St. Kitts & Nevis and Canada relations: Prime Minister urges Canada to return visa-free travel

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The prime minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Timothy Harris, met with Canada’s Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and some of the top MPs in the federal government on October 30, as part of his official visit agenda. Mr Harris urged Ahmed Hussen to return visa-free access to Canada as it once was a key benefit of the St Kitts Citizenship-by-Investment program.

In November 2014, Ottawa decided to implement the visa requirement on St. Kitts and Nevis due to concerns about the issuance of passports and identity management practices within its Citizenship-by-Investment program.

This way Canada intended to ensure safety and security of Canadian citizens, as well as protect the integrity of its immigration system.

Right now, St. Kitts and Nevis’ passport holders can apply for a multiple-entry visa online, or submit a paper application in person, by mail or courier.

St. Kitts and Nevis isn’t the only country whose visa-free entry to Canada was revoked. Antigua & Barbuda also has issues with Canada concerning the same matter. Apparently, Canada isn’t satisfied with the way Antigua & Barbuda handles passport issuance to the candidates under its Citizenship-by-Investment scheme.

To make its CIB program more appealing to investors, Antigua has recently slashed the investment requirement. At the moment, Antigua is asking for the lowest investment amount among other Caribbean programs – the overall cost goes just above $100,000. This way, the program has the chance stay competitive, even without the advantage of visa-free access to Canada.

St. Kitts-Nevis PM Timothy Harris (left) and Minister Mark Brantley (right) with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, during a recent visit to St. Kitts and Nevis

Meanwhile, the CEO of the St. Kitts Citizenship by Investment Unit, Les Khan, has recently announced plans to add a residency program to their list of investment immigration options.

St. Kitts currently relies on its high-end property investment offers to keep the world’s ultra-high net worth individuals interested in the program. Currently, the minimum real state investment in St. Kitts is $150,000; the cost be boosted up to $250,000 starting in May 2018.

In 2017, St. Kitts made several changes to its citizenship-by-investment program:

  • the age limit for parents and grandparents of the main applicant was reduced from 65 to 55;
  • the age limit for financially dependent offspring went up from 25 to 30;
  • children under 16 years of age, born after the main applicant received citizenship, can now be added via a direct application to the Ministry of National Security, instead of being processed by the country’s Citizenship-by-Investment Unit;
  • investment threshold for families of five and larger was lowered, the fee for each additional dependent is now $25,000.

St. Kitts and Nevis placed second in the special report on CBI Index, launched by the Professional Wealth Management magazine in June, 2017. The report has ranked twelve countries that offer citizenship-by-investment schemes. Dominica finished first, leaving behind Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Vanuatu, Cyprus, Comoros, Malta, Bulgaria, Austria and Cambodia.

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