Learn about our client, Katie Cooper and why she chose to become a citizen of Antigua & Barbuda with her husband with this interview.
You worked for the BBC for 30 years, and for the past 15 years, you have been what we would call a “global citizen”. Can you tell us a bit about your life before coming to Antigua?
I met my husband just after leaving BBC. I had bout myself a ruined house in Corfu, which I discovered whilst sailing in Greece. I always wanted a home abroad – little did I know that my final destination would be the Caribbean!
What brought you to Antigua, and what was your first impressions of the island?
Simon and I share a love for travelling, cricket and rugby. In fact, it was cricket that first brought us to Antigua in 2019, where England suffered an embarrassing loss to the excellent West Indies. Despite this, our love affair with Antigua was underway. We made some fantastic local friends with whom we stayed in touch. Their joy of life and openness was some we just loved. The rum punch was pretty good too! Fast forward to 2020, we found ourselves in Barbados just as borders were being closed down. Seeing the situation back in Europe, we chose to come to Antigua instead. I clearly remember Simon saying, “Well, this will make or break our Antiguan dreams.”
Why did you want Antigua & Barbuda citizenship, and why the National Development Fund option?
We loved our time in Antigua, and with the restrictions in place, we became even more integrated with the local shops and stalls. Out 90 days whizzed by, and so we renewed our visas. However, we soon realised we wanted to “belong” and decided to seek citizenship. We chose to donate to the National Development Fund (NDF) as we weren’t sure where to live on the island and wanted to keep our options open.
Why did you want to get Antigua & Barbuda citizenship when you already have British citizenship?
A British passport is a valuable commodity. However, taking into account Brexit and the ever-changing scene in Europe, coupled with the fact that we plan to island-hop in the Caribbean, getting Antigua & Barbuda passports made sense.
How have you integrated into Antiguan life?
From my very first contact on the island with Dorina Goodman, we have made fabulous local friends. We are godparents to her son Brayson; we hang out with her father on his farm and are invited to a full-on island wedding next month. We have also met so many folks from all over the world with fascinating stories about what led them to find and fall in love with Antigua.
Can you tell us about your plans to buy real estate on the island?
The long-term rental is working well just now. I was getting very stressed about houses versus new builds. Where to buy? When to buy? We are open to ideas, and in the face, we are viewing somewhere this week. But for now, as long as we’re here, we’re happy.
How did you find the process of applying for citizenship?
We were recommended Citizens International, although I know there are other companies offering similar services. You can also do a lot of groundwork yourself. However, they are the experts. And trying to accomplish all the requirements, paperwork, proof of income, etc., from our home in Switzerland would have been a nightmare. The process takes time and is complex, but that seems only right and proper. We were asking to become citizens, and that, of course, is not an overnight fix, so I am glad Antigua is so thorough.
What is it about Antigua that you love so much?
There’s a great community spirit. The weather is wonderful, and the pace is great. Our days seem so full, but we still make time for proper training and fitness and swim every day at Pigeon Point. I always felt guilty about taking time out in Europe.
I’ve also discovered an interest in indigenous natural medicine after our trainer introduced me to the benefits of sea moss, neem oil, oregano oil, and the like. I think there are great opportunities here for health and wellness tourism and potentially exporting these products around the world.
Where is your favourite place on the island?
I have so many of them. But right now, sitting under our flamboyant tree in the garden with a local rum in hand seems like a pretty good place to me!
What would you say to anyone thinking of seeking citizenship in the twin islands?
I would say, just do it; it’s the best decision we’ve made in a long time. We’re both very proud to call the islands home and to use our passports. As our children were over 30, they didn’t qualify, but if they bless us with grandchildren, the NDF option allows for four passports in total. Do, there are two more potential citizens in the pipeline!
You can find the original interview here on pages 70-71.
If you are interested in second citizenship or property in the Caribbean, please feel free to email us any questions, or if you’d like to have a conference call, please book a time here at your convenience: book a call or let us know the best time.