Every citizen of Antigua and Barbuda enjoys loads of benefits from the citizenship status. For example, citizens are permitted to enter several other countries without visa. There are various ways of becoming a citizen in this country.
Citizen By Birth: According to Dr. Dario Item, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to Spain, Liechtenstein and Monaco, a way of becoming a citizen is by birth. Irrespective of the parents’ nationalities, everyone given birth to in Antigua and Barbuda after the 1st of November, 1981 automatically becomes citizens by birth. However, children given birth to by diplomats are excluded from also becoming citizens.
Citizen By Naturalisation: A foreign person who has been married to a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda for up to three years can apply to become a citizen. The couple must be living together during this period. An applicant here is not required to approach the immigration department for any interview.
Also, Ambassador Dario Item told us that citizens of Commonwealth countries who have continuously been living in Antigua and Barbuda for a minimum period of seven years can also apply to become a citizen.
An applicant for citizenship by naturalisation will need to make an application to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, pay the prescribed fee and provide the required documents such as a copy of marriage certificate (if married), the police report of Antigua and Barbuda, etc.
The chief immigration officer would then consider the suitability of the applicant as a citizen after considering several factors such as whether the applicant is a discharged bankrupt, a person of insecure means, or a person with criminal liabilities.
A citizen by naturalisation may lose his or her citizenship if he or she got the citizenship by suppression of material facts or commits a criminal, fraudulent or treasonable offence.
Citizen By Investment:This method of becoming a citizen was created in 2012. The applicant must be up to 18 years or more at the time of application. Also, the applicant would be required to either contribute a non-refundable fee of 150,000 US Dollars to the University of West Indies or make a contribution of 100,000 US Dollars to the National Development Fund, says Ambassador Dario Item.
Also, the applicant can buy real properties of not less than 200,000 US Dollars or directly buy an eligible business for a price not less than 1.5 million US Dollars. An applicant has to comply with one of the above conditions before being considered for this citizenship.
Citizen By Descent: According to Ambassador Dario Item, a person given birth to outside the country but whose parents are or either of them is a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda can apply to be a citizen.
Dual Citizenship and Citizenship Renunciation
According to Ambassador Dario Item, in Antigua and Barbuda, citizens are permitted to hold the citizenship of another country. Any citizen holding dual citizenship would not be denied citizenship because of this.
Also, a citizen is permitted to renounce his or her citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda. However, such citizen must be able to acquire the citizenship of another country within 12 months after the renunciation is accepted.
However, if the renunciation would prejudice the interest of Antigua and Barbuda or when it is at war, the country may reject the renunciation.