Hardly had we started recovering from the economic catastrophe caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, when The Guardian reported about a troubling new issue. The European Commission started to actively protest against granting EU citizenship by investment. Earlier, this way of getting the European passport was considered to be the most expensive but also the fastest and the safest one. However, the EU declares such practice undermines the very idea of citizenship.

Actions were taken rather swiftly. On November 1, 2020, the authorities of Cyprus closed the national citizenship by investment programme despite the fact that it provided for huge financial contributions to the country’s economy and allowed Cyprus to get 8 billion EUR! A lot of people have benefited from the Cyprian programme and similar ones as they have got a chance to set up a business in Europe easily and without spending too much, they can purchase real estate property, find a well-paid job, travel around the world without visas and take part in European social programmes. Children and grandchildren of the happy owners of EU passports can enter the best European universities and get international scholarships without any hindrances.

Unfortunately, Cyprus is no more an option to achieve such goals. Moreover, the actions of the European commission have led to closing down such programmes in Malta and Bulgaria. Brussel’s stance can influence similar programmes in other EU countries, too.

How can I get to Europe without an EU passport?

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European “golden passports” have a good alternative that is considered to be more attractive – Caribbean citizenship by investment. In 2020, CBI Index (annual rate of the existing citizenship by investment programmes) declared the Caribbean programmes to be the best for the fourth time. Have a look: all five first positions in this rate are given to the Caribbean.

We asked Vasily Kluev, Imperial & Legal’s chief client officer, to comment on the choice of CBI Index.

“What do savvy and experienced people value above all? Time-proved reliability, that’s what of the utmost importance. Why are Breitling and Rolex watches are legendary? Why is Omega’s Speedmaster so great that has been taken to the moon six times? They have proven numerous times that you can rely on them under the water, while flying a fight aircraft or exploring the space. Caribbean citizenship by investment have also proved their reliability. In fact, the citizenship by investment programme offered by St. Kitts and Nevis is the oldest existing one, created in 1984. For the sake of comparison, have a look at the Cyprian programme. It was established in 2011 but it was closed quickly – in November, 2020.

The investor’s impeccable business reputation is essential for Caribbean citizenship programmes. Perhaps, that is the reason why a lot of American citizens tend to take interest in acquiring a Caribbean passport, some of the investors even renounce their American citizenship. A passport issued in the Caribbean, gives its holder multiple opportunities. While in the EU requirements to prospective citizens become stricter every year, the Caribbean authorities, on the contrary, offer much more beneficial conditions. To get your passport, you will not even have to go to the Caribbean.”

What are the advantages of the Caribbean passport?

Caribbean citizenship by investment programmes might be quite different from one another but there are some common features. So, who would profit from such programmes?

Business people

You can set up a new business, develop the existing one or purchase shares of a company established on the Caribbean islands. You can also go to the USA or Great Britain with the same goal.

Times when people of the Caribbean countries lived and poverty and tried to get by working in agriculture where they could earn some money selling spices passed long ago. Now, these countries are ultra-modern touristic centers with great infrastructure and high level of safety. That is why these countries are the perfect option for you if you want to set up your business. You could buy real estate property and rent it out but there a lot of other interesting options.

An obvious advantage is the opportunity to travel around the world without applying for visas. If you own a business, you are likely to be an active participant of international conferences and fairs who studies the market and estimates developments in your field to promote the own products wisely. Negotiation process also becomes much simpler if you have no hindrances in terms of going abroad.

Parents

All Caribbean states offering citizenship by investment programmes are members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

What does that mean? The answer is quite simple. Apart from other benefits, the Caribbean passport offers your children an opportunity to enter British universities on attractive terms while you will always be able to visit them and stay in the UK up to 180 days without any additional red tape.

It means that your child has a chance to study at one of the best universities of the world – Oxford (9 rewards from the royal family), Glasgow University (among the top 10 most attractive employers in Great Britain), The London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE (among its graduates, there are over 30 heads of state and 10 Nobel laureates) or any other British university.

Tourists and travellers

Travelling around the world without visas is the most obvious benefit you get as a holder of Caribbean passport.

Big families (4 people and more)

Why big families? Your dependents – children, parents, grandparents and siblings also become holders of Caribbean passports, and it will even cost you much less than your investment. In some Caribbean countries offering citizenship by investment the required financial contribution is at least $100,000. And for this sum of money you get citizenship, not just residency permit!

Those who strive to use their time and money with maximal productivity

You will not simply save your money on these investment projects, you will also be able to get your invested money back some time later. For example, this option is available if you buy real estate property. The overall process of applying for a Caribbean passport will take much less time than the same procedure in the EU.

Which Caribbean citizenship by investment programme should you choose?

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To figure out, which Caribbean country offering citizenship by investment suits you the best, you need to decide what your priority is.

If you value time

If you need to obtain your passport as soon as possible, you might be interested in St. Kitts and Nevis programme, the oldest existing one. In its framework, there is an opportunity to use express application procedure: processing your documents will only take 45 – 60 days, that is the fastest way to get citizenship.

Economy of this region is developing rapidly so your investment will bring your significant profit. Income and foreign income taxes are not imposed on you while other taxes are attractively low.

Your dependents will be able to get citizenship as well, your spouse, unmarried children up to 30 years of age, grandparents older than 55 years of age and unmarried siblings having no children belong to this category. Currently, an extremely attractive offer is available – a family of four members can get citizenship for a non-refundable investment in the Sustainable Growth Fund in the amount of only $150,000. Usually, this sum is required per person only. If you decide to invest in real property, you will be able to sell it and get your money back 7 years later (if you have invested at least $500,000) or 5 years later (if your investment amounts to at least $400,000).

If you value cost-effectiveness

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If your goal is to enjoy benefits of a Caribbean passport and save money, you need to have a look at Dominican programme.

This programme requires at least $100,000 investment (non-refundable contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund) if you apply for citizenship without any dependents. If you have a big family, you need to consider investment options in each programme and find the most suitable one. To do this, you might need help of experienced immigration lawyers. Besides, there is a very attractive bonus: if you invest in real property, you will get your money back in 3 years. There are no restrictions on the expatriation of profits.

Your spouse, mentally challenged children or children up to 30 years of age (if they are full-time students), financially dependent unmarried daughter up to 30 years of age, parents or grandparents older than 55 years of age, unmarried siblings (if they are up to 25 years of age and have no children) can also apply for citizenship. They must be financially dependent on the main applicant. You will be able to get your Caribbean passports in 3 – 4 months.

If you plan to apply for E2, the US work visa

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You have this opportunity if you are a citizen of Grenada, a country with very fertile land. Your financial contribution should exceed $150,000, your investment in real estate might be refunded in 3 years and there are no restrictions in terms of capital imports.

Your dependents may also apply, the following categories are included in this group: children up to 30 years of age, parents and grandparents over 65 years of age, your or your spouse’s siblings if they are not married and have no children.

In case of any programme, you will need to prove that you have the required sum and that its source is

You are free to choose the most suitable citizenship by investment programme. You can get additional information about each of the Caribbean programmes from our immigration lawyers that will help you avoid making mistakes and obtain a second passport rapidly.