Choosing the right Caribbean citizenship by investment program for your family

By Michelle Hammond

There's nothing quite like a Caribbean beach. The sparkling blue water, the soft white sand, the palm trees swaying in the breeze... but, did you know that the Caribbean is also a popular destination for obtaining a second passport through various citizenship by investment programs?

The Caribbean is a treasure trove of nations, five of which offer citizenship by investment (CBI) programs. These include Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, and Grenada. Each boasting its own unique culture and set of benefits whether you wish to island hop as a resident, take advantage of a developing regional economy or simply secure a Plan B.

Citizenship by investment in the Caribbean provides access to many advantages that can't be found anywhere else, but with so many programs to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? Below are some tips for choosing the right CBI program and passport for you and your family.


Citizenship by investment, also known as a CBI, is a government-sponsored initiative that allows foreign investors to obtain citizenship and a passport in exchange for making a qualifying investment within their economy.

There are many CBI programs around the world, and each one has its own requirements and benefits. While the programs vary from country to country, it typically involves making a donation or an investment in real estate, business, or government bonds. While CBI programs have been around for decades, they have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the global economic climate. The Caribbean offers the top 5 CBI programs with their fast track processes and reputable passports and attract high net worth individuals who are looking to diversify their passport portfolio.


Creating an offshore lifestyle is now a priority for many individuals and families around the globe. Internationalizing oneself, through citizenship and residency planning, is a key step in today’s ever-changing environment. For many people, a second passport is seen as a status symbol, however, there are actually a number of practical benefits that come with having a second citizenship.

A second passport can greatly increase your global mobility. Depending on the country of your second citizenship, you may have access to a wider network of visa-free travel options, making it easier to work and live abroad. The five Caribbean CBI programs offer investors a strong passport granting visa-free access to over 140 countries including Europe, United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Along with access to more countries, applicants may live, work, and study in their new country of citizenship as well as any member country of the CARICOM Community in the Caribbean.

Holding a second passport can open up new opportunities for business and investment. It can provide access to banking and financial services in multiple jurisdictions. It can also provide a way to optimize your taxes, as certain countries offer more favorable tax regimes for foreign investors.

For many people, the process of obtaining citizenship can be a long and arduous one. However, the CBI programs in the Caribbean offer a fast-track process where applicants can obtain citizenship along with a passport in 3-6 months. Applications can be submitted through a local agent, without the need for the applicants to ever visit the country. In addition, citizenship is granted in all cases without residency requirements - with the exception of Antigua & Barbuda, which requires applicants to visit the Island for a minimum of 5 days within 5 years of becoming a citizen.

Another great advantage of the CBI programs in the Caribbean is that the investment is only required after the application is pre-approved.


Reputation and strength of passport

The Caribbean is politically stable and the passports issued by Caribbean nations are well-regarded. As a result, they offer visa-free travel to a large number of countries, including Europe, United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Additionally, Grenada and more recently Dominica, allow visa-free access to China. The move is aimed at boosting tourism and business ties with China, one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

The Grenada CBI program is the best option for investors looking to relocate to the United States.  It offers successful applicants the opportunity to relocate under the E2-Treaty visa which allows applicants to live and work in the United States.

Financial feasibility and investment options

Citizenship by investment programs allow investors to choose from a variety of investment options, including purchasing property, government bonds, or making a donation.

Donations made through CBI programs are used to support a wide range of public projects, including education, health care, and infrastructure development. Donations start at US$100 000 for Dominica, St Lucia and Antigua & Barbuda and US$150 000 for St Kitts & Nevis and Grenada for a single applicant. The amount increases as additional dependents are included within the application.

Alternatively, applicants can proceed with a real estate investment in a government-approved project in the tourism sector. Tourism projects include options of investing in shares, whole or fractional ownership in some of the most luxurious hotels in the Caribbean. St Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda and St Lucia require a minimum investment of US$200,000 whereas Grenada requires $220,000. Real estate projects can offer a return on investment and investors can sell their investment once the investment holding period is met – 3 years for Dominica, 5 years for St Lucia, Grenada, and Antigua & Barbuda, and 7 years for St Kitts & Nevis.

If you're looking for a business opportunity instead, Antigua & Barbuda and St Lucia offer the option of investing in an approved enterprise investment starting at $1.5 million and $3 million respectively.

In addition to offering business opportunities, Antigua & Barbuda and St Lucia each offer an additional and unique investment option to choose from. In Antigua & Barbuda, applicants have the option of proceeding with the university fund (UWI). The UWI Fund focuses on the advancement of education within the country. The financial contribution starts at $150,000 and will include a scholarship for one of the family members included in the application for their first year of studies. In St Lucia, applicants have the option of proceeding with the government bond. This is a non-interest-bearing bond and the funds will be returned to the applicant after a set period of time. Bonds start at $300,000 for 5 years, under the current Covid-bond relief program.

Family members

A great advantage of the CBI programs in the Caribbean, is the ability to include family members within the same application. This means that you can obtain citizenship not only for yourself, but also for your spouse, children, parents, and siblings as well as future spouses and children.

In all the CBI programs, spouses and children up to the age of 30 can be included within the same application. Children must be unwed and have no children of their own. In addition, Dominica requires proof of enrollment in an institute of higher learning for male children ages 18-30 and female children ages 18-25.

In order for parents to qualify within the same application, they must be over the age of 55 years for St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia and Antigua and over the age of 65 years for Dominica. Grenada currently does not impose any age restrictions.

Age restrictions are not imposed on siblings for the St Lucia and Grenada CBI programs. Siblings must be under the age of 30 years for St Kitts & Nevis and under 18 years of age for St Lucia. Dominica recently announced that siblings are no longer considered qualified dependents and cannot be included within the same application.

Tax benefits

If you're looking for a way to reduce your tax liability, you may want to consider becoming a tax resident of another jurisdiction with a favorable tax regime. The Caribbean is one of the best regions in the world for this, and there are several ways to qualify for tax residency through the citizenship by investment programs. However, many people are surprised to learn that citizenship in a Caribbean country (with the exception of St Kitts & Nevis) does not confer automatic tax residency. Individuals must comply with certain criteria set by each jurisdiction to obtain official tax residency status though it is usually fairly straightforward process. Once obtained, tax residents enjoy a number of advantages, including lower taxes and more relaxed financial reporting requirements. It should be noted, however, that tax residency in the Caribbean does not exempt individuals from their tax obligations in their home countries and it is essential to work with both local and international tax experts to create a comprehensive tax planning strategy to minimize your overall tax burden while remaining compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

Comparison of tax benefits in the Caribbean islands


Applicants for the CBI programs must be at least 18 years old and hold a clean criminal record. The Caribbean islands conduct thorough due diligence to ensure only high-moral standing applicants can continue on with their application processes. This includes providing personal documentation such as passports, birth certificates, educational certifications and proof of funds.

Once the paperwork is complete, the originals must be submitted by a local authorized agent, as required by law, along with the associated government fees to the CBI-Unit. The typical timeframe to review an application is 2-3 months, at which point, successful applicants will receive a letter of pre-approval with instructions on how to proceed with the chosen investment option.

Upon clearance of the investment amount, the CBI-Unit will issue the certificate of citizenship and proceed with the issuance of the passports.


Each Caribbean passport offers many similar benefits and advantages, however, each island offers distinct features which may be better suited to meet your personal needs and goals. Some benefits may be more valuable than others and each factor must be weighed and taken into consideration when choosing the right citizenship by investment program. No matter which program you choose, always do your due diligence to ensure the investment and citizenship process is legitimate and that the benefits of Caribbean citizenship are right for you and your family.

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About the Author

Michelle Hammond
Michelle Hammond
Michelle Hammond, Offshore Circle's vice president, is a global citizen with years of experience in the industry. She is well-equipped to lead Offshore Circle into the future and is known for her dedication to providing excellent customer service and building relationships with clients. Offshore Circle help their clients increase their personal and financial freedom through a range of robust offshore strategies, including citizenship and residency by investment programs in Panama and around the world, as well as wealth and asset protection strategies.

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