By Sarah Townsend
By becoming citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, investors will obtain visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel status in 132 countries
A UAE property company is reportedly offering customers Caribbean passports when they buy a villa.
Ajman-based Sweet Homes is offering Antiguan and Barbudian passports to incentivise selected luxury villa purchases, according to Middle East Eye.
However, the villas are not in Antigua or Barbuda, but in Sweet Homes’ Ajman Uptown development, due for completion in 2020.
The offer applies to 600 of the 1,500-unit scheme, including a two-bedroom villa costing AED1.4 million ($380,000) and a four-bedroom villa priced at AED1.9 million ($517,000).
The passports are reportedly on offer for the purchaser, his or her partner, dependent children and parents over the age of 65.
The government of Antigua and Barbuda launched a so-called Citizenship by Investment programme in 2013, in an attempt to boost an economy that received 63 percent of its $1.2 billion GDP from the tourism industry in 2013.
Such programmes are a draw for overseas investors who often need multiple forms of identification, such as a visa in addition to their home-country passport, to travel to certain parts of the world. Obtaining a Caribbean passport allows them to travel visa-free in many cases.
For Emiratis, there is a clear benefit in having an Antiguan and Barbadian passport as it allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 132 countries, compared with 77 countries for a UAE passport.
However, usually Citizenship by Investment schemes cover investments in property in the host country – in this case, Antigua or Barbuda.
Sweet Homes’ scheme reportedly only applies to the villas built in the UAE – although it also offers anyone the opportunity of becoming a Caribbean citizen for a donation of $200,000 to the countries’ National Development Fund.
Sweet Homes’ website was down for maintenance when Arabian Business attempted to contact the company for further details.
Middle East Eye quotes chief executive Fahad Dero as saying: “Ajman Uptown is the first project of its kind in the GCC region that allows the buyers...to be eligible for citizenship, subject to due diligence and approval from [the] government of Antigua and Barbuda.”
For US$500,000 one can get USA Property Investment based Immigration then why should choose caribbean
Ahmad, in order to secure USA citizenship, you are required to live in United States for a minimum term of six months a year until you secure citizenship, which can take between 6-7 years. People are looking for citizenship options where there are less obligations such as the Caribbean or the EU without effectively immigrating.
There are now over 15 Residency & Citizenship programs from the European Union and the Caribbean. The Caribbean citizenship offerings like Antigua will give you an immediate travel benefit but the biggest concern for Middle Eastern nationals is the future of their family, education and working in Europe. The EU offerings such as Cyprus, Malta, Hungary and Bulgaria solve the medium to long term challenge. If the Sweet Homes offer is accurate as reported then it's a great deal for getting a travel benefit while owning a property in the UAE.
You've got yo be pretty desperate to invest in an off plan development in Ajman, scheduled for completion in 2020, when considering their overall record in off plan properties. You may as well just send a blank cheque.
Gareth, does it mean if you live in US for three to four years and have a property there, one can become US citizen?
And let's not forget that on becoming a US citizen or Green Card holder you become liable for US income tax on your worldwide income, even if you are not resident in the US.
four-bedroom villa priced at AED1.9 million ($517,000)?
In "Uptown" Ajman? Are they running out of desert? When did the price of sand and labor get so expensive to demand those prices?