Acquiring a second passport through a Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) comes with several remarkable benefits.
When you choose the right program, you will have a second passport that will allow you to enter the issuing country anytime you want to. Additionally, you can be granted visa-free entry or visa upon arrival to several nations across the world. This means that you can save a lot of time and money if you travel frequently due to your work or business.
Many citizenship by investment programs do not require foreigners to renounce their original nationality once they are issued a second passport. As such, you can have two citizenships at the same time legally.
Also, many of these programs come with the option of investing in a property or business. You can then own a home, commercial space, or company (or co-own one) and have the opportunity to get a second citizenship.
Lastly, several citizenship by investment programs come with excellent tax benefits. Once you become a legal citizen of your chosen country and if you proceed to become a full-time resident, you will pay low levies and sometimes, even none at all. Antigua for instance levies no personal income tax at all!
Tax-Friendly Citizenship by Investment Programs
Below are the top six countries with citizenship by investment programs that offer exceptional tax benefits:
1. Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda’s CIP is one of the most sought-after in the world. It comes with the benefits mentioned earlier.
An Antigua and Barbuda passport grants holders visa-free travel to more than 140 countries, including the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, Schengen and Caribbean countries. Once you become a citizen and if you choose to reside in Antigua for at least 6 months of each year, you will also become a tax resident.
Alternatively, you skip the citizenship and apply for the Antigua and Barbuda Permanent Residency program. By acquiring a Permanent Residency certificate, you will be exempted from paying the following:
- Worldwide income tax
- Wealth tax
- Inheritance tax
- Capital gains tax
- Dividend tax
To become a resident of Antigua and Barbuda, you have to:
- Stay for at least 30 days in the country in a year
- Maintain a permanent home within the country by leasing or buying a residential property
- Have an annual income of at least $100,000
- Pay an annual tax of $20,000
Note however that the status must be renewed annually, whereas if you are a citizen and reside in the country for the required time, there is now renewal of tax status required. .
2. St. Kitts and Nevis
Another Caribbean country with an outstanding second passport program is St. Kitts and Nevis. Its immigration plan is one of the oldest in the world.
A St. Kitts and Nevis passport gives holders visa-free or visa on arrival entry to 130countries. These include the United Kingdom, Southeast Asia, Schengen, and Middle Eastern nations.
Once you become a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis, and should you become a permanent resident residing in St Kitts and Nevis for at least 183 days per year, your global income, inheritance, wealth, and gifts will not be taxable.
The country is also known for its generous tax incentive packages. These include corporate tax incentives, exemption from import duties, and withholding taxes. There are also export allowances for qualified investments.
To know if you can qualify for the other tax benefits, consult a qualified immigration consultant.
The “Nature Island of the Caribbean” also has an exceptional second passport program that has been in place for several years now.
A legally-issued passport from Dominica allows you visa-free travel to over 125 countries. These include the Schengen zone, the United Kingdom, and various nations in Asia and the Caribbean.
Residents of the country enjoy minimal taxation. If you become a citizen of Dominica, you won’t have to pay for wealth, gift, foreign income, inheritance, and capital gains taxes.
If you decide to start a business here, you will have access to substantial incentive packages such as corporate tax incentives, exemption from import duties, export allowances, and tax relief benefits.
This Caribbean country also has a citizenship by investment program that is considered one of the best in the world.
A Grenada passport offers visa-free access to over 130 countries. The United Kingdom, Ireland, Russia, and the European Union, Caribbean, and Commonwealth nations are some of the countries which you can enter without a visa.
If you become a citizen of the country, and you live in the country for a minimum of 183 days per year, you will be exempted from income, capital gains, wealth, and inheritance tax.
Business owners that become citizens through the program will also enjoy outstanding incentive packages such as corporate tax incentives, tax relief benefits, complete exemption from import duties, and export allowances.
5. St. Lucia
This small Caribbean nation only started their second citizenship program in 2016. As such, it is one of the newest ones in the world. It is considered one of the most affordable, as well.
When you have a St. Lucia passport, you can travel to over 100 countries without a visa. These include the United Kingdom, the Schengen area, Hong Kong, and other Asian nations.
St. Lucia has no capital gains or inheritance taxes. You will also not be taxed on your global income that you do not bring to the country.
However, if you establish permanent residence in St. Lucia by moving your family and work or start a business here, you will be required to pay taxes on all your worldwide income.
Lastly, although this European country is small, the Malta passport is one of the most powerful in the world. With this document, you can travel visa-free to over 167 countries, such as the US, Canada, and the EU.
This travel document also gives you the right to live, work, and study in any of the EU countries and Switzerland.
The Malta Individual Investor Program or IIP was formally introduced in 2014. Since then, this second citizenship plan, which enables foreigners to obtain EU citizenship, has become one of the most popular globally.
Malta does not have municipal, inheritance, wealth, and net worth taxes. It does not have any estate duty, as well. Additionally, the nation has double taxation treaties with around 60 countries globally.
Even if you make Malta your permanent residence, you can retain your “non-domiciled” status. Because of this, you will only be taxed on any income you earn or receive in the country.
Any money you receive out of the country still won’t be taxed.
To become a tax resident in Malta, you have to live within the country for at least 183 days per year.
If you want to apply for second citizenship, consider the tax benefits the countries and programs offer. By doing so, you will live a more comfortable life in your selected nation whether you stay there temporarily or make it your new home.
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment into the Caribbean, North America and Europe. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.