Antigua’s New Economic Citizenship Program Announced
Looking for a second passport? The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is just launching a new economic citizenship program, designed to compete with those of St Kitts and Nevis and the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Remember how I always said it will become more difficult to get a second passport? Well it actually appears I was wrong – at least according to our friend and second citizenship guru Robert Martin of NTL Immigration. Another Caribbean nation has just announced a new economic citizenship program, while Europe has announced wider visa-free travel for citizens of some others.
ANTIGUA’S NEW ECONOMIC CITIZENSHIP PROGRAM
Whilst Grenada kept us on tenterhooks for a year and has still not finalized its mooted economic citizenship program, Antigua and Barbuda was quietly planning one, that is now in the final stages of parliamentary approval.
The island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has been involved in offshore banking for decades, and is well known and respected in offshore e-commerce circles, as well as being well known for cricket. Now it is launching a new economic citizenship program.
Robert sent me over a copy of the draft law, and from this it appears that Antigua’s program is basically a copy of the long-running St Kitts and Nevis citizenship program, with real estate or donation options. Interestingly, however, Antigua also allows for qualification via investment in an active business.
For Antigua, unlike St Kitts and Nevis, there is a physical presence requirement, albeit not a particularly onerous one: new citizens must spend at least 70 days in total physically in the country, during the five years following the grant of citizenship – otherwise the passport won’t be renewed!
MORE VISA-FREE TRAVEL FOR DOMINICA
More good news from the Commonwealth of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic.) The European Union announced that citizens of Dominica will now be able to travel visa-free to the Schengen area, that covers pretty much all of Western Europe.
Whilst St Kitts and Nevis, as well as Antigua, have visa free travel to this area already, Dominican citizens previously had to obtain visas. Now, Commonwealth of Dominica passport holders will be able to enter the Schengen zone for up to 90 days visa-free.
A lot of left-leaning opponents to economic citizenship come up with arguments against “selling passports” based on the idea that big governments don’t like it, and it could mean less visa-free travel for their citizens. We have already heard opposition figures in Antigua voicing this claim. However, the EU’s announcement about Dominica actually shows us how wrong they are.
The fact is, holders of passports issued under economic citizenship programs tend to be well-respected, high net worth individuals who are also smart businesspeople. They are very desirable tourists who typically have a lot of disposable income and are extremely unlikely to overstay their welcome. If you had spent quarter of a million on a new passport, would you risk getting your new travel document blacklisted by overstaying your tourist visa? No, of course not… more likely you would be the business type who rarely stays in any single country more than a week or two.
It’s probably not coincidence that the European Union has made a decision to welcome economic citizens from Dominica. The move is specifically touted as designed to increase tourism in Europe.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS?
Unlike a few weeks ago, we now have three Caribbean island nations competing to sell citizenships on an almost equal footing. All now have access to the UK, Ireland and the Schengen area (including Switzerland) visa-free.
This is a timely reminder, however, that visa requirements can change at any time, often without notice. This change is favorable – but the pendulum can equally swing the other way.
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