Client Sergey K. turned to us in October 2017 with the desire to obtain a second citizenship. The client was worried about the business environment in the Russian Federation. He also wanted to protect his business in case of the argument with the public authorities. Throughout his past Sergey several times faced injustice caused by illegal actions of the officials. The political situation and uncertainty about the future triggered the client to search for solutions.
The main goal was to get a backup plan and the opportunity to leave the country at any moment. The client also wanted to travel around the world without a visa and choose the jurisdiction suitable for running his business. Sergey knew a lot about the Caribbean programs, since his business partner received the passport of Dominica some years earlier.
- 1 Why citizenship and not residence?
- 2 Programs that were considered
- 3 Why did the client choose Saint Kitts and Nevis?
- 4 The map of visa-free travels for Saint Kitts and Nevis Citizens
- 5 Processing
- 6 Bullet points
- 7 How much time did the process of getting the citizenship of Saint Kitts and Nevis take?
- 8 Expert opinion
- 9 Conclusions
Why citizenship and not residence?
We suggested Sergey to consider a European residence programs, but the client did not know when and where he would move. Moreover, residence allows one to stay only in the Schengen countries, while with the Caribbean passport a person can travel without visa to 130+ countries, including all the Schengen countries and the United Kingdom. Another important criterion was the “autonomous” character of the document, without any links to the Russian passport. This was not an option with residence, as it is connected with the passport.
The programs of Cyprus and Malta were not suitable for the client in terms of price.
Programs that were considered
Sergey initially turned to our company requesting for the passport of Dominica, but he was ready to check the alternative variants.
The client is married, with a 3-year-old child from a previous marriage, and his spouse was also three months pregnant. Sergey also planned to include his 58-year-old mother in the application.
IMPORTANT! If children from the previous marriage are listed in the application, one has to obtain the notarized consent of the former spouse for the child to get citizenship.
Comparing the Caribbean citizenship programs
(calculation for the family: main applicant, wife, 3-year-old child, 58-year-old mother)
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Antigua and Barbuda||Dominica||Grenada|
|Cost including all the expenses||$167,688||$145,400||$230,200||$226,874|
|Age of parents that can be listed in the application||From 55||From 58||From 55||From 55|
|Cost of adding children in the future||No additional cost*||$25,000||No additional cost*||No additional cost*|
|Processing time||5-12 months||3-7 months||2-6 months||4-12 months|
*One pays only for the company services
Why did the client choose Saint Kitts and Nevis?
The client wanted to include his mother, who turned 58 by the time of the application issuance, and to receive citizenship for his child in the future. So we suggested for him to make a choice in favour of Saint Kitts and Nevis for several reasons:
- In October 2017, Saint Kitts and Nevis established the Sustainable Growth Fund and noticeably reduced the cost of citizenship. The price for the client’s family corresponded $167,688 and it was much more beneficial in comparison with other programs;
- Only in Saint Kitts and Nevis one can list future children without contributing additional amounts and fees (on the basis of family reunification);
- The passport is more recognized and valued;
- No need to visit the island, as compared with the program of Antigua;
- The opportunity to include parents aged 55 and above in the application.
Important! As of the time of application issuance, the minimum age of parents under all the other programs was 65 (Antigua, Dominica, Grenada).
The map of visa-free travels for Saint Kitts and Nevis Citizens
Our employees received certificates of criminal records without involving the client within one week, translated and notarized all the documents, after which they sent the case to the island.
The client paid 50% of the cost of our services and paid for the due diligence procedure.
At the stage of document preparation, all the client had to do was provide the original documents to the notary. It took one day. After this we prepared the case in a 3-week period, asked the client to sign the forms and sent the whole package to the island.
In October 2017 we received the confirmation letter from the Government.
The approval and the instruction regarding the donation in the Government Fund from the agency was received in February 2018.
After that Sergey made the investment and paid the remaining 50% of our services cost. Our lawyer in Saint Kitts paid state fees charged for the passport issuance and received citizenship certificates and passports for the whole family.
NB: The real time frame of case consideration in Saint Kitts is from 5 to 8 months. Sometimes the citizenship agency can request for additional documents: about funds origin, CV, police clearance, utility bills, affidavits (notarized explanations of disputes), confirmation of financial self-sufficiency, consent by the second parent for citizenship issuance to the child, etc.
There also exists an accelerated procedure, which takes 60 days. The state fee for urgent processing is $25,000 for the main applicant and $20,000 for each family member over 16 (the amount includes the due diligence charge).
The information about funds sources and an applicant’s business undergoes a thorough check. That is why it is important to provide only the credible information.
The document requirements differ depending on the program. For example, Dominica more rarely requests for additional documents, and the program of Vanuatu is more loyal to the applicants, with the main criterion for the case approval is absence of any unexpired conviction for a grave crime and the person not being in any sanction lists, Interpol’s base or wanted.
Having considered all pros and cons, the client made a choice in favour of the program of Saint Kitts and Nevis based on the following criteria:
- Possibility to include a child in the application in the future, without making an additional donation;
- The cost for his family composition was more reasonable in comparison with other programs;
- Possibility to add a parent aged 58 (at that moment other programs had 65 as the starting age for the applicant’s parents);
- Passport recognition;
- No need to visit the island either during the processing, or afterwards. One also does not have to reside in the country.
How much time did the process of getting the citizenship of Saint Kitts and Nevis take?
The term from the moment of agreement signing to the moment of citizenship and passports receipt corresponded 6 months.
The client’s goal was reached and in August 2018, the application to get citizenship for the newborn child was filed.
Khrystyna Ruzhilo: “The citizenship of Saint Kitts and Nevis was the best solution at the time when Sergey turned to our company, since there existed a special price offer. The most significant passport in the Caribbean cost less than other programs (note: the offer was active till March 31, 2018). Moreover, Saint Kitts was suitable not only in terms of the price, but also based on Sergey’s family composition and his desire to receive a passport for the newborn child in the future, without spending a fortune on that. One can say that in Sergey’s case we managed to find the perfect match that would be good for him based on all the criteria.”
- While choosing the citizenship program, the client should pay attention to the family composition, applicants’ age and the desire to obtain citizenship for children in the future. Under some programs, clients can include even siblings in the application;
- The prices of programs vary depending on the number of applicants, so it is important to compare the costs of different options and to always clarify if they include associated costs like the necessity to visit the country, the cost of passport changing in case of expiration/damage/loss, etc.
- It is important to receive credible information about the program deadlines and requirements BEFORE the process launch. Requirements regarding funds sources differ considerably from program to program;
- In addition to the abovementioned, the following factors should be taken into consideration:
- Simplicity and cost of passport renewal or replacement;
- Complexity of the procedure of receiving the status and the guarantees (rejection rates, requirements to provide the documents related to funds source, etc.)
- Possibility of adding children and other family members in the future and the costs associated with this;
- Possibility of getting additional documents (driver’s license, registration address, local phone number, etc.), what it requires from the applicant, the correspondent prices and the necessity of the applicant to carry out personal visits;
- Possibility of getting the status if one has a criminal record, bankruptcy experience and visa denials. NB! Apart from the points mentioned above, one should know how effective the program is at this particular moment. For example, the cases filed to Saint Kitts and Nevis in February and March 2018 (end of special offer term) were considered for more than 8 months because over 1,200 applications were filed during that period, so the citizenship agency did not manage to process all the applications in time. Grenada’s program had high rejections rate in 2016: out of 175 applications, 19 were rejected, which is 11% of the total number. In Saint Lucia, the procedures were not perfected enough within the first year and a half of the program operation. Only cooperation with the experts having extensive experience in dealing with various programs allows one to find the best option.