The Caribbean region has recently suffered greatly from hurricanes. Island nations such as Saint Kitts and Nevis were forced to review the terms of their citizenship by investment programs. For instance, St. Kitts and Nevis had to cut the cost of their passport in half. The cost will rise again come March 30, 2018. This means it’s better to make up your mind and apply in a prompt manner.
In this article, we talk about the costs, benefits, nuances and formalities tied to obtaining the passport of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Why is it advisable to apply for a St. Kitts and Nevis right now?
After March 30, 2018, the cost of the St. Kitts and Nevis passport will start rising again from its current US$150,000 mark, possibly back to the previous level of US$250,000. It would seem there’s enough time to consider the offer and compare the Nevisian variant to other options.
Note, however, that collecting and translating documents takes up to two weeks. Transfer of funds to the official government’s account is also a lengthy process. The first monetary transfer attempt may prove to be unsuccessful, and there is a risk that one will have to start the entire process all over again, as, in case of such an error, the funds are returned to the sender’s account.
To make it before the offer ends, one would need to launch the process today – or by March 5 at the latest. After this “deadline,” there are not many chances that the application will come through on time. Still, there is a way out that would require additional expenses – to arrange that a proxy comes to the island bearing the necessary documents.
What are the benefits of being a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis?
The island state of Saint Kitts and Nevis first started exchanging its passports for foreign investments in 1984. Since then, over 11,000 investors from all over the world have seized the chance to obtain the second passport of Saint Kitts. In recent days, from January 1 to June 31, 2017, the country issued 399 passports.
We’ll name seven most obvious reasons why the citizenship by investment program of St. Kitts and Nevis is ultra popular:
- More swift and not as costly as similar European programs. European countries are dictating more stringent rules for issuing passports to foreign investors than the Lesser Antilles’ jurisdictions. The starting cost of a St. Kitts and Nevis passport today is $150,000, while the minimum for a Maltese passport is €1 million.
- Visa-free entry in 150+ countries. No need to spend time on and worry about obtaining visas.
- Confidentiality. The obvious advantage of not having to disclose information about one’s second passport to third parties.
- Not necessary to stay in the country. Some countries require that the applicants stay there for a certain amount of time to meet the program requirements. In the case of St. Kitts and Nevis, there is no need to stay or reside in the country to qualify.
- Tax optimisation. In St. Kitts and Nevis, they don’t have most of the taxes foreign citizens are used to, and existing taxes brackets are as low as they come.
- The whole process takes a maximum of 4 months.
- St. Kitts and Nevis has one of the best trust laws in the world. It takes just 2 weeks to set up a company.
- In 2015, the country’s economic growth was put at 4.9%, 3.2% in 2016, marking five uninterrupted years of economic growth. For 2017 and 2018, the IMF projected a rate of 3.5% and 3.4%, respectively. However, as we know, the hurricanes made it impossible to reach those numbers. Still, the country has recorded a 2.3% growth for 2017. As for 2018, the economists predict a 2.2% growth – but say St. Kitts and Nevis may as well exceed the expectations.
The cost of a Saint Kitts and Nevis passport
Since the fall of 2017, St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship is available to purchase at the 40% percent discount applicable to single candidates, and at a 50% discount for families. But the offer will expire come March 30, 2018. Applying before that date, one will have to pay $150,000 per passport as opposed to the usual $250,000.
There are some additional non-refundable expenses, too: up to US$7.5k for due diligence checks, as well as $300 for a biometric passport issuance.
The minimum cost of the “entrance ticket” via government-approved real estate purchase remains unchanged at $400,000.
The cost of the Caribbean citizenship for investors partially depends on hurricanes and other natural disasters, as the recent tragedies of 2017 have shown. Hurricanes Irma and Maria swept through the Atlantic basin and, with a terrifying ease, brought on worst devastation of the last decade. To mitigate the consequences of the hurricanes, the Saint Kitts and Nevis authorities have established a Hurricane Relief Fund and lowered the cost of their passport to stimulate the influx of foreign investments.
Top 5 nuances every future St Kittian and Nevisian must know
- There is not need to come to the country to submit the documents and biometrics. The process is handled by a certified agency.
- The passport is valid for 10 years, and it takes 2 two weeks to renew it. Again, no need to travel to the country.
- The funds are transferred to official government accounts. The procedure is safe and transparent.
- Children born after their parents obtain the status of citizens automatically become citizens as well, free of charge.
- It is expected that the applicants will keep the real estate for at least 5 years. The investor cannot sell their villa earlier than that, or they risk to lose the citizenship. Abiding by the points of the agreement equals getting one’s passport renewed.
Saint Kitts and Nevis are vying for the attention of foreign investors
It’s quite obvious that St. Kitts and Nevis is putting more emphasis on the cost of its citizenship than the opportunity of profitable real estate investment.
But it all depends on the real estate project choice. For instance, the Four Seasons Resort Nevis will bring up to 3% annual income per year.
There are two international airports in St. Kitts and Nevis that welcome an increasing number of tourists each year. In 2017, over 700,000 people came to the country for tourism purposes. Princess Diana loved spending time here, and in 2016, her son, Prince Harry, visited the Lovers Beach and released five baby turtles into the ocean.
Russia’s Pavel Durov, the creator of a Russian Facebook analogue called VKontakte and the Telegram messenger is not a citizen, too. He purchased the passport in 2013.
What are other Caribbean options?
The neighbouring countries have also taken measure to become more appealing to foreign investors. Saint Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada have their own successful CBI programs.
Become a Dominican resident by investing at least $100k in a government fund or buying real estate worth at least $200k. Today, this country’s passport is most attractive to single investors cost-plus-additional-fees-wise.
The passport of Antigua and Barbuda may suit investors with families, since the minimum investment threshold remains the same for a single investor and for a main applicant, their spouse and two children – starting at $100,000. Like in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Antiguan citizenship by real estate investment amount is at least $400,000. Note that to meet the requirements of the Antiguan CBI program, the applicant is expected to spend at least 5 days there within the first 5 years after obtaining the status.
One of the most notable advantages of a Grenadian passport is the opportunity to easily get the E-2 type visa to the US. One may choose between making a non-refundable donation of $100,000 to a government fund, or purchasing property worth at least $350,000.
As for Saint Lucia, it has the following options for the future citizens: at least $100,000 investment in the National Transformation Fund, and purchasing real estate at the price of at least $300,000.
All in all, Saint Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship is a profitable investment
The Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program is still at the top among other sibling Caribbean programs. In 2017, the Professional Wealth Management magazine weighed various important aspects of the world’s CBI programs and put the results in their CBI programs index. While Dominica topped the list, St.Kitts and Nevis comes as a close second. In 2017, despite the hurricanes, the investors were not discouraged from eyeing the two islands as the means to acquire their second citizenship and with it, a whole collection of benefits.
World’s most influential businessman and investor, Jim Rogers, says that in 201 years’ time, it will be outright harmful for businessmen, investors and financially independent persons to have a single passport. It is up to you whether or not to heed the advice of a renowned financier.
If you’ve been considering obtaining a second citizenship for a while now, it’s high time you started making it a reality. Be reminded once again that on March 31, 2018, you’ll see a higher cost of a St. Kitts and Nevis passport.
Interested in more detailed information about Saint Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship by investment program? Contact us!
- We offer free consultations, understanding how important it is for the client to make the only correct decision.
- We work only in the field of investment immigration, integrating gained experience into the investor’s goal.
- We work only with official programs of the European Union and Caribbean countries.
- Before signing the contract, we inform our clients about all additional fees and expenses.
- We conduct a screening to assess the investor’s chances of obtaining the desired citizenship.
- We oversee the process at each stage and work exclusively towards the result.
- We are in touch 24/7.