Frequently Asked Questions

Have a read through some of our most asked questions

Is citizenship by investment legal?

Yes it is legal, and moreover most countries have provisions that allow their Government to grant citizenship in return for major contributions to society, culture, the economy, and other interests of the State.

There are currently seven countries which offer citizenship-by-investment programs that provide a direct route to citizenship based on investment: Austria, Antigua and Barbuda, Cyprus, Dominica, Grenada, Malta, and St. Kitts and Nevis.

Citizenship-by-Investment programs offer you the opportunity to legally acquire a new nationality and an alternative or second passport quickly and simply, without major disruption to your life.

Is Citizens International authorised to assist me in a citizenship or residency application?

Yes. Citizens International is a white-glove specialist firm assisting individuals and families to obtain citizenship and/or residency in the Caribbean, Canada and Europe. In addition to our in-house lawyers and career professionals, we work extensively with a network of trusted partners to ensure smooth process and a high performance service to all our clientele.

We are an Authorised Representative and have exclusive relationships with country-specific licensed professionals that together allow us to give our clients an expert service. We endeavour to keep our costs reasonable for clients and focus on superior on-the-ground expertise.

What is the cost of Citizens International's services?

Costs vary according to the program and service required however in general when compared to other service providers, we are in the mid-range for professional service fees. We offer an extremely personalised service level and endeavour to go above and beyond in all our efforts.  We are also 100% transparent in our dealings with clients and are located on the ground in the jurisdiction. No intermediaries.

What can you offer me that is unique?

Citizens International has a unique knowledge of the investment potential and opportunities in the Caribbean specifically. We have placed millions of dollars of investment into new real estate projects and new businesses in the region, the latter offering excellent early investor returns. The diligence packages on these opportunities are extremely detailed and usually time limited.

Is the Caribbean region stable and will my passport hold value?

With its stunning scenery and vibrant cultures drawing visitors from across the globe, the Caribbean is one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

The Caribbean has an educated, multilingual workforce and sophisticated financial systems, and is a short hop to the United States, Mexico and other large markets. The region has big potential to further develop its services, logistics, agriculture, creative and digital sectors.

Rich ocean resources drive the “blue economy” in these markets. While the small size of these countries can prove challenging, it also means they can respond quickly to opportunities for innovation and to improve their competitiveness.

The key to maintaining the value of their passports in terms of visa-free travel privileges is to ensure that they are very selective about who is granted citizenship so as not to give other countries a reason to impose a visa.  The governments are acutely aware of this and contract third party U.S. firms to vet their clients.

Which is the best Caribbean program?

Each client’s individual situation is different. If you are obtaining a new passport for easier travel, each Caribbean passport is broadly similar however if you’d like visa-free travel to Russia and China, Grenada is the only one that offers it.

Antigua currently offers the best value for money for a family application. And underpinning their sustainability is the fact that the country  has a large number of international residents and visitors, and is relatively affluent in the Caribbean region from its high-end tourism industry and as a transportation hub.

Antigua has the strictest due diligence and restricts 7 countries from applying altogether (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, North Korea, Somalia and Sudan). There is no fast track option and their due diligence is contracted out to two US-based companies. Both Antigua and Grenada in our experience take their diligence requirements extremely seriously.

What is helpful about having a Commonwealth passport?

Being a citizen of a member of the Commonwealth of Nations brings several benefits. For example, you will be able to travel easily across member states, you will be protected by the embassies and commissions of other member states across the globe, and you will be eligible for certain sporting activities (the Commonwealth Games).

The Commonwealth of Nations, often referred to as the Commonwealth, and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of 54 independent member states. Queen Elisabeth II, the current Queen of the United Kingdom, is the titular head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Why did Citizens International choose Antigua for its headquarters?

Antigua has the region’s newest and busiest international airport, with the most direct flights from North America and Europe, and its first Special Economic Zone. The country has a relatively young PM who is quite entrepreneurial and the government is very stable since its independence in 1981, changing three times since with the current administration receiving a new five-year mandate in 2018.

There are a lot of international people in Antigua, and celebrities like Eric Clapton and Giorgio Armani have been long term residents. Robert De Niro is an economic envoy for the country, and it is also the home of the region’s Chinese Embassy, and as of 2019, the home of the British Consulate for the Eastern Caribbean. We believe all of these things make the island more stable and internationally-conscious and less likely to see abrupt change.

On a more personal level, we chose to locate our Caribbean base in Antigua because the island’s natural infrastructure, restaurants, business population and lifestyle make it, in our minds, the top high-end island for investment and lifestyle. It offers an interesting mix of international people especially on the south coast which has been a yachting mecca since the 1960s and is also one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean with historic forts and buildings dotted along the dramatic coastline made up of beautiful bays.

In short, we are in love with Antigua!

How long will it take to achieve citizenship or permanent residency?

The timeframe to approval varies from 3 to 4 months in some of the Caribbean jurisdictions, to 12 months or more in Malta in order to obtain a European passport. Permanent residency is usually faster and can be obtained within 3 to 6 months.

Who can apply for citizenship in the Caribbean?

Individuals over 18 years old, their spouses, children and parents, meeting the due diligence and investment requirements can apply for citizenship under the Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs with one application.

When do I get my passport?

Government approvals and processing may take about 3-6 months from the submission of your application. Processing time can be more or less efficient depending on the jurisdiction selected.

Does my family qualify for citizenship as well?

Yes. Your family can also obtain citizenship under your application. Qualified dependents can include parents and children (minimum and maximum age restrictions apply) with additional government fees payable.

Do I have to visit the jurisdiction before I am granted citizenship?

No visit is required prior to citizenship being granted under the Caribbean programs, however in Antigua, a minimum five-day visit is required within the first five years, during which, each new citizen must make an oath/affirmation of allegiance.

In Malta and Ireland a visit is recommended prior to application and our team can assist in organising your trip and host you while there.

How long is the passport valid for?

Citizenship is granted in perpetuity and the first passport is generally valid for five years and renewable thereafter.

Will I have to pay tax in my second citizenship country?

Once you are granted citizenship, you are not liable for personal income tax in the jurisdiction unless you decide to become a tax resident, which requires a minimum physical residency period each year.

All the jurisdictions are low tax nations and in the case of Antigua there is no personal income tax at all. Permanent Residency for the purposes of becoming tax resident requires a minimum physical residency period per year usually of 6 months per year depending on the jurisdiction.

We advise all clients looking for tax advice to speak to our tax consultant partner in Antigua Grant Thornton and we connect each of those clients with the lead tax advisor at the firm.

Is there a mandatory residency requirement each year?

There is no mandatory residency requirement except in the case of Antigua which requires new clients to spend five days in the first five years. We recommend all new citizens visit Antigua regardless to take the oath of allegiance, check on their investment and familiarise themselves with their second home nation. The Citizens International concierge team can organise a bespoke 5-day trip for you and your family at your convenience.

Will I lose my fees if my application is rejected?

In the event that an application is rejected, the government application fee deposit paid upon submission and all of the government due diligence fees will be lost. These are the fees payable upon submission of the application to the respective Citizenship Investment Unit. Legal fees to your Licensed Agent such as Citizens International, who will submit the application and represent you throughout the process, may be lost depending on the the reason for the rejection (for example: if a client lies or omits information required in a government application form).

Can I add dependents after I am granted citizenship?

Some of the governments including Antigua and St. Kitts made provision for additional dependents to be added within the first five years of citizenship. Dependents must fall within the stipulated parameters i.e. children of a certain age or student status, newly adopted children, new born children, new spouse. The process can take up to three months and additional application and due diligence fees apply. An additional investment amount may also be required if the investment route on which the original application was based was a donation to a government fund.

PROGRAMS

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA

Commonwealth citizenship
Best value of the Caribbean programs
Average 4 months processing time
From US$ 150,000

CANADA

Permanent Residency
Citizenship possible in due course
Entrepreneur Investor Opportunities
From US$ 300,000

DOMINICA

Commonwealth citizenship
Popular option
Average 5 months processing time
From US$ 135,000

GRENADA

Commonwealth citizenship
Visa-free access Europe, Russia & China
Qualify for USA E-2 visa application
From US$ 250,000

IRELAND

Residency by investment
Fastest growing economy in Europe
Average 6 months processing time
From € 1,000,000

MALTA

Residency or citizenship
Most popular European program
Average 12 months processing time
From EUR 275,000

ST. KITTS & NEVIS

Commonwealth citizenship
Oldest of the Caribbean programs
Average 4 months processing time
From US$ 150,000

ST LUCIA

Commonwealth citizenship
Newest of the Caribbean programs
Average 6-8 months processing time
From US$ 100,000

VIEW ALL PROGRAMS