In 2023, Caribbean Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs experienced substantial modifications and reforms. These programs have long been a reliable and preferred route for international investors seeking second citizenships. The Caribbean stands at the forefront of citizenship by investment industry. While each program varies in investment options, cost, eligibility criteria, requirements, and processing timeframes, all share the common goal of providing investors with an enhanced level of personal freedom.
Over the past few years, CBI programs overall have faced significant pressure from outside powers to make significant changes to their citizenship by investment programs. The most recent changes were announced mid-2023, reflecting the ongoing evolution of CBI programs in response to global and regional developments and political pressure.
The Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs throughout the Caribbean have undergone significant changes in 2023, following the US-Caribbean Roundtable on Citizenship by Investment. During this meeting, the USA proposed six pivotal changes to the Caribbean CBI programs:
- Collective Approach to Denials: Cease processing applications from individuals who have been denied in another CBI jurisdiction, facilitated by proactive information sharing on denials.
- Interviews: Implement interviews for applicants, which can be conducted either virtually or in person.
- Enhanced Due Diligence: Each jurisdiction is required to conduct thorough checks on applications in collaboration with its respective Financial Intelligence Unit.
- Auditing Practices: Programs must be audited annually or bi-annually, in line with international standards.
- Passport Retrieval: Enlist law enforcement assistance for the retrieval of revoked or recalled passports.
- Russian and Belarusian Applicants: Suspension of the processing of applications from Russian and Belarusian nationals.
Specific changes in the Caribbean countries are as follows:
- Mandatory interviews for all applicants over 16 years old.
- Increased due diligence fees for Iranian citizens, with an Iranian family of four now required to pay approximately $251,800 USD compared to $201,300 USD before.
- A new 5-day stay rule for new citizens.
- Replacement of the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) donation option with the Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC) donation option, doubling the minimum donation requirement from $125,000 USD to $250,000 USD.
- Doubling of the minimum real estate investment amount from $200,000 USD to $400,000 USD, with an increased hold period from 5 years to 7 years.
- Doubling of the minimum investment for an Approved Private Home (APH) for a single family from $400,000 to $800,000.
- Mandatory interviews for all candidates.
- Increased due diligence fees.
- Exclusion of grandparents and siblings as eligible dependents.
- A minimum age requirement of 65 years for parents.
- A ban on adding dependents to applications currently in process.
- The Citizenship by Investment Unit will no longer accept "financially sponsored" applications.
- Mandatory interviews for all applicants over 17 years old.
- No changes to cost structures.
- Introduction of a new interview and identity verification stage in the application process.
- An additional due diligence fee of $500 USD.
- Only the primary applicant is required to attend the interview.
These changes reflect the influence of powerhouse countries such as the United States, EU, and UK in encouraging policy changes in the Caribbean. It is anticipated that other Caribbean nations offering CBI programs, such as Antigua and Barbuda, will soon implement similar changes in to comply with international expectations.
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