Comparison of Caribbean citizenship by investment programs

Choose the best-suited country for second citizenship by comparing
• visa-free destinations and other passport benefits
• requirements for applicants
• investment options and associated expenses
• time frames for obtaining a passport

Visa-free countries for Caribbean citizens

Investors often get Caribbean or Vanuatu citizenship to freely travel the world. That’s why cosmopolitans tend to choose the country whose passport provides the largest number or the most desired visa-free destinations. 

Passports from Caribbean countries allow one to enter the Schengen Area, the UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore without visas. But the period of permitted stay will differ. For example, Caribbean citizens can spend up to 90 days out of 180 in the Schengen and 180 days a year in the UK.

Citizens of Grenada and Dominica can visit China and spend up to 30 days without a visa. 

Vanuatu citizens can freely visit the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and 93 other countries and territories, but they need visas to enter the Schengen Area.

Number of visa-free countries for Caribbean and Vanuatu citizens

Citizens of Caribbean countries or Vanuatu can get long-term visas for trips to the USA. Caribbean citizens qualify for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa valid for 10 years. Vanuatu nationals get the same visas, valid for 5 years.

Grenada citizenship stands out with the possibility of obtaining an E-2 business visa. The visa implies investments in a business in the USA. However, the minimum investment amount isn’t set; practice shows that $200,000 are usually enough. 

E-2 visa holders can live, study, do business and work in the States. The first visa is valid for two years, but it can be renewed for the same two years an unlimited amount of times.

140+ visa-free countries for Caribbean citizens, a map

Other benefits of the Caribbean passport

Remote obtaining procedures. The investor doesn’t have to fly to the Caribbean to apply for citizenship as a licensed agent completes all the procedures on the investor’s behalf. The passport and naturalisation certificates will be sent to the investor by courier.

The exception is the Antigua and Barbuda program, under which terms the investor and all adult family members must visit the islands to take the oath of allegiance and spend at least five days during the first five years of citizenship in the country.

Incentives for studying abroad. Caribbean countries are in the Commonwealth of Nations, which makes their citizens eligible for scholarships to study at universities in the member countries, including the UK.

Access to services of Caribbean, European and American banks. Saving assets and making currency transactions is easier with a Caribbean passport because its holders aren’t so quickly refused to open an account and pass Customer Due Diligence faster.

Opportunities to reduce the tax burden. Caribbean countries don’t tax global income, wealth, inheritance, gifts, and capital gains. Besides, individuals and businesses can benefit from deductions and tax holidays in some cases. 

Caribbean countries allow dual citizenship, which means you won’t have to give up your first passport to obtain a Caribbean one. However, the rule is valid only if your country of origin doesn’t mind its citizens having multiple citizenships.

Requirements for citizenship applicants

Investors can qualify for Caribbean or Vanuatu citizenship if they have legitimate income sources and no criminal records or grave illnesses.

Family members can also participate in the citizenship programs. An investor can include in the application a spouse, children, parents, and, sometimes, grandparents or siblings.

Relatives are called dependents; the investor pays for their participation.

Caribbean countries and Vanuatu set different requirements for family members. In some cases, there are age limits. In other cases, grandparents or siblings cannot participate. But each program states that all family members except the spouse must financially depend on the investor. The dependency must be proved with documents.

Comparison of requirements for family members

Family members Antigua and Barbuda St Lucia St Kitts and Nevis Grenada Dominica Vanuatu
Spouse
Children
under 30

under 30

under 30

under 30

under 30

under 25
Parents
over 55

over 55

over 55

over 65

over 50
Grandparents
over 55

over 65
Siblings
under 18

under 30

under 18

Overview of available investment options

Caribbean and Vanuatu citizenship programs offer one or several investment options:

  • a non-refundable contribution to a state fund;
  • purchase of real estate;
  • buying government bonds;
  • investments in a business project.

Non-refundable contribution to a state fund. Every citizenship by investment program, a Caribbean one or Vanuatu’s, has the option of a fund contribution. The fund money goes to developing of economy, sustainable housing and infrastructure, green energy, healthcare, and education in the countries.

The contribution amount for a single applicant is $100,000 or $150,000. But it might increase if an investor adds family members to the citizenship application. The final amount depends on the number of applicants and the degree of kinship.

The fund contribution is usually the least expensive option. However, its disadvantage is that the investor won’t ever be able to return the money. 

Fund contributions under the Caribbean and Vanuatu citizenship programs

CountryFund contribution for a single investorAdditional payments for family members
Dominica$100,000$50,000
For a spouse
$75,000
For up to three dependents
+ $25,000
Per additional dependent under 18, starting with the fifth applicant

+ $50,000
Per additional dependent over 18, starting with the fifth applicant
St Lucia$100,000$40,000 
For a spouse
$50,000
For up to three dependents
+ $15,000
Per child under 21, starting with the fifth applicant 

+ $25,000
Per child up to 30, parent or sibling, starting with the fifth applicant
Antigua and Barbuda$100,000+ $25,000
Per dependent, starting with the fifth applicant
Vanuatu$130,000$20,000
For a spouse

+ $15,000
Per additional dependent
Grenada$150,000$50,000
For a spouse or up to three dependents

+ $25,000
Per additional dependent, starting with the fifth applicant, except parents under 55 and siblings

+ $50,000
Per parent under 55

+ $75,000
Per sibling
St Kitts and Nevis$150,000+ $10,000
Per additional dependent, starting with the fifth applicant, except siblings

+ $20,000
Per sibling

Antigua and Barbuda also has a special offer for big families of six or more people. They can contribute to the University of the West Indies Fund and get a year of free education for one of the family members under 29.

The minimum contribution amount is $150,000. For each additional dependent, starting with the seventh applicant, the investor pays an additional $15,000. 

The university fund contribution requires fewer expenses from big families. Suppose a family of eight wants to get Antigua and Barbuda citizenship: spouses, two minor kids and two parents. Considering all additional expenses, they will contribute $233,000 to the University of the West Indies Fund. If they choose a state fund contribution, the expenses will increase to $242,600.

Real estate purchase. All five Caribbean countries offer investors to sponsor real estate projects. Vanuatu doesn’t have this option.

Investing in real estate usually requires twice as much as under the contribution option. But in contrast with the fund contribution, the property investment amount doesn’t depend on the family composition. 

Another advantage of purchasing real estate is that the investor can sell the property in 3—7 years and return the money.

Conditions of real estate purchasing under the Caribbean citizenship by investment programs

CountryInvestment amountInvestment return horizon
Dominica$200,0003—5 years
Antigua and Barbuda$200,0005 years
St Kitts and Nevis$175,000
Social and infrastructural real estate projects

$200,000+
Government-approved real estate

$400,000
Properties without government approval
5—7 years
Grenada$220,0005 years
St Lucia$300,0005 years

Investors can purchase a whole property in sole ownership or become shareholders in the construction of hotels, villas, and urban infrastructure. A share can be a part of a property, securities, or trust participation.

The countries’ governments approve all real estate projects for citizenship programs. The exception is the St Kitts and Nevis program, which allows purchasing any property outside the approved list. The price of a non-approved property in St Kitts and Nevis must exceed $400,000.

Examples of investment properties in the Caribbean countries

Caribbean citizenship by investment in real estate: a hotel in Dominica

Shares in a five-star hotel managed by Kempinski in Dominica. The share price is $220,000

Caribbean citizenship by investment in real estate: a hotel in Antigua and Barbuda

Apartments in a hotel complex by the sea in Antigua and Barbuda. The price starts at $250,000

Caribbean citizenship by investment in real estate: a hotel in St Kitts and Nevis

Shares in a five-star hotel managed by Hyatt in St Kitts and Nevis. The share price is $220,000

Caribbean citizenship by investment in real estate: a villa in Grenada

A modern villa with an infinity pool overlooking the sea in Grenada. The price is $2,000,000

Alternative investment options. St Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda offer investors to buy government bonds and finance local business projects.

St Lucia’s government bonds cost $250,000. The investments will be fully redeemed after 5—7 years of holding. In addition, the investor receives a passive income of up to 5% per year.

The minimum amount of investing in St Lucian government bonds will increase to $500,000 on January 1st, 2023.

Government-approved business projects are available for investing in St Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda. The countries offer to support the pharmaceutical industry, restaurants, construction of cruise ports, marinas or roads. 

The amount of business investments in St Lucia is at least $3,500,000, and at least $1,500,000 in Antigua and Barbuda.

St Lucia citizenship by investment: government bonds
This is a certificate issued to investors who have purchased an interest-free government bond of St Lucia worth $250,000

Additional expenses: government and Due Diligence fees

Government fees usually include payments for citizenship applications and the processing of documents. Besides, applicants pay for the issuance of passports and naturalisation certificates. Some countries charge fees for application forms and delivery of documents.

If an investor buys real estate, they usually pay a special fee, which depends on the number of family members in the citizenship application.

When transferring investment money, bank commissions may occur. 

Government fees under Caribbean citizenship programs

Fee Vanuatu St Kitts and Nevis Dominica Antigua and Barbuda Grenada St Lucia
Government fee when purchasing real estate$35,050
For a single investor

+ $20,050
For a spouse

+ $10,050
Per child or parent

+ $40,000
Per sibling
$25,000
For a single investor

+ $10,000
For a spouse or up to three dependents

+ $25,000
For five dependents

+ $25,000
Per dependent, starting with the seventh applicant
$50,000
For a single investor and a family of up to four people

+ $25,000
Per child or parent over 55, starting with the fifth applicant

+ $50,000
Per parent under 55, starting with the fifth family member in the application

+ $75,000
Per sibling, starting with the fifth family member in the application
$30,000
For a single investor

+ $15,000
For a spouse

+ $5,000
Per dependant under 18

+ $10,000
Per dependant over 18 or additional family member, starting with the fifth applicant
Application fee$1,500
Per applicant 
Processing fee$43
Per application
$250
Per applicant
$1,000
Per application
$30,000
For a family of up to four people

+ $15,000
Per additional dependent, starting with the fifth applicant
$1,500
Per applicant over 18

$500
Per applicant under 18
$2,000
For the main applicant

+ $1,000
Per dependent
Passport fee$361
Per applicant
$300
Per applicant
$250
Per applicant
$500
Per applicant over 16
Naturalisation certificate fee$86
Per applicant
$50
Per applicant
$250
Per applicant
Bank commission$200
For the main applicant

+ $100
Per dependent over 16

+ $50
Per dependent under 16
$300
Per applicant
$200

+ $100
Bank fee
Other fees$3,500
Delivery of passports
$250
For government forms, per applicant
$20
For oath-taking, per applicant
$250
Forwarding of documents

Due Diligence is a crucial step in any citizenship by investment program. CBI Units make a well-rounded assessment of risks and applicants’ income sources and biographies.

The Due Diligence check is charged with a fee for participants of citizenship programs. The fee is paid before submitting documents for consideration to the CBI Unit. The charged amount depends on the number and age of family members.

The biggest fee for Due Diligence is charged in Antigua and Barbuda; the smallest one is in Vanuatu, where the CBI Unit checks all family members for a flat price irrespective of the family composition.

Due Diligence fees in the Caribbean countries and Vanuatu

CountryFor an investorFor a spouseFor other family members
Vanuatu$5,000
Per application
Grenada$5,000$4,000$4,000
Per family member over 17
Dominica$7,500$4,000$4,000
Per family member over 16
St Kitts and Nevis$7,500$4,000$4,000
Per family member over 16
St Lucia$7,500$5,000$5,000
Per family member over 16
Antigua and Barbuda$7,500$7,500$2,000
Per family member aged 12 to 17

$4,000
Per family member over 18

Application process for the Caribbean passport obtainment

The preliminary stage before applying for citizenship includes selecting a licensed agent and preparing the required documents. It usually takes two to four weeks. After that, the licensed agent sends the documents for processing to the CBI Unit.

1. Selecting a licensed agent — 1 day. According to the terms of the Caribbean and Vanuatu citizenship programs, the investor cannot personally apply for participation in such a program. Only law or consulting companies with governmental licenses may do that on the investor’s behalf.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of the Caribbean citizenship programs and an official representative of the Vanuatu citizenship program.

2. Passing an agent’s preliminary Due Diligence check — 1 day. A designated Compliance Department checks the investor’s background against international legal and business databases. It helps to see whether there is any risk of citizenship application denial.

The Immigrant Invest’s check takes one business day. At this point, only a client’s passport is required.

If the client successfully passes the preliminary check, Immigrant Invest offers to conclude an agreement to assist in obtaining citizenship. 

We will offer a solution if any “red flags” have been discovered. For example, to consider another program or prepare additional documents clarifying the situation.

3. Collecting and preparing documents — 2 to 4 weeks. The investor provides lawyers with the required personal and financial records. Namely:

  • a valid international passport;
  • a no criminal records certificate;
  • a birth certificate;
  • a certificate confirming the applicant’s marital status, e.g. marriage or divorce certificate;
  • bank statements confirming the sufficient funds for investing and the legitimacy of income sources;
  • a health insurance policy.

This list may be incomplete as lawyers provide an individual one to each client depending on the chosen program, investment option and number of participating family members.

For the lawyers’ part, they organise the translation and notarisation of all documents, fill in the citizenship application form and prepare the investor’s CV.

4. Applying for citizenship — 1 day. Lawyers upload the application and scans of documents on a program website, if applicable, and send the originals to the CBI Unit for consideration and Due Diligence.

After applying, documents are processed on average within three months in the Caribbean countries and within a month in Vanuatu. It is the time required to complete the Due Diligence check.

Accelerated processing is available as a separate service: it’s offered by St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica.

The Accelerated Application Process takes up to 60 days in St Kitts and Nevis. The fee is $25,000 for the main applicant and $20,000 per family member over 16. These are inclusive of Due Diligence fees.

An expedited issuance of passports is possible in Dominica. The service costs $1,200 per applicant.

Comparison of time frames: how fast can an investor get a second passport?

When the application is approved in principle, the investor transfers money to a state fund or a developer’s escrow account. Investors usually have 60 or 90 days to fulfil the investment conditions.

The passport and naturalisation certificate is usually issued and delivered within two weeks after investing.

Second citizenship obtaining periods in the Caribbean countries and Vanuatu

CountryPassport obtaining period
Vanuatu1+ month
St Kitts and Nevis2+ months
Antigua and Barbuda3+ months
Dominica3+ months
St Lucia3+ months
Grenada4+ months

Which country to choose for second citizenship by investment?

All the countries provide similar CBI programs and rights. That’s why it’s better to consider the investor’s tasks and goals when choosing the best-suited option.

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica or St Lucia — if the investor’s budget is limited. The countries offer to obtain citizenship by contributing $100,000.

Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis — to return the invested money in 5—7 years. The opportunity is valid under the real estate option. Besides, the property can be rented out during the ownership period to bring yields, and these islands are less vulnerable to natural disasters that can affect real estate. 

The St Kitts and Nevis passport provides the biggest number of visa-free destinations if you want to travel the world. However, all the Caribbean countries offer entry to the Schengen Area, the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Grenada or Dominica will suit you better if you are frequent to China, as they are the only Caribbean countries with visa-waiver agreements with this Asian state.

The Grenada passport makes it easier to move to and do business in the USA, as the country’s citizens are eligible for an E-2 business visa.

Vanuatu offers the fastest path to second citizenship, which will take about a month if time is a pressing issue. St Kitts and Nevis can consider your citizenship application within two months, but the expedited processing requires additional expenses.

Frequently asked questions

Which Caribbean countries offer citizenship by investment?

There are five countries in the Caribbean granting citizenship by investment. Those are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia.

The minimum investment sum is $100,000 or $150,000, depending on the country. This sum implies a non-refundable contribution to a state fund for a single applicant.

How much does a Caribbean passport cost?

It depends on the chosen program, investment option and the number of family members in your citizenship application.

$100,000 is the minimum investment amount for a fund contribution in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St Lucia. In St Kitts and Nevis and Grenada, the same option requires at least $150,000.

Investing in Caribbean real estate requires at least $200,000. Besides, St Lucia offers to purchase government bonds for $250,000.

Applicants also pay for Due Diligence, application processing, passport issuance, and naturalisation certificates.

Which is the best Caribbean citizenship by investment program?

It depends on your tasks and goals.

Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia and Dominica may suit if your budget is limited. At the same time, St Kitts and Nevis and Grenada are more suitable for real estate investments, which allow for a return of the money in 5—7 years.

The St Kitts and Nevis passport provides the biggest number of visa-free destinations, but only Grenada and Dominica have visa-waiver agreements with China.

Vanuatu, a small island nation in Oceania, offers the fastest path to citizenship. The country processes investors’ applications within a month or two. Caribbean countries usually take three to six months to do that.

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Schedule a meeting at one of the offices or online. A lawyer will analyze the situation, calculate the cost and help you find a solution based on your goals.

Zlata Erlach
Caribbean Investment Program Expert
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