but also excellent investment opportunities
By H.E. Dr. Dario Item, Ambassador of Antigua & Barbuda to the Kingdom of Spain, Liechtenstein and Monaco
Antigua and Barbuda is an independent democratic island state of the Commonwealth, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, belonging to the archipelago of the Lesser Antilles. It consists of 3 larger islands (Antigua and Barbuda and Redonda) and many smaller ones. The twin-islands state has a total area of about 440 km2 and has about 100’000 inhabitants. It is entirely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean (to the north and east) and the Caribbean Sea (south and west).
The country’s form of government is a constitutional monarchy with a British-style parliamentary system. The reigning British monarch (Elizabeth II) is represented in Antigua by an appointed Governor-General as the head of state (currently Sir Rodney Errey Lawrence Williams).
The official language is English; Creole-English is also spoken. Antigua and Barbuda gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1981.
The twin-islands are a very popular tourist destination and most of the attractions are located on the island of Antigua while Barbuda has its strong point in miles of completely virgin and unspoiled beaches. Everyone knows the island of Antigua for its beaches, crystal clear sea, orchids, bamboos, palm trees, and excellent climate. That is why it is a popular holiday destination. The island has 365 beaches, all free and open to the public. “One for every day of the year” as the locals say. By boat is the best way to explore them all and choose the one you like most.
The beauty of Antigua and Barbuda has long attracted the international jet set. VIPs such as Giorgio Armani, Stefano Gabbana, Leonardo Del Vecchio, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Robert De Niro have long chosen Antigua & Barbuda as their spiritual refuge.
Beyond its natural beauty, Antigua and Barbuda offer great investment opportunities: tourism, renewable energy, agriculture, constructions, digital assets business, and financial services are booming sectors in the country. In 2018, for the first time, it opened an embassy in Madrid, located in Calle Felipe IV n. 7 (www.embassy.ag). The Head of Mission is Ambassador Dario Item.
Moreover, in order to collect and display all relevant information in an organic and accurate manner, Antigua and Barbuda launched this year AntiguaBarbuda.com, the country’s first and official business hub for potential international investors who are looking to learn more about the investment and business opportunities in the country.
The hub is home to a wide array of information that many potential investors and visitors of Antigua and Barbuda may find helpful in their decision-making process.
Why invest in Antigua and Barbuda?
There are many good reasons to invest in Antigua and Barbuda: Stable, democratic, and business-friendly government. First of all, Antigua & Barbuda is a small, stable country both politically and socially, with a healthy democratic system of government based on the Westminster (UK) system. Antigua & Barbuda is one of the most secure and safe countries in the Caribbean and compares very well worldwide for low crime rates and law rule. The government of Antigua and Barbuda is definitely business-friendly and can count on an efficient administration and a fast decision-making process.
Well Educated and Skilled Population
Furthermore, Antigua & Barbuda is one of the more prosperous states in the Eastern Caribbean, with Tourism, Business Service Outsourcing, and Financial Services as the largest economic sectors. The literacy rate is over 95%, reflecting a consistent focus on investment in education.
Antigua & Barbuda has developed practical human resource skills in tourism, information technology-enabled services, financial services, and construction. A network of colleges and accreditation and certification bodies ensures that skills quality meets world standards. Further, government policy aims at ensuring that the skills produced match competitive business requirements.
The country has also enacted cutting-edge digital assets legislation and aspires to become one of the most attractive hubs for digital exchanges and cryptocurrencies.
Robust ICT Infrastructure
Antigua & Barbuda places a high priority on ICT as an essential enabler for national development. Consequently, the country has experienced rapid growth in its ICT sector, driven by significant public and private sector investment. Antigua & Barbuda now has a modern telecommunications infrastructure, which has facilitated fast growth in broadband internet and data and voice services vital for modern information-intensive businesses.
Business-friendly Currency and Foreign Exchange Environment
Antigua & Barbuda is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) within a common central bank and currency area. The currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar that is pegged to the US Dollar at the rate of EC$2.70 to US$1. The country has no foreign exchange controls or restrictions on capital repatriation.
The attractive tax regime for inward investors
The country has also an attractive tax regime for inward investors. Antigua & Barbuda’s corporate income tax rate is 25%. Exemption from payment or reduction in the rate is allowed depending on the level of capital investment and the number of jobs created in new investment proposals. Further, exemption from or reduction in the import duty rate on raw materials, components, machinery, and equipment can also be granted. The presence in the country of a free zone also allows to maximize profits thanks to the strong tax incentives granted by the government.
The people of Antigua & Barbuda are noted for their friendly and welcoming nature, particularly towards visitors, whether tourists or investors. There is wide acceptance of the importance of attracting foreign investment into the country.
Robust legal and regulatory framework
Antigua & Barbuda has a Common Law system based on the UK model. The legal code guarantees investor protection, facilitating an attractive investment environment. In the Latin American Caribbean Region, Antigua & Barbuda is ranked highly for enforcing contracts and protecting investors.
Excellent travel links
The Antigua and Barbuda airport is the most modern, stylish, and efficient airport in the Caribbean. It is definitely one of the flagships of the country.
Antigua is easily accessible by direct scheduled flights from the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States; by charter flights from Germany and Italy; and by regional flights from almost all Caribbean islands.
The country and its government also did very well in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and has one of the lowest infections and fatality rates in the world. Their preventive measures have been in place since the onset of the pandemic and have proven to be effective.
With the goal of attracting investors and further stimulating the economy, the country has also activated citizenship and residency programs.
Citizenship by Investment Program
Antigua and Barbuda offers the possibility to acquire citizenship by investing in the country. Depending on your preferred lifestyle, there are several paths to acquiring citizenship through investment.
Whether you are looking to apply for citizenship for yourself and your family, here are some of the benefits of having an Antigua and Barbuda passport:
- Live long-term in a Caribbean country known for its white sand and blue waters.
- Lifetime citizenship for your family/qualified dependents with a one-time investment.
- Visa-free travel to more than 150 countries, including EU Schengen areas, the UK, and Ireland.
- No wealth, inheritance, and personal income taxes.
- Since 2019, Antigua and Barbuda passport holders can travel through a visa waiver program in Russia, Ukraine, and Kosovo.
- Efficient application processing (usually 3 months processing time).
- Confidentiality of application procedure.
- Freedom of movement within the Caribbean (CARICOM) countries.
- Ability to freely hold dual or multiple citizenships.
- Investment options
The citizenship-by-investment program (CIP) allows foreign investors have the following options:
a)Contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF)
- US$100,000 for a family of up to four applicants.
- US$125,000 for a family of five or more applicants.
b)Contribution to the University of West Indies (UWI)
USD 150,000 (inclusive of processing fee) for a family of six or more is entitled to citizenship as well as a one-year scholarship (tuition only) for one of its members.
C)Real estate option
Minimum of US$400,000; or US$200,000 as part of a joint investment.
d)Investment in business
Minimum of US$1.5 million for a single investor; or $400,000 as part of a consortium investment of more than $5 million.
Nomad Digital Residence (NDR) Program
Antigua and Barbuda welcomes investors and entrepreneurs who are looking to stay longer in the country. It is offering a long-stay visa through its Nomad Digital Residence (NDR) program.
The program is designed for those whose work can be done remotely, and want to do so from a safe Caribbean country. The country allows many entrepreneurs to maintain access to modern facilities and amenities, including reliable telecommunications infrastructure.
Eligible applicants will be granted a special-resident authorisation that will be valid for up to two (2) years from the first instance.
For those who want to proceed with the application, fees are:
- US$1,500.00 – single applicant
- US$2,000.00 – couple
- US$3,000.00 – a family of 3 and over
The application is restricted to foreigners whose minimum annual income is USD 50’000 or more.
Antigua and Barbuda is a beautiful and safe location, with a great quality of life and excellent travel links. What are you waiting for to visit us?