One of the best selling points of the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) is that it allows foreigners to purchase property in this beautiful island nation and become fully fledged citizens.
Hence, your investment can provide you with one of the most powerful passports in the world. And you will have a second citizenship without the need to denounce your current one. Lastly, you can visit or live in Antigua and Barbuda, or the CARICOM region, anytime you need or want to.
Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship by real estate investment program, however, is by no means inexpensive. It will require a significant outlay.
Because of this, it is important that you buy a home that meets your unique needs and your desired lifestyle — one that you will love fully indulging in whenever you are in the country.
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Property Buying Tips for Foreigners
Another outstanding feature of the CIP is that you don’t have to be in Antigua and Barbuda to start the process of buying a property.
If you are interested in buying a piece of property in Antigua and kick-starting your application for second citizenship while you are out of the country, follow the tips below:
1. Do research on the best neighborhoods to live in
Location is always an important factor when buying property abroad or in your home country.
If you haven’t visited Antigua and Barbuda before, you will have to rely on the Internet or on your property advisor to find the most suitable place to buy a property in for you.
Many of the international residents live in and around:
- Falmouth Harbour
- Jolly Harbour
- English Harbour
- Half Moon Bay
- Fryes Beach
- Galley Bay
Whichever area you choose to buy a property in, make sure it is safe and peaceful. Find a home that is in close proximity to a supermarket, pharmacy, hospital or clinic, and other places of convenience as well.
2. Hire a property advisor
Reputable property agents in Antigua and Barbuda have excellent listings of homes for sale in various areas of the country. Because of this, they will help you find and purchase your dream property which will also qualify you for second citizenship.
In addition, seasoned property advisors know the ins and outs of the local property laws and regulations. As such, they can help you bypass red tape that could potentially prolong the whole purchasing process.
3. Work with an immigration advisor
A property advisor will help you navigate the process of buying your home. But to successfully go through the process of applying for citizenship by real estate investment, it’s best to get help from an immigration advisor and sometimes you can find a company that offers both services.
By working with an immigration advisor, you will know the exact requirements you need to prepare and submit to apply for your second passport. If you need help with understanding certain laws or regulations regarding your application, your consultant can also interpret and explain them to you clearly.
Applications to the government under the citizenship by investment program must be made via a Licensed Agent. Find an agent who is dedicated and experienced and, ideally, one that provides add-on or post citizenship services (such as bank account openings) and generally acts as your arm in Antigua.
4. Prepare your requirements
Once you find the right property to buy or have narrowed down your options, you can start preparing your requirements for buying your new home and applying for your citizenship.
The basic requirements you need are:
- Evidence that you have a clean criminal record
- Bank statements or documents as proof of your funds and financial history
- Professional references
- Wealth disclosure statement
Your property agent and citizenship advisor can give you a complete list of requirements you need to submit so that you don’t have to do additional research.
5. Know the total cost of buying your dream property
Finally, buying a property does not only involve paying for the home itself; there are other fees you need to prepare for as well. These include the attorney’s fees, real estate commission fees, and service fees of your property agent and citizenship advisor.
In addition, if you are not applying for citizenship at the same time, foreign real estate investors in Antigua have to obtain a non-citizen landholder license from the government. The cost of this license is five per cent of the value of the property you will buy, another incentive to go ahead and become a citizen.
Because there are other fees involved, make sure you prepare not only the total layout for the property, but also for the other expenses you have to pay for.
And if you want to be 100 percent sure you will be investing in the right property, visit Antigua even for a week or two. Visit and inspect the homes you have shortlisted personally.
By doing so, you will be certain you will be buying the right property. You will also know if the property needs any additions to make it your perfect home. Lastly, you will have a feel for what it is like to live in this island paradise.
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment into the Caribbean. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.