From temporary price reductions or exclusion of government fees to expansion of list of dependents, the Caribbean countries are upping the citizenship by investment (CBI) stakes with new adjustments during the pandemic.
It’s not a secret that CBI competition between the five Caribbean countries is fierce, with each continually adjusting its CBI program to compete more closely on price, punctuality and processing requirements. More recently, and especially during the Covid-19 crisis, some of the Caribbean islands have made even further adjustments, with the aim of making their CIPs even more attractive to second citizenship searchers.
The latest one to make adjustments to its CBI is Dominica, with an opening up of its dependents’ category. This comes hot on the heels of Saint Lucia, with its temporary Covid-19 offers, and Antigua & Barbuda with its price adjustments for adding dependents.
Dominica stands out for CIP program
Established for 27 years, the second longest running Citizenship by Investment program (CIP) after Saint Kitts & Nevis, Dominica’s CIP has proven to be as competitive as it is established.
Not only does the CIP of this small island nation pack a punch on the price front, requiring a donation of just $100,000, which is the cheapest minimum outlay on offer for a second passport today, but it also packs a punch in its processing times, guaranteeing applicants citizenship after just 45 days, making it the fastest CIP in the world.
Not surprising therefore that the Economic Dominica Citizenship programme has in recent years been considered to be one of the best-performing CIPs industry-wide, not just for its price and speed of processing, but for its efficiency, due diligence, reliability and transparency. In fact, Dominica set the record for the highest percentage score ever achieved on the CBI Index 2019, published by the Financial Times.
Couple all of this with Dominica’s strong economy, which holds second place in the Caribbean, according to the Doing Business Report by the World Bank 2019, and you have a recipe for economic citizenship success.
You would be forgiven for thinking therefore that Dominica had it all sewn up on the second passport front, however, economic citizenship is a competitive market and Dominica’s four other Caribbean CBI counterparts have recently pulled out all the citizenship stops in order to secure a piece of the second passport pie.
But with all of the islands offering pretty competitive pricing (Saint Lucia, Dominica and Antigua & Barbuda all require $100,000, while Saint Kitts and Grenada ask for $150,000), processing times (from 45-90 days) and visa-free access to a similar number of countries (from 139 for Dominica up to 152 for Saint Kitts), competition on the CBI front remains fierce.
And with governments worldwide currently feeling the economic crunch due to Covid-19, there is an extra urgency to attract investors, especially as the potential market for those seeking second passports seems ripe for the taking right now.
Dominica updates dependency rules
This had led to the updating by Caribbean countries of their CBI programmes, the latest of which is Dominica. The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica has upped the citizenship by investment (CBI) stakes by expanding the definition of ‘dependent’ within its CBI program.
This means that the main applicant can now add previously unqualifying dependents to their application, including siblings.
New dependency rules mean the adult children do not need to be living with the applicant or be in higher education, for example, simply that they are being supported by the parent; and babies, born post-citizenship, to qualify. And siblings of the main applicant or spouse, be they biological or adopted, who are 18-plus, single and childless, can quality for the first time.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says: “The changes we are announcing are exciting. They are meant to accelerate family reunification in a world where togetherness, and the right to all be able to live in a safe, stable, and welcoming environment is more important than ever.”
St Lucia launches Covid-19 options
This comes off the back of Saint Lucia recently delivering a number of temporary Covid-19 offers.
Already matching Dominica’s donation offer for a single applicant at $100,000, Saint Lucia has further made itself even more competitive with price reductions for a family. Dubbed a Covid-19 Offer, it allows a family of four to obtain citizenship for just $150,000, down $40,000, until December 31, 2020, making this one of the cheapest family of four CIPs worldwide.
The island further unveiled its Covid-19 Relief Bond. Running until the end of the year, this temporary option gives potential investors the chance to purchase a non-interest-bearing government bond, for just $250,000 for a single applicant, which is half the original price of its usual bond investment. There are no processing fees, either, and just an admin fee of $30,000. And applicants can add dependents to the application for no extra cost, though the number of years will increase with each add-on.
This makes the proposition from Saint Lucia, which has only been offering a CIP for four years, very attractive, especially when you consider that the island has the strongest economy of its Caribbean counterparts.
Antigua & Barbuda makes it more affordable to add dependents
But then there’s Antigua & Barbuda’s citizenship by investment program, which like Saint Lucia and Dominica offers investors a low-cost contribution of $100,000 for a single applicant and a competitive timeframe of 60 days.
And like the others, Antigua has recently made some changes to its CIP with the aim of making it more attractive to investors. Its CBI program reduces the price of adding dependents to already-approved applications. This Limited Time Offer means applicants only pay $10,000 for children aged 0-5 and $20,000 for children aged 6-17 and runs until October 31, 2020.
But that’s not all. The island nation has recently further re-structured its fees for its unique educational fund, the University of the West Indies (UWI) Fund, making citizenship highly affordable for a family of six, at just $210,000.