By Sofia Silina, VP for Russia and CIS, Apex Capital Partners
In the recent months, wealthy travelers became much more interested in citizenship by investment programs. During the pandemic, obtaining a second citizenship and with it the opportunity to move the family to another country, was rethought and praised. In fact, now the second citizenship is the real solution for those who want to choose where to live, to be in a safer environment regarding Coronavirus, and enjoy a milder climate. Two options are at the peak of popularity right now: Montenegrin citizenship and Caribbean citizenship.
“The talk so far is that the smaller countries are able to handle and manage the pandemic easier,” Nuri Katz, founder of international financial advisory firm Apex Capital Partners, tells CNN Travel. “So like the United States, it’s just totally out of control. But smaller countries haven’t been hit as hard. For example, in Caribbean countries like Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, or St Kitts, there are very few Covid cases.”
“These small countries seem to be opening up and there’s a feeling that they’ll be able to manage this problem a lot better than big countries,” adds Katz. “So there’s a lot of interest in that in terms of health care and lifestyle.”
In the Caribbean, countries kept their borders closed for a long time, almost instantly “extinguishing” the spread of the pandemic. However, now they are ready to accept travelers again. In particular, on August 7, 2020, the Caribbean state of Dominica opened its borders for tourism and air traffic. Starting August 8, 2020, Winair will fly between Dominica and Antigua (Antigua has an international airport), as well as to St. Martin. An important point – for the Caribbean region, our calendar summer is not a high season. On the contrary, the peak usually falls in the middle of autumn – the end of winter. And Caribbean citizenship can now begin to be issued according to special “anti-quarantine” proposals from the countries of this region. For example, Saint Lucia launched an initiative to invest in government bonds in addition to the existing options.
In recent months, we, at Apex Capital Partners, noted that 70% of investors from the Russian Federation who plan to invest in citizenship now choose Montenegro. Perhaps because the Adriatic is geographically much closer than the Caribbean. Or maybe because they want to invest money in Montenegrin citizenship and be ready when Montenegro joins the EU in 2025. The process of Montenegro joining the EU is going according to the plan, moreover, Montenegro is already linked with the EU, and even receives the necessary support. For example, on August 11, 2020, the European Commission officially announced that Montenegro would be provided with assistance in the amount of 60 million euros under a program designed to limit the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. These funds will be spent on supporting public finances and combating corruption, strengthening financial stability, improving the business environment, and reforming social protection.
And now we will compare Montenegrin citizenship with Caribbean citizenship to highlight all the details so that investors could make a choice based on this information.
|Montenegrin citizenship||Caribbean citizenship|
|Montenegro plans to join the EU in 2025.|
|The Caribbean countries will never join the EU, but international agreements allow moving around the EU with Caribbean citizenship.|
|Only visa-free EU-Schengen gives Montenegrin citizenship (90 days in half a year).|
Montenegrin citizenship allows you to apply for a non-immigrant business visa in the United States, Е2.
|Caribbean citizenship gives visa-free Great Britain in addition to visa-free EU-Schengen (90 days per half-year).|
Of the Caribbean countries, only Grenada has the opportunity to apply for an Е2-type visa in the United States.
|Montenegrin citizenship is more expensive than Caribbean citizenship. But this is Europe. Status is inherited.|
|Caribbean citizenship can be obtained completely remotely, including obtaining a passport. In fact, this is a “multipass,” a visa-free all-terrain vehicle for life, with an inheritance.|
|Only the applicant (investor), his spouse (s), and financially dependent children can be included in the application for Montenegrin citizenship.|
|In addition to the investor, spouse, and children, it is possible to include the parents of the main applicant and the spouse, grandparents, and even sisters and brothers in the application for Caribbean citizenship.|
|Montenegro has a limit on the number of applications of 2,000 for the entire duration of the program (three years).|
|The Caribbean citizenship programs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia do not impose restrictions on the number of applications from investors.|
|Montenegrin law allows other nationalities only if citizenship is acquired through investment under the program, and only in the first generation.|
|The Caribbean countries allow dual citizenship.|
|Montenegrin citizenship, according to the terms of the program, can be issued in 6 months. At the same time, in fact, now the approval of the application can take 50 days (there is such a case for the client Apex Capital Partners).|
|Caribbean citizenship can be obtained in about 6 months. However, Saint Kitts and Nevis has the possibility of expediting the procedure with the payment of additional duties.|
|Yachting on the Adriatic, regattas.|| |
Yachting in the Caribbean, regattas.