Five countries located in the Caribbean Sea administer citizenship-by-investment programs, which means that you can ‘buy’ Caribbean citizenship. The countries include the following ones: Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Dominica, and Grenada. All of them offer at least two options to foreign investors. First, you can make a non-returnable donation to the state fund. The required donation amounts vary between US$ 100,000 and US$ 150,000. Second, you can make a returnable investment in real property. The required investment amounts vary between US$ 200,000 and US$ 400,000.
If you ‘buy’ a Caribbean passport, you don’t have to live in the region in order to keep it. You can simply use it for traveling around the globe without visas and opening bank accounts in foreign countries. We are going to assume, however, that you would like to become a Caribbean citizen because you want to relocate there and live in paradise. If this is the case indeed, you have to do your homework and find out in advance how comfortable and how expensive life in the Caribbean is. How much does it cost to live in paradise? What taxes are due there? How good is the healthcare system in each of the countries that we have listed above? What education opportunities can your children find there? How good is the Internet connection? What recreation facilities can you find in the Caribbean? We answer these questions below in an attempt to help you make the best choice.
It must be admitted that the cost of living in the Caribbean is relatively high. To be more precise, locally made products are quite affordable but they are few. Many goods have to be important to the above mentioned countries and the import duties are high. If you buy a foreign product, you will have to pay twice the price in some cases when it comes to the country.
|Country||% of cost of living in the USA|
|Antigua and Barbuda||87.1%|
|St Kitts and Nevis||84.12%|
We also have to note that the cost of living in the Caribbean can be higher for a foreign investor that for a local person. For example, you can find an affordable house in the inland areas of Antigua, but foreign investors seeking citizenship of the country by investment into property can invest only in Government-approved development projects. These are normally hotels and resort complexes sitting on the shores and the prices of accommodations there are comparable to the price of accommodations in Miami.
Naturally, the cost of living will largely depend upon your lifestyle. The figures above can give you a general idea of the amount of money that you need to live comfortably in the Caribbean.
The personal income tax rate is 0% in St Kitts and Nevis as well as in Antigua and Barbuda. Thus, if you live in one of the countries for more than 183 days per year, you can become a tax resident there and pay nothing in taxes. It does not matter if your income is obtained locally or globally: the tax rate is 0% anyway.
In Grenada, Dominica, and St Lucia, the highest income tax rates are 28%, 35%, and 30% correspondingly. Dividends, royalties, and interests are taxed only in Dominica and St Lucia. соответственно.
Tax residents of the Caribbean countries do not pay any taxes on capital gains and inheritance. As you can see, living in St Kitts and Nevis or in Antigua and Barbuda can help you save on taxes greatly (if you cease to be a tax resident of your country of origin).
At the same time, it might be the case that you would have to use the money saved on taxes to cover your everyday costs. We will repeat: life is not exactly cheap in these Caribbean countries.
If you would like to make full use of your Caribbean passport and actually live in the country of its issuance, you certainly have to inquire about the quality of medical services there and the available medical infrastructure. This is especially important if you are acquiring Caribbean citizenship for all members of your family (which is quite possible). Let’s look at the basic figures related to the healthcare systems in the five countries.
|Country||Hospital beds per 1,000 residents||Medical doctors per 1,000 residents|
|Antigua and Barbuda||2.89||2.76|
|St Kitts and Nevis||2.3||2.52|
Dominica has the highest number of hospital beds but very few doctors. Antigua and St Kitts offer the best balance between the physical and human components of medical infrastructure.
Regardless of your choice of country, you have to obtain a medical insurance policy that covers emergency evacuation from the Caribbean, among other things.
If you are planning to relocate to the Caribbean with your children, the educational opportunities available in a particular country will play a pivotal role. In St Kitts, for instance, you can find several schools working on American, Canadian, and British curricula. Most countries in the Caribbean use British study programs in state, private, primary, and secondary schools.
The medical school found in Dominica makes the country attractive for those seeking higher education at an affordable price. Please note that foreign students pay higher tuition fees than local students do. Your Caribbean passport will make you eligible for lower fees.
If your child is interested in medicine, you can also consider sending him or her to the Medical College located in Antigua. The tuition fee is about US$ 25,000 there while the tuition fee for a similar educational program in the USA and elsewhere is US$ 75,000 or more.
If you plan to work from home after relocating to the Caribbean, you certainly need reliable Internet connection. Online applications will also help you keep in touch with your friends and relatives living in your country of origin. Here are the basic figures related to the Internet in the Caribbean.
|Country||Fixed broadband subscriptions (per 100 people)|
|St Kitts and Nevis||62.97|
|Antigua and Barbuda||8.63|
Evidently, St Kitts outperforms other countries as far as the Internet quality is concerned. In Antigua, you will have to spend considerable time and effort to get high-speed Internet at home.
If you are prepared to pay a bit more for premium quality recreation, Antigua should be your choice. It is known as ‘the island of 365 beaches’ and locals insist that this is not simply a catchy slogan. “We truly have hundreds of beaches with white sand and turquoise water”.
If you are looking for wilderness, give an eye to St Lucia. You can find many natural wonders there including sulfur springs and an active volcano.
You have to do extensive research when choosing the best citizenship-by-investment program in the Caribbean. The required investment amount is not the only factor that matters. St Kitts, for example, is a wonderful place for living and the required amount of investment into property is only US$ 200,000, which certainly makes it an attractive option to consider. In reality, however, a nice modern house with all the facilities is going to cost you US$ 5 million or more in the country.
It would be a good idea to seek some professional assistance in choosing the best citizenship-by-investment option if you want to avoid confusion and misinformation.