To date, there are practically no secluded corners left on the planet where immigrants from the former Soviet republics have not settled. These “oases” also include the island states of the Caribbean, with the exception of Haiti, which is often called the “damned paradise” and not without reason, and the last stronghold of communism – Cuba.
Many of these states have long provided foreigners with citizenship in exchange for investment, as well as the opportunity to open offshore companies and thus minimize the tax burden on their business. You can become a holder of a passport from a number of countries for a relatively small amount, and it is not always necessary to purchase real estate on the islands for this.
Compared to European Malta or Cyprus, applicants for citizenship of such countries are subject to rather modest requirements, the main of which is the absence of a criminal record and financial claims from individuals or legal entities. But the list of preferences for such citizens is more than impressive, and freedom of movement (visa-free entry to 120-130 countries of the world) – especially under the conditions of restrictions that were introduced almost everywhere in the second quarter of 2020 – is only one of them.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a direct impact on the investment programs of most Caribbean countries, which have been forced to reduce fees and simplify the entire procedure. Among all the changes that have occurred to date, the following can be highlighted:
Antigua and Barbuda
As part of the program, which has been in effect since 2013, it was possible to obtain a second passport through a non-refundable payment to the National Development Fund (from 100 thousand USD), the purchase of real estate in certain regions (from 200 thousand USD in the case of group investments) or investments in the amount of 400 thousand USD to business projects approved by the state.
Now there is another investment option: a non-refundable contribution of $150,000 to the fund of a branch of the University of the West Indies, which operates a strong medical school. It is no coincidence that even Americans give higher education to their children here. The only condition is the participation of at least five more people, for the processing of personal data of each of whom you must pay 15,000 USD.
The local Citizenship by Investment program, operating since 1991, is one of the oldest and most reliable in the entire region and, at the same time, perhaps the most budgetary. It was possible to acquire a Dominica passport through a charitable contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund (100 thousand USD for one person and twice as much for a family of four) or by purchasing real estate for 200 thousand USD (in a group) or 400 thousand (individually).
Since July, the Dominican authorities have increased the list of family members who can count on receiving citizenship along with the main applicant. It now includes adult children under the age of 30, parents, brothers, sisters and even grandparents, but under one important condition – they must all be dependents and have no source of income. In addition, the contribution for a family of four has been reduced to 175 thousand USD.
Saint Kitts and Nevis
The investment program of this island state, which began operating back in 1984, has always been very popular among foreigners and has undergone a number of changes during this time. The last of them applies to July 2020 and will be valid until January 1, 2021. Now the amount of the non-refundable contribution for a family of four will be the same as for one applicant – 150 thousand USD instead of 195 thousand.
True, this action did not affect another option – the acquisition of real estate in state-approved projects, which are usually located in resort areas. In the case of collective investments, the amount is 200 thousand US dollars, and for an individual purchase – 400 thousand.
Although Saint Lucia only launched its Citizenship by Investment passport project in 2016, it was in high demand almost immediately. First of all, this happened due to a wide selection of options, which implied not only a non-refundable payment to the National Economic Fund (from 100,000 USD) or the purchase of real estate (from 300,000 USD), but also such options as the purchase of government securities for a period of more than 5 years (from 500,000 USD) and investments in business projects in approved sectors of the economy (over 3.5 million USD).
From July until the end of this year, a Saint Lucian passport will be issued to investors who have invested not 500 thousand, but half as much, in a special fund to combat the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19 Relief Bond). The size of the non-refundable contribution for couples and families with children was reduced by approximately 25%, and the payment for adding close relatives to the list of participants (this now includes minor brothers and sisters, as well as parents over 55 years of age) was reduced from 25 to 15 thousand per person.
The above list should not be taken as a direct guide to action, since there are other countries in the region that offer wealthy foreigners the opportunity to acquire local passports. First of all, these are Grenada, Aruba, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Moreover, due to the changed reality, the entire procedure for processing documents can be completed online.