There are many options to choose from when it comes to Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs. Europe and the Caribbean Islands are two regions that host some of the best performing immigration programs with fast, efficient and reliable processes that see investors obtaining a second passport in just 6 months.
If both regions have the same goal of providing investors with second citizenship and a passport, what is the difference between the European CBI programs and the Caribbean CBI programs?
Every CBI program differs from the next. And even though they seem similar on the surface, the truth is that not every CBI program will be a good fit for you.
In this article, we explore the differences between the Caribbean and European Citizenship by Investment programs to give you a better idea of which one might be more suitable for you and your needs.
Minimum Investment Amount
The biggest distinction between the Caribbean and European CBI programs are the differences in minimum investment entry points. Caribbean programs are known for being the most cost-effective option with investment amounts starting as low as USD 100,000 for a single applicant and just under USD 180,000 for families of 4 in exchange for full citizenship and passport.
European programs, on the other hand, are a bit more lavishly priced than their Caribbean counterparts, but cost more for good reason, as they provide more benefits and opportunities. Minimum investment amounts begin at USD 250,000 for a single applicant when applying to a European CBI program.
Take a look at the different programs and their minimum investment amounts:
- Antigua & Barbuda | from USD 100,000
- Commonwealth of Dominica | from USD 100,000
- Grenada | from USD 150,000
- St. Kitts & Nevis | from USD 150,000
- Saint Lucia | from USD 100,000
Choice of Investment
Caribbean CBI programs provide investors with a choice of at least 2 or 3 different options as a qualifying investment. The common two options investors have are purchasing government-approved real estate or contributing to a public fund.
European CBI programs usually only offer one investment avenue for investors or a combined investment will need to be made – which usually consists of a contribution to a public fund and purchasing real estate in the country.
Even though the European CBI programs cost more, take longer and have more complicated procedures and processes than their Caribbean counterparts, there are still many wealthy individuals who are willing to invest a higher amount and apply to these programs – and there’s a good reason that they do so.
The Caribbean CBI programs offer unrestricted access to many popular destinations around the world, including the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Russia and Singapore. Naturally, European passports provide unrestricted travel to these regions too. The only difference is that they offer access to a few more countries and territories, such as Canada than the Caribbean programs.
For example, a Maltese passport provides visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to 183 countries and territories worldwide. When compared to the Caribbean’s strongest passport – which is St. Kitts and Nevis with unrestricted access to 156 countries and territories – the European passport allows investors to travel to 27 more regions.
Depending on your needs and priorities, you might find that you don’t need to apply for a European passport to access the regions you want or need to be in. For example, holding citizenship in Grenada allows you to gain access to the United States of America via the E-2 Investor Visa.
Ease of Process
When compared to Caribbean CBI programs, European programs have a more time-consuming application process. Background checks, due diligence and legal documentation requirements are more rigorous for investors due to stricter laws and procedures.
This doesn’t mean that places like Grenada and Dominica have no rules, regulations and checks in place for their CBI programs – it simply means that their application process isn’t as demanding to get through as Turkey’s might be.
Time to Citizenship
One of the aspects of Caribbean CBI programs that attract high-net-worth individuals is the application process’s speed and efficiency. For example, the average time it takes for passports to be issued to investors is 4 to 6 months, with the fast-track option shortening that timeframe to 45 to 60 days.
However, due to the requirements and regulations of the European CBI programs, investors usually receive their passport in roughly 4 to 6 months – unless you’re applying for Maltese citizenship by investment, in which case, it’ll take up to 14 to 16 months.
Different CBI programs suit different needs. If you’re in a hurry to obtain second citizenship for yourself and your family, then the Caribbean programs are a good option. But if you have some extra time and money to invest, take a look at the European CBI programs and decide which one is best for you.
When holding the passport of an EU member country, you’ll be entitled to consular protection and support from any EU around the globe. This is a fantastic benefit that ensures security and safety when travelling anywhere in the world.
Lifestyle & Atmosphere
The islands of the Caribbean are a tropical paradise that is hard to beat. Year-round sunny weather, clear blue water, clean beaches and a laid back atmosphere are a great way to spend those summer vacations or perfect for retirement. The Caribbean is also home to one of the best universities in the world – St. George’s University.
Europe has state-of-the-art infrastructure, a booming economy filled with business opportunities, great education and health systems, and a stable political climate – making it an ideal place to live, open a business and raise a family.
Quality of Life
Caribbean countries offer a great quality of life, from a stable socio-political climate to good education and healthcare systems. Grenada alone boasts one of the best medical schools in the world, Saint George’s University, which is ranked highly by multiple global organizations, including the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP), National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) and World Federation for Medical Education (WFME), and is one of a handful of non-US institutions approved by the Council on Education for Public Health Accreditation (CEPH) to be accredited. The premier Caribbean medical school is also the second-largest source of US doctors, with a 94% US Residency Attainment in 2020.
Europe’s reputation is based on the fact that it offers a different type of high-quality life. Citizens benefit from residing in these developed countries full of rich history, political and economic stability, renowned educational institutions and top-of-the-line healthcare.
In comparison, both the Caribbean and Europe offer a life that is suitable for everyone, depending on their needs and priorities.
Europe is home to the European Economic Area (EEA), the world’s largest single economy with an estimated consumer base of over 500 million people. Simply put, it’s a goldmine of lucrative business deals and opportunities for any entrepreneur or business-minded individual. And, of course, holding European citizenship, will allow you to take advantage of the European market and grow your business.
The Caribbean passport will provide you with many business opportunities as well. So, whether you decide to opt for a European CBI program or a Caribbean one, you can take comfort in knowing that you’ll have far more opportunities than you might have in your home country.
All the Caribbean CBI programs guarantee full confidentiality. Your home authorities will not be notified of your new nationality and passport. European programs do not guarantee full confidentiality in this regard.
What do Caribbean and European programs have in common?
Now that we’ve looked at the difference between Caribbean and European CBI programs, it’s time to look at the similarities you can enjoy when applying to any of the abovementioned programs.
Favourable tax benefits
Whether you apply for Turkish or Dominican citizenship, you can look forward to favourable tax policies in both Europe and the Caribbean, for both personal and corporate.
Dual citizenship is permitted
None of the Citizenship by Investment programs mentioned in this article requires applicants to renounce their current citizenship(s). You will be permitted to keep your existing nationality and benefit from both citizenships.
Minimal residency requirements
The majority of European and Caribbean CBI programs do not require applicants to physically visit the country before, during or after the application process. You do not have to relocate or reside in the country to be a citizen and hold a passport.
However, a few programs do have minimal requirements, such as Malta and Antigua & Barbuda. When applying for Maltese citizenship by investment, you are required to physically visit Malta on two occasions – once when submitting your biometric data and the second time when completing the Oath of Allegiance Ceremony.
When applying for the Antigua and Barbuda CBI program, you must physically visit the country for 5 days within the first 5 years after obtaining citizenship. During this time, you can complete the Oath of Allegiance ceremony with all adult members of your family.
All Citizenship by Investment programs are legal pathways to full citizenship and are guaranteed by the country’s law and government.
Great Plan B
If recent events have shown us anything, it’s that having a Plan B is a must. The world is unpredictable and having the freedom to relocate to a more stable and safe country is a significant benefit that will help in times of uncertainty, risky situations or urgent medical treatment that may not be available in your country.
Holding citizenship in a Caribbean or European country is the perfect safety net for you and your family.
No experience needed
You are not required to pass any interviews and language tests, nor do you need to possess any previous work or education experience to apply to any of the programs mentioned in this article.
Family can be included
Although the requirements of who is considered an eligible dependent differ from program to program, the fact remains that the Caribbean and European programs allow family members to be added to your application. That means your loved ones can also benefit from second citizenship and passport.
Book a Free Consultation
Choosing the right CBI program for you and your family is a tough decision and it should be made only when you fully understand everything about the programs available to you.
Savory & Partners is a long-standing and well-respected authorized agent that specializes in helping high-net-worth individuals secure citizenship through investment for themselves and their dependents. When choosing us as your partner on this journey, you can be assured that you are in safe and capable hands
The Savory & Partners team is made up of a diverse group of industry experts who span over 15 nationalities, speak over 25 languages collectively, and come with decades of accumulated CBI and RBI industry experience. Our level of expertise and competence combined with our commitment to serving our clients with the highest level of professionalism and transparency has led us to aid over 1,100 families obtain a second passport with a 100% success rate. There is no one better positioned and more trustworthy than Savory & Partners when seeking the best results on your quest to secure a better future for yourself and your family.
If you would like to apply to the Caribbean or European Citizenship by Investment Program or would like to learn more, get in contact with us today for a free online consultation and one of our skilled agents will happily aid you in your enquiry.
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