Thursday, June 13, 2024

Why the rich are flocking to St. Kitts and Nevis


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[divider style=”solid” top=”25″ bottom=”25″][dropcap]S[/dropcap]aint Kitts and Nevis or otherwise known as Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, is an island country in the West Indies. The Island has in recent days become a favourite destination for High Net Worth Individuals due to its good education system, tax regime and favourable business environment.

Its Citizenship by investment programme is especially attractive to the rich globally.

The was established in 1984 and requires applicants to make an economic contribution to the country. In exchange, they and their families are granted full citizenship.

The legal basis regarding citizenship by investment is contained in Part II, 3 (5) of the Citizenship Act, 1984 and the Saint Christopher and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Regulations, 2011. These provisions allow the government to operate a program under which citizenship is granted to persons who qualify under criteria set by cabinet decision.

Benefits of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program

When you acquire citizenship under the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship program, you and your family enjoy full citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations by descent.

  • A St. Kitts and Nevis passport allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 157 destinations including Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, the UK, and Europe’s Schengen Area.
  • Citizenship-by-descent is available to future generations.
  • Applicants are able to include a spouse, children under 31, parents, grandparents aged 55 and over, and unmarried dependent siblings under 31 with no children, as well as to add dependents after they have been granted citizenship.
  • St. Kitts and Nevis is a member of the Commonwealth, which entitles citizens to certain privileges in the UK and other Commonwealth countries.
  • St. Kitts and Nevis is an attractive location for owning a second home, with good air links to Europe and North America.
  • Dual citizenship is allowed by the nation.
  • There is no minimum stay required. 

St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment requirements

The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program requires applicants to make a significant economic contribution to the country. In exchange, and subject to a stringent application procedure including thorough background checks, the applicants and their families are granted full citizenship.

To qualify for citizenship, the main applicant must be over 18 years of age, meet the application requirements, and select one of the following options:

  • A non-refundable contribution of USD 150,000 to the Sustainable Growth Fund for a single applicant. An additional USD 25,000 applies for a spouse, USD 20,000 for each sibling, and USD 10,000 for any other qualifying dependent.
  • A non-refundable contribution of USD 175,000 to the Alternative Investment Option for a single applicant or family of up to four members. An additional USD 20,000 applies for each sibling and USD 10,000 for any other qualifying dependent.
  • The purchase of real estate with a minimum value of USD 200,000 (resalable after seven years) or USD 400,000 (resalable after five years) from an approved real estate development.

Procedures and time frame of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program

The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) is responsible for the processing of all applications. There is also an accelerated application process available with a 45- to 60-day processing time frame. The CIU examines the application thoroughly and may request that the applicant attend an interview, although this is rarely necessary. The CIU undertakes strict due diligence checks and will decline an application if the applicant makes a false statement or omits any relevant information. The applicant must personally complete the prescribed government forms, which are only available from an authorized service provider. The documentary requirements of the program are reasonable and the procedures straightforward. Most applicants will normally visit the islands before deciding on the purchase of real estate, but it is not a prerequisite for the application process, which usually takes between three to four months from submission of the application to the CIU for approval. Under the real estate option, the time frame may vary depending on the development, so it is important to choose a real estate project that complements the citizenship application efficiently.

Upon approval-in-principle of the application, the funds for the real estate, SGF contribution, government fees, and other fees will be released to the various parties. Thereafter, the prime minister will sign the certificate of registration, which confers citizenship status. Once the certificate of registration is issued, the applicant is entitled to apply for a passport.

Fees and costs

Henley & Partners charges different fees depending on the case and the number of persons included in an application and depending on whether the real estate or SGF option is chosen. The full agreed fee (less any retainer paid initially) is paid into an escrow account in advance and is released when the application is submitted to the government.

Dual citizenship

There are no restrictions on dual citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Henley & Partners in St. Kitts and Nevis

Through its office in St. Kitts, Henley & Partners has been helping foreign nationals acquire citizenship through the citizenship by investment program for nearly 20 years. The firm has unrivalled expertise and experience in relation to this program, having been mandated by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to reform the program in 2006–2007 and to design the new contribution option at that time.

The changes introduced by the government in 2007, with the professional assistance of Henley & Partners, including the creation of a dedicated citizenship by investment unit, the streamlining of processes, redesign of application forms and procedures, and the international promotion of the program, have made the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program one of the most successful programs in the world.

Content by:

Henley & Partners

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