By naturalisation, birth, kinship, and investment: more than 40,000 foreigners have received Caribbean and Vanuatu passports by 2021.
Caribbean and Vanuatu citizenship laws that regulate paths to citizenship
Benefits of Caribbean citizenship for new passport holders
Caribbean passports primarily give holders the freedom of visa-free movement:
- Ability to travel without visas to more than 140 countries around the world. The UK, the Schengen Area, Singapore, and Hong Kong are included in the visa-free countries list.
- The B-1/B-2 tourist visa to the US for 10 years gives the right to stay there for up to 6 months a year for travelling or business meetings.
- The E-2 business visa to the US for 5 years can be obtained by Grenada citizens. With an E-2 visa, they live and do business in the USA without entry or exit restrictions.
- The opportunity to stay in China without a visa for up to 30 days a year is available to citizens of Grenada and Dominica.
Second citizenship is also an opportunity to leave the country even if the borders are closed. One can become a tax resident of their second citizenship country if its tax regime is more favourable.
With a Caribbean country passport, European banking services can be accessed more easily without a complicated banking Due Diligence procedure.
Citizenship by investment
Investors get citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, and Dominica by participating in government programs. A similar program is in place in Vanuatu. Citizenship by investment programs is the fastest way to gain travel freedom suitable for high-net-worth individuals.
Investors obtain passports within 2—6 months in exchange for a contribution to the country's economy.
Participants of any Caribbean program can either make a state fund contribution or buy real estate in exchange for a Caribbean passport. Vanuatu offers one option — a state fund contribution.
Minimum investment amount for different country programs
|Country||State fund investment||Real estate investment|
|Antigua and Barbuda||$100,000+||$200,000+|
|St Kitts and Nevis||$150,000+||$200,000+|
In addition to investing in real estate or government foundations, Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis citizenship programs have other options.
Antigua and Barbuda offers a contribution of at least $150,000 to the University of the West Indies Fund for families of six or more or a local business contribution of at least $1,500,000.
Saint Lucia has an option of buying government bonds for at least $250,000 or investing in local businesses starting from $3,500,000.
Program participants can optionally include family members in the application: their spouses, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings. The passport issuance procedure is remote and bureaucracy-free.
Long-term residence is the main requirement for those wishing to obtain a country's citizenship by naturalisation. An applicant gets a residence permit and lives in the country for several years, assimilating and undergoing cultural adaptation. Then, per their wish, they obtain a passport by naturalisation.
In addition to staying in the country, Grenada, Dominica and Saint Lucia require applicants to have worked in a public position in the country and speak English.
The immigration services check all applicants: they verify their income legality and the absence of criminal records.
How long does one need to live in the country to get citizenship by naturalisation
|Country||Minimum length of stay|
|Antigua and Barbuda||7 years|
|Saint Lucia||7 years|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||14 years|
A person born in a Caribbean country is granted citizenship automatically. If a child is born in Antigua and Barbuda, they will become a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda.
Exception: one of the parents has diplomatic immunity or is a citizen of a state with which the country is at war.
By descent or family reunification
Caribbean citizenship can be obtained if the family members have Caribbean citizenship. Kinship must be proven with documents.
Parents are Caribbean citizens. Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia passports are obtained if at least one of the parents has Caribbean citizenship. A child becomes a Vanuatu citizen only if their father is a Vanuatu citizen.
Grandparents are Caribbean citizens. Two Caribbean countries — Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis — allow obtaining citizenship if at least one of the applicant's grandparents was or is a citizen of a Caribbean country.
The spouse is a Caribbean citizen. The applicant can obtain Caribbean citizenship if the applicant's spouse is a citizen of one of the Caribbean countries. Moreover, the citizenship of the first spouse could have been obtained in any available way, not only by birth. Getting citizenship through marriage is also valid if the spouse, who was a Caribbean country citizen, is no longer alive.
Two countries set requirements for marriage duration. Antigua and Barbuda requires that applicants have been married to the country's national for at least three years. The Vanuatu condition applies to men: applicants must have been married to a Vanuatu citizen for at least 10 years.
Adoption. If an Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, or Saint Lucia citizen adopts a citizen of another country, the adopted child gets Caribbean citizenship. A foster child gets Vanuatu citizenship if the foster father is a Vanuatu citizen.
Commonwealth country citizenship
Suppose an applicant is a citizen of one of the Commonwealth of Nations countries. In that case, they can apply for citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, or Saint Lucia.
Applicants must have been residents of the country where they want to obtain second citizenship for several years. The residency period for Commonwealth members is either the same as for naturalisation or less.
The number of years that a Commonwealth country citizen needs to live in the country to obtain second citizenship:
- Dominica — 5 years;
- Grenada — 5 years;
- Antigua and Barbuda — 7 years;
- Saint Lucia — 7 years;
- Saint Kitts and Nevis — 14 years.
How to get a second passport faster and with more ease
An investment program is the fastest way to get citizenship in one of the five Caribbean countries. The Vanuatu program is a record holder, and the country's passport can be obtained within one month, sometimes more. A Caribbean passport is issued in 4—6 months. Getting citizenship by other means will take several years.
Investors don’t have to live in a second-citizenship country. All the other ways require residing in a country for several years. The only exception is Antigua and Barbuda: the state requires investors to spend 5 days in the country during the first five years of citizenship.
Investors apply for second citizenship through a licensed agent, Immigrant Invest. This excludes bureaucracy from the process, and applicants don’t have to spend time preparing documents. All the other ways of obtaining citizenship include a personal visit to a country’s immigration department, long-term procedures, and bureaucratic delays.
A disadvantage of investment programs is the expenses, which start at $100,000.
Comparison of paths to Caribbean citizenship
|Way of obtaining citizenship||Passport obtainment period||Required residency period to get citizenship||Family getting citizenship together with the applicant||Obtainment specifics|
|Citizenship by investment||2—6 months||Not required||Yes||Costs start at $100,000|
|Naturalisation||7+ years||7+ years||No||Work experience in a public position in the country and English knowledge|
|Birth||—||—||No||Must be born in the country|
|Descent or family reunification||3—10 years||3—10 years||No||Kinship must be proven with documents|
|Commonwealth country citizenship||5—14 years||5—14 years||No||Must be a Commonwealth of Nations country citizen|
Frequently Asked Questions
A Caribbean passport is obtained by birth, naturalisation, descent, marriage, Commonwealth citizenship, or government citizenship programs for investors.
Citizenship programs are the fastest way. Investors get passports within 2—6 months. They contribute to the country’s economy in exchange for a Caribbean passport. The minimum investment amount is $100,000. The state of Vanuatu provides the same opportunity.
The ability to travel freely in more than 140 countries around the world. The Schengen Area, the UK, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore are included in the list of visa-free destinations for citizens of Caribbean countries.
A US visa is another reason to get a Caribbean or Vanuatu passport. Passport holders can get a 10-year visa to the US.
A Caribbean country passport is obtained in 2—6 months via participating in citizenship investment programs. To compare, you need to live in the country for at least 7 years to get a Caribbean passport by naturalisation.
Caribbean citizenship investment programs don’t require applicants to stay in the country. They can get a passport and not live in the country at all. The exception is the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship program, where investors need to stay in the country for five days during the first five years of citizenship.
When a passport is obtained through a citizenship by investment program, applicants contribute to a Caribbean country’s economy in exchange for citizenship. The minimum contribution is $100,000 for a Caribbean program and $130,000 for the Vanuatu program.
When applying for citizenship by naturalisation, birth, or kinship, you need to pay only state fees, up to $500 per person.
Caribbean state citizenship is granted to every child born on its territory, even if their parents are not citizens of this state.
A foster child obtains Caribbean citizenship if at least one of their parents is a national of that country. In Vanuatu, the adoptive father must be a citizen.
Anyone over 18 without a criminal record can use other ways to get a passport. At the same time, their situation must meet the legalisation requirements of one of the ways mentioned above.
- be over 18;
- have no criminal record;
- have no visa or citizenship denials;
- have a legal income;
- pass Due Diligence.
The same requirements are imposed on the investor by the Vanuatu program.
A citizenship program applicant can include a spouse, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings in the application. Family members will receive passports together with the investor.
Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by investment program is a great option for families. An investor can include their spouse, children under 30, their — and the spouse’s — parents, grandparents, and siblings in the application. The minimum investment is $100,000 for a family of four and $125,000 for a family of five or more people.
St Kitts and Nevis citizenship can be obtained in just 2 months. The lowest minimum investment requirements are in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica or St Lucia. To find the best-suited Caribbean citizenship program, use the comparison guide.
Some Caribbean states allow dual citizenship. In five of these states — Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Lucia — there are government-run citizenship by investment (CBI) programs. In others, like Barbados and Belize, there are no CBI programs.
Yes, Caribbean passports are among the strongest in the world based on the freedom of movement alone. Passports of five Caribbean states allow visa-free entry to 145—157 countries worldwide. This includes visa-free travelling within the Schengen Area, the UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Grenada and Dominica citizens can also visit China and stay there for up to 30 days without a visa.