CaribbeanIntel & Data

First Data Batch in 3 Years Reveals Antigua & Barbuda CIP Now Caribbean’s Least Popular Program

For more than three consecutive years, the Antigua & Barbuda CIU has withheld from the public statistics on its citizenship by investment program, despite its legal obligation under the Citizenship by Investment Act to publish reports on the program every six months. Yesterday, however, the CIU finally published data on the program, releasing reports for no fewer than five half-year periods at once, perhaps prompted by its declining performance in IMI’s Citizenship by Investment Transparency Index

The figures reveal that, by the end of last year, the Antigua & Barbuda CIP had received a total of 3,779 applications from main applicants (approval figures are not published) since opening in 2014. These applications have resulted in the issuance of citizenship to altogether 7,205 individuals.

2018 remains the program's high-water mark, a year during which the CIU received 678 applications and raised some US$64 million in National Development Fund (NDF) contributions (amounts invested through other program categories are not published).

The numbers also indicate that - following the meteoric rise in demand for Grenada citizenship and a less-pronounced but also remarkable increase in Saint Lucia application volume over the last two years - Antigua & Barbuda is now the least popular of the five Caribbean CIPs. While neither Saint Kitts & Nevis nor Dominica has been forthcoming about releasing regular data, we know - thanks to third-party revelations and ad-hoc government reports - that their application volume is in the thousands.

The second half of 2018, in particular, stands out for having logged 400 applications in a single six-month period. Since then, application volume has remained stable, ranging between 182 and 275 each half year.

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On the whole, the NDF contribution has been the program's decidedly most popular qualifying option, accounting for 76% of the all-time total. The distribution of investors' preference in qualifying option, however, has varied considerably throughout the years: Between 2014 and 2018, about one-third of applicants chose to qualify by investing in real estate. Since then, however, property investment has accounted for only 6% of applications.

A similar pattern has played out in the nationality distribution of applicants: In the first four years of the program, 40% of applicants were Chinese. In the last five years, however, Chinese nationals have accounted for only 15% of applications. Nigerians, in particular, have demonstrated growing appetites for Antiguan citizenship: Since H1 2020, they have been the program's single-biggest applicant nationality.

Since the second half of 2016 (data on NDF contributions prior to this period are missing), Antigua & Barbuda's CIP has raised an average of just shy of US$42 million a year, with contributions peaking in 2018 at US$64 million.

While precise figures on the amounts invested in real estate, businesses, and the University of West Indies contribution option, the government - in its annual Budget Speeches - has revealed the direct revenues it received from the program in the form of passport stamp, agent license, application processing, and due diligence fees. Since 2015, these have amounted to EC$735.3 million (US$272 million).

If you like data-driven articles like this one, you'll love the IMI Data Center, the world's largest collection of investment migration statistics, with more than 350 graphs and charts on dozens of IM programs and markets.

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