Updated: June 29, 2022 | 15 minute read

    Europe and the Caribbean Islands offer most of the world’s best programmes for immigration. Both the regions welcome high-net-worth individuals who are looking to invest in citizenship or permanent residency. Who would not want the opportunity to live in breathtaking countries that provide families with safety and security?  

    In the Caribbean Islands, foreign investors can acquire citizenship in the following countries:  

    1. Antigua & Barbuda  
    2. Dominica  
    3. Grenada  
    4. St. Kitts & Nevis  
    5. St. Lucia  

    In Europe, high-net-worth individuals can invest in citizenship in:  

    1. Malta  
    2. Turkey  
    3. Montenegro 
    4. Austria 
    5. North Macedonia 

    It is important to note that Austria’s programme does not qualify passive investments in real estate or government bonds. Unlike the other programmes, applicants of the Austrian citizenship-by-investment should actively participate in the Austrian economy. They could have a direct investment in a business that generates new export sales or opens new jobs.  

    While Europe and the Caribbean Islands have their strengths in immigration programmes, it makes it confusing for investors to make a decision. In this article, we will discuss the key differences between the two regions’ schemes for citizenship. 

    The minimum amount of investment

    The first way to distinguish if a Citizenship by Investment programme is European or Caribbean is the minimum investment entry points. European citizenship costs more than the Caribbean citizenship. 

    In Europe, North Macedonia requires the lowest amount for citizenship, requiring applicants to acquire at least EUR 200,000 for at least two years in a private investment fund. On the other hand, investors can obtain Caribbean citizenship by investing at least USD 100,000 in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica or St. Lucia. 

    Take a look at this comparison of European and Caribbean CBI minimum investments: 

    European Citizenship  Caribbean Citizenship 

    North Macedonia 

    EUR 200,000 

    Antigua & Barbuda 

    USD 100,000 

    Turkey 

    USD 250,000 

    Dominica 

    USD 100,000 

    Malta through the Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment 

    EUR 600,000 

    St. Kitts & Nevis 

    USD 150,000 

     

    Grenada 

    USD 150,000 

     

    What makes European citizenship way more expensive than in the Caribbean?  

    Unrestricted travel to other countries 

    Both regions allow citizens to travel visa-free to other countries, especially in the Schengen Area. The only difference is that European citizenship allows unrestricted access to more countries and areas than the Caribbean.  

    How many countries can you travel to with your European or Caribbean passport? 

    European Citizenship  Caribbean Citizenship 

    Malta through the Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment 

    186 

    St. Kitts & Nevis  

    157 

    North Macedonia 

    126 

    Antigua & Barbuda 

    151 

    Montenegro 

    124 

    St. Lucia 

    146 

    Turkey 

    111 

    Grenada 

    144 

     

    Dominica 

    143 

     

    Through the Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment, investors can acquire a Maltese passport and have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 186 countries. This means a European passport takes investors to 29 more countries compared to the Caribbean.  

    Additionally, holding a passport of any European Union member country entitles consular protection and assistance.  

    Investment options 

    Apart from the benefits, it is the options that make CBIs more enticing to investors. On the one hand, Caribbean CBIs usually give investors at least two options. Antigua and Barbuda has the most options: real estate, business, non-refundable contributions to the National Development Fund or to the University of the West Indies. 

    On the other hand, European countries with CBI programmes have more specific choices. The Montenegro CBI programme, for example, focuses on development projects. North Macedonia focuses on private investment fund and new facilities. 

    Turkey has six investment options, including real estate and fixed capital contribution. Malta, however, has one set of requirements that applicants must fulfill altogether. 

    Timeframe to citizenship

    Another factor that attracts investors is the CBI programme’s timeframe. Generally, the duration of an application depends on the applicants’ submission of requirements. Both the European and Caribbean programmes follow thorough processes that involve due diligence.  

    Not only are the Caribbean CBIs lesser expensive, but they also take lesser time. For example, St. Kitts and Nevis CBI programme have a fast-track option that shortens the processing time from at least three months to 40 to 60 days.  

    However, European CBIs take around three to five months until a passport is issued to the successful applicant. The Malta Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment takes approximately 12 to 36 months, depending on the applicant’s investment option.  

    Business Opportunities 

    It is important to note that the European Economic Area (EEA) is the largest single economy worldwide. That makes Europe a hotspot for promising business opportunities in various industries. Moreover, Malta is one of the region’s most dynamic economies, giving investors an edge in business.  

    The Caribbean Islands also provide numerous business opportunities to citizenship applicants. Antigua & Barbuda, for example, maintains its lush island metropolis identity, especially with the increasing immigration in the country.  

    European or Caribbean citizenship: Which one is better? 

    Considering the minimum investment amount and other factors, the choice still ultimately depends on the investors’ plans and preferences. Are they in a rush to acquire citizenship? Do they need wider access? Which business industry are they targeting?  

    Moreover, Europe and the Caribbean Islands offer different lifestyles. Europe is more on state-of-the-art infrastructure, while the Caribbean is more of a tropical paradise. The two regions also have different strengths in economic stability and safety, and security. Both regions offer CBI programmes that give investors the chance to maximise the countries’ potentials.  

    How can Endevio help? 

    Endevio is a firm specialising in high-net-worth individuals’ endeavours in Malta. If you are looking for a way to become European citizens, our team has all the expertise you need! 

    Do you want to know more about Citizenship by Investment programmes in Europe and the Caribbean Islands? We have all of this knowledge on hand. Let us talk through different types of citizenship programmes with an eye toward tomorrow’s opportunities.