Antigua and Barbuda’s passport, granting visa-free access to more than 150 global destinations, is renowned as one of the world’s most influential travel documents.
Recognizing this advantage, the Caribbean nation decided to follow suit with its neighboring countries by instituting a citizenship by investment (CBI) program in 2013.
The program required a minimum investment of $100,000 per primary applicant and quickly proved to be a lucrative endeavor for the nation, especially given its heavy reliance on tourism. Until the year 2023, this initiative faced minimal challenges. However, following the Russian war in Ukraine, policymakers in both the United States and the European Union started closely scrutinizing Caribbean CBI programs, apprehensive that these programs might serve as potential loopholes for Russian oligarchs seeking a convenient and visa-free gateway into their territories.
This heightened scrutiny prompted both the U.S. and EU to make specific demands of Antigua and Barbuda, as well as other Caribbean nations. Their demands primarily centered around bolstering the due diligence processes associated with their CBI programs and limiting Russians’ access to these initiatives.
Officials within Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) viewed their discussions with the EU and the U.S. positively. Sherelyn Hughes Thomas, the Deputy CEO of Antigua and Barbuda’s Citizenship by Investment Unit expressed their stance, stating, “In fact, a number of those agreements are things that we have in place already”.
Regarding Russian applicants, Antigua and Barbuda demonstrated swift action by becoming one of the first Caribbean nations to halt the processing of their applications. This decision was made when the Russian-Ukrainian conflict erupted in March 2022. According to the latest statistics published by the CIU, no Russian applications were approved in the latter half of 2022, emphasizing the nation’s commitment to align with international concerns and expectations in this regard.
In conclusion, Antigua and Barbuda’s CBI program, initially designed to boost its economic fortunes, has faced increased scrutiny in the wake of international geopolitical events. Nonetheless, the nation’s willingness to cooperate with the U.S. and EU in tightening program regulations demonstrates its commitment to maintaining the integrity of the program while aligning with international expectations. This proactive approach ensures that Antigua and Barbuda continue to benefit from its CBI program while addressing global concerns related to security and transparency. The program remains as strong as ever.
If you’d like to learn more about citizenship by investment in Antigua and Barbuda, please reach out to our team of licensed agents on the ground.