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Antigua and Barbuda Has Signed a Visa-Free Agreement with China

The value of the Antiguan passport has grown once again. Now citizens of Antigua and Barbuda (including economic citizens) can cross the Chinese border without visas. Thus, those seeking foreign citizenship by investment have one more reason to give Antigua some serious consideration.

Безвиз между Китаем и Антигуа

Results of the talks between Antiguan and Chinese representatives

On January 24, 2024, representatives of Antigua and Barbuda signed a visa-free agreement between the two countries. It is not clear so far when exactly the agreement is going into force and for how long citizens of Antigua and Barbuda can stay in China without visas. Details should come out in the next few weeks.

The agreement was signed by Prime Minister of China Li Qiang and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne. In addition to mutual visa-free access, the politicians discussed several other important issues.

In particular, the two leaders signed a few documents on bilateral cooperation within the frameworks of the Belt and Road initiative. Besides, they made agreements in the spheres of trade, transport, economic development and climate change mitigation. They also expressed their determination to develop cooperation in the areas of culture, tourism, civil aviation, healthcare, and personnel training.

In addition, agreements concerning digitalization and biomedicine were signed. Finally, a collaboration agreement was made between Zhejiang International Research University and University of West Indies (known as UWI Five Islands) located in Antigua and Barbuda.

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A new embassy

The two countries first established diplomatic relations 4 decades ago. Antigua and Barbuda is a valuable partner in the Caribbean for the Chinese Republic. Much of the demand for Antigua’s economic citizenship comes from wealthy Chinese people.

Antigua has opened an embassy in Beijing to attract additional investors from China. Now the country has a physical presence in the Celestial Empire. Prime Minister Browne noted at the meeting that the countries had taken bilateral relations to a new level of quality.

The politician also reported that the trade volume between Antigua and China had amounted to 162 million US dollars in 2023. The figure is 72.9% higher than the year before. Imports of goods and services to China from Antigua in 2023 were four times higher than the year before. This indicates the efficiency of the measures taken by the two countries to deepen their cooperation.

Antigua is not the only Caribbean country that has a visa-free agreement with China

Antigua and Barbuda is not the only Caribbean country with a citizenship-by-investment program whose passports give visa-free access to China. The Commonwealth of Dominica and Grenada made similar agreements with China some time ago. Thus, Antigua has become the third Caribbean jurisdiction to provide the opportunity.

It is expected that now the demand for economic citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda is going to grow. The local citizenship-by-investment program generates almost 60% of the country’s non-tax revenues.

The passport of Antigua and Barbuda was a valuable travel document even before the visa-free agreement with China was signed. It gave visa-free access to 161 countries with a share of the global GDP of 44.4% in total. Their share of the global tourist flow is 71.4%.

Now the figures have changed. The number of countries that Antiguans can enter without visas has grown to 162. Taking into consideration the size of the Chinese economy, these 162 countries generate 60.3% of the global wealth. Their share of the global tourist flow is 75.9%. 

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