Over the years, citizenship—particularly in a Caribbean country—has evolved into an investment option for the future. From removing the need to apply and reapply for visas to opening doors to various benefits offered by other nations, people have seen the need to apply for dual citizenship to achieve a greater level of freedom and mobility.
When applying for dual citizenship, there are two things you should look for: speedy application and the perks that come with the second passport. Read on for more information on how you can become a dual citizen and the Caribbean countries that can best suit your goals.
How Can You Become a Dual Citizen?
Different countries vary in their policies when it comes to citizenship. This becomes even more apparent in special situations, like when the person applying for permanent residence wishes to retain his original nationality.
In general, there are four known ways that a person can gain citizenship from a country other than where he or she was born in, as follows:
In some European countries, a person’s descent is an important factor in expediting the approval of a second citizenship which can run from six months to two years. It can even bring the cost of application down significantly.
Many Caribbean countries offer citizenship by investment to speed up the second passport processing. In some nations, like Antigua and Barbuda, you are given options to invest via programs that require at least $100,000 worth of investment. Partnership or joint investments are also an option.
This is probably more common globally as people have become more mobile, with some going to work or study abroad and ending up getting married to a local in the receiving or host country. In most cases, marrying a local can speed up the process to as fast as two to three years.
- Special Treatment
Some people, like athletes, renowned artists, scientists and musicians, may be able to gain citizenship through special treatment or by being treated as special cases. In this situation, the naturalization requirements—such as language proficiency—are waived.
Top Second Passport Countries in the Caribbean
Quite obviously, out of the ways discussed above for getting a second citizenship, citizenship by investment is the more logical option for those who do not qualify for the other categories.
And since the Caribbean offers some of the most attractive second citizenship benefits, you can now start looking into the top five nations for a second passport in the Caribbean, and why they are among the best places to become naturalized.
- Antigua and Barbuda
Located three hours from Miami and 8 hours from London in the beautiful Caribbean Sea, this country that is home to over 100,000 residents offers tons of benefits to second-passport holders. This includes visa-free travel to over 150 jurisdictions, a front-row seat in its iconic 365 beaches, a foothold in one of the most desirable island destinations in the world, and a tax-free global personal income should you become a tax resident.
The quickest way to gain citizenship in this country is to invest in a business, a real estate project, or the National Development Fund (NDF) of Antigua and Barbuda.
Popular for its agriculture and tourism, this country is another great choice for a second citizenship and there are no restrictions on who can apply. This is because applying for citizenship in Dominica can be achieved by contributing $100,000 (one-time payment) or by making an investment for three years in a property approved by the Dominican government amounting to at least $200,000.
- St. Lucia
This predominantly African and African-European nation boasts picturesque scenes of a tropical paradise and visa-free travel for passport holders to more than 118 states. It has a stable economic-political scene and doesn’t collect taxes on personal wealth, capital gains, or inheritance.
To top these off, their requirements for dual citizenship, aside from choosing an investment program, consist only of three other things: a good character, excellent health and a clean slate.
This Caribbean island popular for its moniker as the “Island of Spice” is another nation that offers visa-free travel to more than 80 countries around the world. Citizenship can be gained through the Grenada passport by investment program with minimal requirements including no criminal record, good character and health, and a high net worth. Grenada passport holders are eligible to apply for an E2 investor visa in the U.S. as well.
- St. Kitts and Nevis
Home to beautiful natural scenery, St. Kitts and Nevis is a country where second citizenship applications can be processed in as fast as 60 days. Like the four other countries mentioned before it, this nation also boasts travel to 141 states without the need for a visa, including countries that are members of the European Union.
The St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program was established in the 1980’s and is one of the better known options for high net worth individuals globally for a second citizenship in a low tax, tropical paradise.
All Set for a Second Citizenship
After getting to know a bit of about each of the Caribbean countries, it is now time for you to decide which one suits your preference and specific needs best. Use the above information as a guide to help in your quest to achieve a new level of freedom in the beautiful Caribbean.
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.