3 Secret Benefits of Citizenship by Investment in the Caribbean

Considering a second citizenship in the Caribbean? An oft-forgotten benefit of a second citizenship is the country’s membership in a supranational settlement bloc.

All five Caribbean island nations who offer citizenship-by-investment programs participate in both the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), two settlement blocs that offer citizens of their member states many advantages.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most pertinent, most advantageous benefits, including residency rights, streamlined real estate purchases, and tax reduction potential, of getting citizenship in these CARICOM and OECS communities.

Understanding OECS and CARICOM

What is the OECS?


Established in 1981 in Saint Kitts & Nevis’s capital Basseterre, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is “a single economic space which facilitates the free movement of people, goods, services and capital and as a result economic diversification and growth, greater export competitiveness and more employment and human resource development.”

In simpler terms, the OECS is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to economic harmonization and integration, protection of human and legal rights, and the encouragement of good governance among member countries.

Today, the OECS comprises eleven members – seven full participating members and four associate states:

Five of the OECS’s full participating member states also offer economic citizenship programs to investors.

What is CARICOM?


The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a larger regional organization established in 1973 in Chaguaramas, Trinidad & Tobago, by founding member states Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago.

Why? For a similar reason to the younger program OECS – to promote economic integration and cooperation among its member states.

Officially, CARICOM aims to increase economic integration; foreign policy coordination; human and social development; and security throughout the Caribbean region. More broadly, the community coordinates foreign policy, develops common services and functional cooperation, and enhances trade and economic relations among member states.

Today, CARICOM hosts fifteen member states and five associated members including all full participating members of the OECS, plus eight more Caribbean nations – the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago.

CARICOM also features multiple associate members who may one day become full participating member states, including Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Turks & Caicos.

So what’s the difference between OECS and CARICOM? Well, apart from the sheer number of participating countries, the CARICOM has far more influence in the Caribbean.

The OECS focuses on a smaller, more closely-integrated and -located group of Eastern Caribbean states, whereas CARICOM is a larger, more diverse set of countries with a broader mission.

Residency Rights in OECS and CARICOM

One of the most attractive benefits of acquiring citizenship in an OECS or CARICOM country is the residency rights that come with it. Here’s how these rights can enhance your lifestyle and investment opportunities:

Freedom to Reside Without a Visa

Citizens of OECS and CARICOM member states enjoy the right to reside and work in any other member country without needing a visa or work permit. This freedom of movement is facilitated by agreements like the OECS Economic Union and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

However, it is important to note that the right to settle in other member states across the bloc requires a “Skill Certificate,” which can be obtained in one country and used in others.

For example, if you get citizenship in Saint Kitts & Nevis through their citizenship-by-investment program, you have the ability to freely move to and live in countries like Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Lucia, and Grenada.

Streamlined Real Estate Purchases

Another significant benefit of citizenship in the OECS and CARICOM organizations is the ability to purchase real estate without needing a landholding license.

In many Caribbean countries, foreign nationals are required to obtain a landholding license to buy property, which can be a lengthy and costly process, illustrated by the economic citizenship process in five member countries.

However, as a citizen of an OECS or CARICOM country, this requirement is waived or reduced. So investing in real estate across the region – both residential and commercial – is easier and quicker.

This streamlined process saves time and money and opens investors to a wider range of opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a vacation home, rental property, or a permanent residence, you can take advantage of the emerging real estate markets in various member countries without bureaucratic hurdles or citizenship requirements.

Tax Reduction Potential

Another compelling reason to consider Caribbean citizenship is the potential for tax optimization. Many Caribbean countries offer favorable tax regimes, including zero personal income tax, which can significantly reduce your tax burden, especially if you’re coming from a high-tax Western country like Canada or France.

Becoming a Tax Resident

To benefit from these potential tax advantages in the Caribbean, you need to establish tax residency in a country with favorable tax policies. Tax residency often requires spending a certain number of days (typically 183 or more) in the country each year, creating economic ties with that country, and may also require proof of residence.

For instance, Saint Kitts & Nevis and Antigua & Barbuda are known for their zero personal income tax policies. So by becoming a citizen in another OECS or CARICOM country then becoming a tax resident in one of these two island nations, you can potentially enjoy significant tax savings.

Strategic Tax Planning

By strategically planning your tax residency, you can maximize your tax benefits while becoming a citizen in another Caribbean island nation for a more affordable price than the citizenship programs of these more tax-friendly countries offer.

This geoarbitrage approach allows you to diversify your investments and take advantage of various economic opportunities across the region.

Understanding the benefits of OECS and CARICOM residency rights is critical for anyone considering a second citizenship in the Caribbean.

Don’t ignore the settlement bloc rights you may be granted as a citizen of a single member state. These regional organizations can provide you the freedom to reside in other member countries without a visa, easier real estate purchases, and the potential for huge tax savings.

If you’re interested in exploring these opportunities further, consider speaking with an expert in Caribbean citizenship and residency programs to guide you through the process. JH Marlin is headquartered here in Saint Kitts & Nevis and has helped hundreds of high-net-worth individuals invest in a second citizenship in the region.

To get started or ask a question, contact us here. Remember – Citizenship-by-investment program prices in four OECS and CARICOM countries are set to double by June 30, 2024.

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