Real estate is considered one of the best investment options around the world. Aside from value appreciation, it can also provide you with an alternative source of income when you rent out your property. Making real estate your business can also help you save on taxes, thanks to tax incentives and benefits offered to rental property owners.
If this isn’t enough reason for you to want to invest in real estate, you might want to take a look at the Antigua citizenship by investment program.
Several perks are granted to people who get approved for economic citizenship via three investment options, including real estate investment. Tax benefits, should you decide to become a permanent resident and taxpayer, include savings on capital gains and estate taxes, and no tax for personal income earned inside or outside the country. You can also enjoy the freedom to travel to more than 150 jurisdictions without the need for a visa.
Interested? Read on to learn more about how you can become an economic citizen of Antigua through its real estate investment program.
Investing in real estate to gain lifetime dual citizenship is a straightforward process in Antigua and so are the requirements. The most basic qualifications include:
- Being 18 years of age
- Capacity to invest the minimum amount as stipulated in the program
- Connection to a licensed local agent who will serve as a liaison for the application process
Aside from solo applicants, families can also apply for economic citizenship. Among the approved dependents are:
- the main applicant’s legal spouse;
- biological or adopted children aged under 18;
- children aged between 18 and 26 years who are still studying full time and are fully dependent on the primary applicant; and
- parents or grandparents aged 58 years or older who are living with and completely dependent on the primary applicant.
How Much Will It Cost?
One of the most important considerations you must think about before applying for economic citizenship is the minimum value of real estate to be acquired set by the law.
The investment required by the Antiguan government should be worth at least $200,000. This applies to both single applicants and families with a maximum of four members.
The processing fee is pegged at $50,000. However, families with more than four members would need to pay a higher total charge due to the $15,000 increment for every additional dependent added.
Aside from the cost of procuring government-sanctioned real estate properties, you would also need to pay other fees, such as:
- Government Fee – Ten percent of this non-refundable fee charge for every family member is paid upon the submission of application, with the remaining balance settled upon receipt of the approval letter.
- Due Diligence Fee – Thisfee is used to verify the veracity of the application documents submitted to the Antiguan government. It must be paid upon the submission of the papers for each family member, except children aged 11 years and below.
What is the Timeline for the Application Process?
To apply for citizenship by real estate investment in Antigua, you need to have a licensed agent to submit your documents and receive correspondence from the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU).
After submitting your papers, you and the agent need to wait at least 90 days for the government to complete due diligence checks. The process may take as long as six months, depending on the complexity of your individual case.
So, Why Real Estate?
Real estate is still one of the best options for investors and entrepreneurs to achieve financial independence. Investing in Caribbean real estate development, in particular, offers more benefits you can take advantage of to gain a whole new level of freedom, both in terms of your wealth and lifestyle.
Some of the things to consider when assessing citizenship-approved properties are:
- Investing at the higher end of the market (a share of a luxury villa is better than a small property in a secondary location with dubious rental or resale potential)
- Proven quality (newly-constructed is best)
- Desirable location (waterfront properties or those near the beach are best, or inside an operating resort)
- Operated by an experienced team
- The ideal is newly-built and earning rental income and if not, you need absolute faith in the developer. Ask them lots of questions!
- Does the developer have proven experience and success in the Caribbean and elsewhere?
- Will the property sell easily in the future to the lifestyle market (i.e. wealthy Europeans and North Americans who are not looking for citizenship)?
After thoroughly vetting your property developer and ensuring that the property is well-located and constructed to high standards, you can expect a 2 to 4% rental return annually from a property that is also well-managed.
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment into the Caribbean. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.