Antigua and Barbuda is the latest Caribbean island to offer residents of the UAE citizenship, in return for investment in the country.
Antigua and Barbuda has now officially launched its Citizenship-by-Investment Programme for 2013.
"The Citizenship-by-Investment Programme will allow qualified applicants who invest a minimum of $400,000 in real-estate or make a minimum contribution of $250,000 to the National Development Fund, and who pass a most thorough application process, to be granted citizenship of the country," the government announced.
Last month Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer was the keynote speaker at the he Global Residence & Citizenship Conference, held in Dubai.
He was reported as returning from his trip extremely positive, as he got the sense that the world, and those who are interested in these types of arrangements, were looking forward to working closely with the government and the people of Antigua & Barbuda.
Currently similar programmes are offered by St. Kitts and Nevis and Dominica.
In the UAE, these programmes do incredibly well, say immigration consultants.
"Last month St Kitts and Nevis opened its Embassy in the UAE. It only has three other embassies around the world," says Pej Mohyeddin, Immigration & Business Consultant at Bayat Legal Services.
"There has been a tremendous increase of UAE residents applying for residency through these programmes."
The citizenship-by-investment programme of Antigua and Barbuda provides for three
different options, the government statement said:
"A real-estate investment option, whereby a minimum investment of $400,000 in eligible property must be made; a contribution option, whereby a minimum non-refundable contribution to the National Development Fund of between $250,000 and $400,000 must be made; and a business investment option, whereby a minimum investment of $1,250,000 in an eligible business enterprise is required.
"In all cases, the Government charges also application and due diligence fees, starting at $50,000 and $7,500 respectively for a single applicant," it was added.
The investment funds required are comparable to what is required in St Kitts and Nevis, but exceed those required in Dominca, where a non-refundable investment of $100,000 plus government fees and due diligence for a single applicant is the minimum.
However, what signify an attractive programme are probably the physical residency requirements.
Currently these requirements have not been specified in the case of Antigua and Barbuda, but a commitment by the applicant to spend a minimum amount of time physically in Antigua and Barbuda will be among the conditions.
In this concern, St Kitts and Nevis offers most leniency; the resident does not need to be physically present in the country at any time. Dominica requires one visit for the interview of the applicant.
The government of Antigua and Barbuda further announced that a system of licensed agents would be established and the dissemination of information as well as the professional mounting and submitting of applications under the programme would be strictly regulated.