With stunning natural landscapes and a constant warm tropical climate, St Kitts and Nevis is famous around the world as one of the most beautiful holiday spots in the Caribbean. But it’s also one of the most established and popular citizenship by investment schemes available to investors around the world, thanks to the affordable price range, stable currency and unrivalled experience.
In October 2018, it was announced that St Kitts and Nevis was ranked the 26th most powerful passport in the world, and the best in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). This index is based on the number of destinations passport holders can access visa-free. The process of becoming a St Kitts and Nevis citizen is relatively simple, and investors even have the option to gain citizenship for their immediate family. Here, we’ll explain how you can obtain a St Kitts and Nevis passport through investment.
What is the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme?
Generally, in order to be granted citizenship to a country you need to be born within the territory, be descended from a citizen parent, married to a citizen, or be naturalized over the course of several years. However, many countries are starting to offer citizenship—and therefore a passport—in exchange for an investment. The dual-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis offer this opportunity by allowing investors to donate to a government fund or purchase an approved real estate property.
Buying into real estate will typically be the more expensive option, however, you may see a return on your investment, as you’re buying a real asset… And if the local real estate booms, you could even sell your property on and turn a profit.
A donation to the local government, however, allows you to safeguard the future of St Kitts and Nevis. The islands have been at the forefront of sustainability and launched the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) in March 2018 as part of the citizenship by investment scheme, aiming to boost development within the nation. St Kitts and Nevis also has the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), which was launched to provide a steady income to invest in sustainable job development and education programmes for displaced sugar workers. The money invested in both funds is used to benefit the local community by going towards things like education, healthcare, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, and tourism, as well as environmental aspects like alternative energy and climate change.
St Kitts and Nevis is a leader within the green energy industry and its geothermal resources are amongst the largest in the world. The resource available in Nevis is actually one of the top six geothermal reservoirs in the world, and is enough to provide energy security to the nation. Investing in using this energy can help to supply the islands with renewable and affordable energy for all citizens, making them much more sustainable, strengthening the overall economy.
How does the citizenship and passport application process work?
Becoming a citizen by investment for St Kitts and Nevis can take several months and requires due diligence checks, as well as a health examination. If you wish, you may decide to select the Accelerated Application Process, which speeds the process up to 60 days. However, this requires government approval and can cost up to a further $25,000 per person.
Once an application is prepared – which is completed by an authorized agent, it is submitted to the government for processing and due diligence checks, which need to be paid for separately. In February 2019, it was announced that the country would introduce biometrics in the form of fingerprinting as another layer to the due diligence checks, which means the country is protecting itself from the start from any wrongdoers.
If your application is approved, you can make your investment. If you’re making a real estate investment, you will need to work with an estate agent to find and choose your property, which must be pre-approved by the government. Once the investments or donations have been made, the certificates of naturalization are issued by the CIU and the office of the Prime Minister. The passport applications can then be processed, which can take up to 10 working days before being couriered to you.
Donations to both the SIGF and SGF can be made in one lump sum, and don’t require any additional contracts that need to be signed. That’s why fund contributions are said to be faster in terms of processing. There are also no physical requirements in place, giving you the option of making your donation without physically being in St Kitts and Nevis. This makes it more convenient to apply for a St Kitts and Nevis passport. Purchasing real estate can be a much lengthier process due to the additional contracts that come with buying a property.
The St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme is the oldest in the world, and the decades of experience the government has is unrivaled. While it can be a complex and costly procedure, depending on your chosen route, it can offer a much larger return on investment and priceless security for one’s family, while helping create a more sustainable environment for all citizens.