Top 5 Residency by Investment Programs in 2019 (including Antigua & Barbuda)
You’ve heard about Citizenship by Investment Programs. But, becoming a dual citizen can sound like a very serious endeavor. Perhaps your home country doesn’t allow you to hold more than a specified number of passports, or the requirements for Citizenship by Investment are hard to meet? If this is the case, there is another option for you to consider—Residency by Investment.
What is Residency by Investment?
Residency by Investment is a way of getting a permanent residency in a country on the basis of financial contribution to the country’s economy. Depending on the country there are different requirements for this process.
The differences most often lie in:
- The types of contributions one is allowed to make to fulfill the program requirements. Some common options include investments in real estate, business, or in development funds.
- The sets of contributions one is required to make. Some programs specify more than one financial requirement. For example, in the Cyprus Program you need to not just buy property, but also make a deposit in the bank, and prove a recurring annual income above EUR 30.000 (~USD 34,000).
- The minimum required amount for each investment type. These can vary substantially, for example Antigua and Barbuda has a minimal requirement of USD 100,000, while Singapore of around USD 1.8 million.
Many countries offer Residency by Investment Programs, but sometimes they function under slightly different names. For example, Golden Visa Program (Spain), Global Investor program (Singapore), and similar.
Even if you’ve already decided to pursue Residency by Investment, it can be hard to choose which specific program is best for your needs. To help you make a final decision, we’ve pre-selected five most popular Residency by Investment Programs.
Disclaimer: The monetary figures quoted in this article may be changed at any time by the governments of each country. We therefore do not guarantee that they are current at all times.
Antigua & Barbuda Residency by Investment
Antigua and Barbuda has a well known Citizenship by Investment Program. But, since 1995 there is also a less known, alternative option—the Antigua and Barbuda Permanent Residency Program (PRP).
Explore the differences between the citizenship and residency status here.
To get the status of a permanent resident in Antigua and Barbuda you need to:
- Have a permanent place of residence in Antigua and Barbuda.
- Spend at least 30 days a year in the country.
- Have an annual income of at least USD 100,000.
- Pay a levy of USD 20,000 to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Permanent Residency Program:
The certificate of permanent residency is valid for 12 months, after which you have to reapply and pay the USD 20,000 levy again.
The minimum annual stay requirement is much larger than that of the Citizenship by Investment Program. With CIP you only need to spend five days over a five year period, while with the PRP, 30 days a year.
It requires maintaining a property in Antigua and Barbuda which can involve additional costs and challenges.
Cheaper than the Citizenship by Investment Program.
Unlike a standard residency, it doesn’t require an extended stay in Antigua and Barbuda prior to submitting an application.
How to apply for the Permanent Residency Program in Antigua and Barbuda?
This process can only be performed via a local agent. The main document you’ll need to fill is the official application form. At Relocate Antigua we’ll be happy to assist you in the process of filling the required forms and providing certified translation of documents if necessary.
You’ll also need to submit the following additional documents:
- Copy of your birth certificate
- Copy of your passport
- Two passport size photographs
- Original police report from the country where you’ve lived for the past two years
- Bank reference
- Two reference letters
- Medical certification
- Copy of Certificate of Naturalization (if applicable)
- Lease or title to property in Antigua and Barbuda
Not sure whether you should choose Citizenship by Investment or Permanent Residency Program in Antigua and Barbuda? Book a consultation with our experts at Relocate Antigua.
Cyprus Residency by Investment
Cyprus is an attractive location for individuals looking for a second residency. Residents enjoy many tax benefits, for example, there is no tax on disposal of investments like shares and bonds, and no special tax on foreign pensions for amounts up to EUR 3,420 (~USD 3,860) .
However, there are many financial requirements one needs to fulfill to gain permanent residency status in Cyprus:
- You’re required to buy property of a combined value of EUR 300,000 (~USD 339,000).
- You need to prove you have a secure annual income of at least EUR 30.000 (~USD 34,000). The sum will be larger depending on the number of dependents you include in the application.
- Deposit at least EUR 30,000 (~USD 34,000) and submit a confirmation letter from a local financial institution.
You also need to prove that these amounts have been transferred to Cyprus from abroad.
Cyprus: Advantages and disadvantages
- Quick processing times. In terms of application processing speed Cyprus beats the competition. Since the government introduced a fast track application scheme the application processing time for applications typically does not exceed two months.
- Once acquired the residency is valid for life.
- Low processing fee. After you’ve satisfied the many financial requirements above, the government processing fee is only EUR 500 (~USD 565).
- Dependents. Residency permit covers your spouse and children below 18. It can also be extended to children between 18-25, as well as parents or parents in-law (subject to additional criteria).
- Work. With the residency status you are not permitted to undertake any employment in Cyprus.
- Residence. You’re required to acquire a residence in Cyprus within a year of receiving the permanent residence certificate. BUT,
- You’re not required to live in Cyprus, but only to visit the country every two years (at minimum).
Singapore Residency by Investment
Singapore is a destination sought after by expats and global businesspeople. Why?
- Quality of life. It ranks number nine in the 2018 Human Development Index, and the Internations 2018 Quality of Life Index has it at the fourth place.
- The GNI per capita is USD 82,503, GDP growth was 3.62% per year in 2017 and, according to the World Bank’s 2017 report, the country ranks second in the Ease of Doing Business ranking.
The Singapore program is known as the Global Investor Program (GIP), and the financial requirements of the scheme are quite demanding.
In order to obtain residency in the country you have two investment options. Both ask for investment of at least SGD 2.5 million (USD 1,841,250) which can be allocated into:
- a new business startup or expansion of an existing business operation, or
- a GIP-approved fund (2019 list here) that invests in Singapore-based companies.
Moreover, you are only eligible to apply for GIP if you have both a substantial business track record (of more than three years) and a successful entrepreneurial background. Your success must indeed be large—the requirements specify that in the year right before your application your company’s turnover must be at least SGD 50 million (almost USD 37 million).
This is just an outline of the basic requirements, Singapore Economic Development Board is helpful in listing all the additional details.
Singapore: Advantages and disadvantages
- Economy & quality of life. Great place for business with high quality of life indicators.
- Dependents. GIP allows to apply for permanent residence for family members.
- Tax rates. As an individual you’ll only be taxed on the income earned in Singapore, there is also no capital gains or inheritance tax.
- Cost. Large initial capital is required. Even just the application cost is comparatively high—a non-refundable fee of ~USD 5,155.5.
- Eligibility. The scheme is only available to entrepreneurs, actively involved in their business.
- Duties. If you extend the permanent residence status to your sons, depending on their age they might be required to perform military service.
Belize Residency by Investment
The Central American country of Belize might be a surprising addition to the list of top Residency by Investment programs. But, the country has promising quality of life indicators and Belize’s programs have several important advantages that make the country a destination to consider.
In 2018 Belize had a medium HDI value (0.708) and its GNI per capita increased by ~43.8% between 1990 and 2017.
The Belize Residency Program has different price depending on your nationality. For example, a US national will pay BZD 2,000 (~USD 992), a Canadian BZD 1,500 (~USD 744), and most European citizens BZD 3,000 (~USD 1,488).
The other great piece of news is that the program doesn’t require you to make any investment. Rather, you’ll be asked to submit a set of documents as a proof of financial stability. What is more, you can apply for the resident status even when you’re unemployed. In such a case another individual has to be identified as your sponsor.
Permanent Residency of Belize: Advantages and disadvantages
- No age limit. Getting the permanent resident status in Belize is open to people of all ages.
- Work. Permanent residency allows you to work in Belize.
- Cost. The program is very cheap and doesn’t require you to make an investment.
- Limited transfer of goods. While when moving to Belize you are allowed a one-time tax-free transfer of household, not everything is included in the list of permitted items. For example, a car or a boat cannot be brought tax-free.
- Stay requirements. Before you submit an application for permanent residency you’ll need to have spent at least one year in Belize, without leaving the country for more than 14 days in total. This will require you to stay in the country as a tourist and renew your tourist visa (Tourist Card) monthly.
- Medical tests. The tests you need to provide for the required medical form have to be done in Belize.
QRP: Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Program in Belize
Belize offers an additional, quite unique type of Residency by Investment program. The Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Program is targeted at individuals above 45 years of age from anywhere in the world.
The requirements of participating in the program are quite straightforward—you need to present a proof of a monthly income of USD 2,000, undergo a medical examination (including an HIV/AIDS test), and pay a set of fees amounting to approximately USD 1,350.
Some important features of the Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Program:
- Movement. You can freely enter and exit the country, but you are required to spend one month in Belize annually.
- Transfer of goods. Within the first year of you can bring a personal motor vehicle, a boat, and an aircraft duty free (unlike when you’re a permanent resident).
- Tax breaks. You’re exempted from capital gains tax, inheritance tax, and all income from sources outside of Belize.
- Work. You’re not allowed to work or seek employment in Belize.
- Paperwork. As a QRP you’ll be required to submit a yearly local bank statement to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the program.
You can explore all the features of the QRP on the website of the Belize Tourism Board.
New Zealand Residency by Investment
Internation’s Quality of Life index 2018 places New Zealand at the 11th place, and its HDI rank in 2018 is number 16 — well above average. What’s more, according to the OECD 2018 report New Zealand performs high on a variety of factors—it has a lower long term unemployment than the OECD average, and higher than average social support and life expectancy.
The business-inclined you will also be excited to hear that New Zealand ranks first in the world in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking.
Along with its world-renowned landscapes, all the above numerical indicators surely serve as an incentive to participate in the New Zeland Program.
There are two subtypes of the program, let’s see the requirements.
Investor Visa, Investor 2 category:
- You need to invest at least NZD 3 million (~USD 1,967,000) over a four-year period.
- You are required to spend 438 days in the country over the four-year investment period.
- Other: you need to have at least three years of business experience, a specified level of English language proficiency (which applies both to the main applicant and their family members), you need to be younger than 65 years old.
Investor Plus Visa, Investor 1 category:
- You need to invest at least NZD 10 million (~USD 6,557,000) over a three-year period.
- You are only required to spend 88 days in New Zeland over the three-year investment period.
New Zealand Residency by Investment: Advantages and disadvantages
- Time in New Zealand. You need to spend a substantial amount of time in the country. Considering its location, flying back and forth might be very costly. As an alternative to that you might consider relocation.
- Age restriction. New Zealand residency by investment is not an option for over 65-year-olds.
- You can bypass all the additional requirements by opting for the Investor Plus Visa.
- Tax rates. New Zealand has a very attractive fiscal system in terms of tax rates. For example, during the first four years of living in New Zealand income from overseas investments or pensions can be exempt from tax, there is no inheritance tax, no general capital gains tax, no payroll tax, social security tax, or healthcare tax and the country has agreements with 39 countries to avoid double taxation.
These are just the basic requirements of the New Zealand Residency by Investment Program. You can learn more on the country’s government website.
There are many more aspects to consider when choosing between Citizenship or Residency by Investment Programs. From real estate, to tax residency, to work permits. At Relocate Antigua we’ll take care of all aspects of your personal and business life in Antigua and Barbuda.
Are you interested in exploring this attractive destination in the Caribbean for a residency program? Book a consultation now.