The Caribbean is the grandfather of second citizenship. It's where citizenship-by-investment was born, and remains one of the most popular second citizenship destinations today.
But which of the top five Caribbean programmes is best for you?
All five deliver citizenship in exchange for investment. All five grant an impressive second passport that makes international travel simple and fuss-free. All five offer security; a guaranteed home-from-home whenever you want it. And all five boast attractive tax regimes that safeguard your wealth for the future.
So how to choose between them?
Well, let's look at what makes each of these Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programmes unique, so you can decide which is the best fit for you.
The first Caribbean citizenship - St. Kitts and Nevis
If history matters to you, you'll be drawn to St. Kitts and Nevis - because citizenship-by-investment all started here. Back in 1984, this beautiful dual-island nation introduced the first citizenship-by-investment programme in the world, and the world hasn't looked back since.
Back in 1984, this beautiful dual-island nation introduced the first citizenship-by-investment programme in the world, and the world hasn't looked back since.
With St. Kitts and Nevis, you get the security of longevity.
But what else do you get when you invest here? And what investment is required to secure citizenship?
As you might expect from any citizenship-by-investment programme, a major benefit is a second passport that unlocks considerable global freedom. A St. Kitts and Nevis passport allows you to travel to 144 countries on visa-free or visa-on-arrival terms. This includes all of the Schengen area - so you can visit countries like Germany, Spain, and France without costly and frustrating visa restrictions and delays.
Add the business benefits - as a St. Kitts and Nevis citizen, you're exempt from all income, capital gains, inheritance and gift taxes - and you've got a very attractive proposition.
So let's consider the requirements. Second citizenship with St. Kitts and Nevis is a simple process, and takes just six months from start to finish. There are two investment options - either a non-refundable donation of USD 150,000 into a government fund, or USD 400,000 into real estate. You can resell this after only five years to recuperate your investment - and your citizenship is still guaranteed for life.
St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship is an investment in the rest of your life, and the life of future generations - for only USD 400,000 for five years. Put like that, it's little wonder the programme has become the blueprint for other citizenship-by-investment programmes all over the world.
The fastest Caribbean citizenship - Grenada
Grenada relaunched their new-and-improved second citizenship programme in 2013, and it has quickly become a major competitor for longer-running programmes like St. Kitts and Nevis.
As with St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenadian citizenship has huge implications for global mobility. As of January 2017, the Grenadian passport entitles you to travel to more than 120 countries on visa-free or visa-on-arrival terms. The Republic of China is an especially noteworthy inclusion on that list, as only 11 nationalities worldwide can access China visa-free.
Even more noteworthy is Grenada's status as a US treaty nation, allowing Grenadian citizens to apply for the US E2 Investor Visa. While Grenadian citizenship is no guarantee you'll secure the E2 visa, if you do you'll be entitled to live and work in the US for an additional investment of only USD 100,000. That could be a golden ticket onto American soil.
Even more noteworthy is Grenada's status as a US treaty nation, allowing Grenadian citizens to apply for the US E2 Investor Visa.
What really sets Grenada apart, though, is the speed of application. The other Caribbean programmes take a minimum of three months, but you can secure citizenship in Grenada in only 60 days. If you need second citizenship for your family and yourself fast, Grenada is a fantastic choice.
And it's on a par financially with the other Caribbean programmes, asking for a non-refundable donation of USD 150,000 into a government fund, or USD 350,000 into real estate. The kicker with real estate is, you can include your family for nominal additional fees. You need only hold it for three years before resale, and you and your family's citizenship can never be revoked.
The most business-friendly Caribbean citizenship - St Lucia
The St. Lucian second citizenship programme sets itself apart in a couple of ways. Firstly, it's incredibly cost-effective. You can secure citizenship here for only USD 100,000 non-refundable donation into the island's National Economic Fund - or USD 165,000 for you and your spouse - with the option to add dependants for an additional fee. Given the huge advantages of St. Lucian citizenship, that's an exceptionally good deal.
Secondly, the islands are a fantastic location for businesspeople. The World Bank's Doing Business Report ranks St. Lucia 8th in Latin America and the Caribbean for ease of doing business, and 1st amongst the Caribbean nations offering citizenship-by-investment. It also ranks 7th for starting a business, so if you're planning to grow your wealth then St. Lucia could be the Caribbean destination for you.
And you'll enjoy tax benefits too, so you can safeguard that wealth for the future. St. Lucia has favourable income tax rates and capital gains, inheritance and net wealth tax exemptions. You can easily travel to and from the island to conduct international business too, as St. Lucia boasts two well-connected international airports.
All those benefits are, of course, additional to the major benefit of citizenship here: a globally-respected passport that opens international doors. Within three months, you could be travelling to 123 countries on visa-free or visa-on-arrival terms, including most of Europe.
The most cost-effective Caribbean citizenship - Dominica
The Dominican second citizenship programme has been around since 1993, and it's long been one of the most desirable. Like the others we've discussed, Dominican citizenship entitles you to live and work on Dominica, and grants you a highly desirable second passport. Dominican passport holders can travel to 118 countries on visa-free or visa-on-arrival terms, including almost all of Europe.
Dominican citizens also enjoy highly favourable tax conditions including extensive exemptions, holidays and waivers. Dominica is one of the world's renowned tax havens.
Those are impressive advantages of Dominican second citizenship - but it's the investment criteria where Dominica really sets itself apart. All five Caribbean programmes are cost-effective, but the Dominican programme is especially so, thanks to generous financing options, guaranteed real estate returns, and an attractive resale clause.
To secure Dominican second citizenship, investors are looking at a USD 100,000 non-refundable donation or a USD 220,000 investment into real estate. This latter option is particularly popular, offering guaranteed returns up to 8% depending on which development you invest into; meanwhile some developers offer a 75% financing option and the cost-effective Dominican equation becomes clear. After five years you may be eligible to resell under the citizenship-by-investment programme.
The most relocation-worthy Caribbean citizenship - Antigua and Barbuda
Last but certainly not least, we've got Antigua and Barbuda. To secure citizenship here you must make a USD 250,000 non-refundable donation – or USD 100,000 if you apply before October 2018 – or invest USD 400,000 in real estate, or USD 1.5m in business.
Antigua and Barbuda citizens can travel to 131 countries visa-free or visa-on-arrival, making it one of the best Caribbean passports for international travel. The process takes as little as three months and you need only spend five days on the islands over five years to maintain your citizenship. There are otherwise no residency, language or interview requirements, so citizenship isn't difficult to achieve.
Antigua and Barbuda is especially popular amongst investors who're looking for a complete lifestyle change, as they're a globally-renowned relocation destination.
But that's not the only thing you'll love about Antigua and Barbuda. These islands are especially popular amongst investors who're looking for a complete lifestyle change, as they're a globally-renowned relocation destination.
What makes Antigua and Barbuda so popular amongst the international community? The islands are naturally beautiful for one thing, boasting an incredible 365 beaches - one for every day of the year, if you're so inclined. Then there's the internationally-famous yachting races and shows, which have contributed to the rhythm of life here.
The favourable tax conditions no doubt help as well, especially after Antigua and Barbuda abolished personal income tax in 2016. Various generous exemptions and holidays make Antigua and Barbuda attractive for anyone with wealth to protect.
Add the large and modern international airport - boasting direct links to many of the world's major business hubs - and the islands become an attractive base for international business. Antigua and Barbuda is only one paradise amongst many in the Caribbean but it's still a firm favourite amongst international investors.
Your choice, your future - the Caribbean is calling
Estimates suggest the global community spends around USD 2bn on second citizenship annually, and the Caribbean remains the sovereign of this particular kingdom. Each of these programmes brings a unique perspective but they're all united in offering life-changing benefits.
Whether you're interested in safeguarding your wealth, amplifying your global freedom or spending your days on white sand beaches, there's no such thing as a bad decision when it comes to Caribbean second citizenship.
Next Generation Equity specialises in dual citizenship-by-investment and residency-by-investment programmes around the world. To schedule a no obligation consultation.