price and all required disbursements to enable the title to be registered in the applicant’s name and allow for the implementation of the proposed real estate investment in accordance with the guidelines established by the CIU.
Complete and execute all necessary documentation for the payment or investment of all sums due for the implementation of the proposed business investment in accordance with the guidelines established by the CIU.