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10 questions about St. Kitts and Nevis passport and citizenship by investment: all you need to know about the program

PUBLISHED: 15 October 2020
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Citizenship guide
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Investing money in a second citizenship is one of the best strategies in the modern world where the pace of life is getting faster and faster. One of the top destinations is Caribbean countries, including a little island state of St. Kitts and Nevis located on two Caribbean islands of same names. What are the opportunities this country has to offer?

If you are an investor looking for visa-free travels around the world, St. Kitts and Nevis passport would be an ideal solution. It is a high-security biometric document that will help you go through border controls stress-free. The countries where you can go without a visa include EU states and the United Kingdom.

St. Kitts and Nevis government was one of the first to have launched their Citizenship byInvestment program back in 1984. It attracts foreign businessmen that are granted citizenship (together with their family members) in return for their investments in a national growth fund or purchase of real estate on the islands.

In this article, we will try to answer most popular questions about applying for St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment and obtaining a second passport.

Сколько денег нужно инвестировать чтобы получить паспорт Сент-Китс и Невис

Question 1: How much money do I need to invest in local economy in order to get St. Kitts passport?

The cost of St. Kitts citizenship is a unique selling point for investors. In 2012, the government reduced the required investment amount and new investors were flocking in. There are two ways of applying for a second passport: non-refundable contribution and refundable investment.

1. Non-refundable donation to the Sustainable Growth Find

The money raised through this fund is spent on environment protection, education and culture, healthcare, tourism, infrastructure and alternative energy production, as well as to support local businesses. This is a one-off contribution that cannot be returned once you get your St. Kitts and Nevis passport.

Required investment:

  • Main applicant (investor): $150,000 (additional government fees apply).
  • Family of up to 4 people: $195,000 (main applicant and up to 3 dependants).
  • Additional dependants: $10,000 each.

 

Important

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Kitts and Nevis government decided to take drastic measures and reduce the amount of qualifying donation to the national fund under the St. Kitts citizenship by investment program. A limited offer is valid until 31 December 2020: a family of up to 4 people can apply for St. Kitts passport by investing $150,000 instead of $195,000.

2. Recoverable investment in local properties

  • Recover your money in 5 years
    You can purchase a government approved property, either a whole or a share of it, for at least $400,000. In this case you must own it for not less than 5 years after which you can sell it and recover your money.
  • Get your money back in 7 years
    You can also invest $200,000 in an approved real estate project, but you will only be able to resell it in 7 years.

Please be aware that additional taxes and charges will apply in both cases. The amount of due diligence fees, taxes and duties will depend on the number and age of applicants under the St. Kitts citizenship program.

Money must be invested only in government approved projects and developers. This way you are guaranteed that your investment is insured by the government running thorough checks on all developers. There is no risk to lose the invested money.

As a bonus, investment in real estate is cheaper for big families than non-refundable contribution to a national fund.

Additional fees and charges

Due diligence checks

  • $7,500: main applicant.
  • $4,000: dependants over 16 years of age.
  • $4,000: due diligence of a financial sponsor.

Получение гражданства и паспорта Сент-Китс и Невис по инвестиционной программе

Question 2: How has coronavirus pandemic affected the St. Kitts citizenship by investment program?

St. Kitts citizenship by investment program has been functioning without failures. As we have already mentioned, the government realises that the global economic situation is difficult because of the pandemic and they have announced a limited offer valid from 01 July to 31 December 2020:

  • Family of up to 4 members pays $150,000 (down from $195,000).
  • Stamp duty for property investors is reduced to 2.5% during pandemic.
  • Minimum required investment in real estate stays at $200,000 that can be recovered in 7 years.
  • Kitts and Nevis government introduced the escrow regulations to protect the citizenship of foreign investors.

Question 3: What are visa benefits of St. Kitts and Nevis citizens?

In summary, you will get worldwide mobility and visa-free or visa-on-arrival regime with over 140 countries and territories. St. Kitts passport is ideal for travelling to Europe, including the UK, Russia, all Schengen states, Caribbean countries, and Asia, including Singapore and Hong Kong. St. Kitts authorities have committed to increasing the number of visa-free countries and have recently signed a visa waiver agreement with Mexico, Georgia and Albania.

Question 4: What are requirements for an investor?

To obtain St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship as your second citizenship, you as a main applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • To be over 18 years of age.
  • To have no criminal or immigration record; to be under no international sanctions.
  • To be of good health.
  • To have sufficient funds to make the required investment given above.
  • To pass due diligence (extra fee) – for all family members applying for St. Kitts passport that are over 16.

гражданстве и паспорте Сент-Китс и Невис за инвестиции

Question 5: How long is St. Kitts passport valid for?

You and your family will be given citizenship for life (provided you do not breach any laws) and a biometric passport is valid for 10 years for adults or 5 years for children under 16. St. Kitts passport is subject to extension.

Question 6: Will I be asked to give an oath of allegiance?

No. Applicants under the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program are not required to give an oath.

Question 7: Do I have to go to St. Kitts myself to collect my passport?

No, your personal presence will not be required at any stage of the citizenship application and you will not be asked to live there. Passport application is processed for the whole family (main applicant, a spouse, children up to 30 years of age and parents/grandparents over 55) remotely. You will get your passport either from your immigration lawyer or by post. Please bear in mind that it takes around 4 months to process your application. It would not normally exceed 6 months from investment until you become St. Kitts and Nevis citizen.

Question 8: How much taxes will I have to pay when I become St. Kitts and Nevis national and what are tax benefits?

Foreign nationals that get St. Kitts passport do not pay income tax if they are resident in the country. Taxation system is very favourable and transparent. With a one-off fixed investment, a St. Kitts resident does not pay tax on worldwide income, dividends, inheritance and other taxes. It is a great tool to diversify financial risks and run a successful international business. St. Kitts and Nevis trust legislation is considered one of the best in the world.

На какой срок выдается паспорт Сент-Китс и Невис?

Question 9: In terms of confidentiality and security, how good is St. Kitts citizenship program?

The fact that you have obtained a St. Kitts passport will be kept confidential and no information about your second citizenship will be given to third parties.

Like other Caribbean countries that offer second passport through investment, St, Kitts and Nevis ensures 100% legitimacy of your second nationality. You will not be asked to renounce your first citizenship. St. Kitts government understands that not all countries allow dual citizenship; therefore, they do not disclose any information about St. Kitts passports given to foreign investors.

St. Kitts and Nevis is a full independent member of the Commonwealth. Investor’s security, including social and political, is protected under the English law.

Question 10: Can I get a long-term visa to USA and Canada if I have St. Kitts passport?

Yes. As a St. Kitts national you are entitled to apply for a long-term visa to Canada and USA.

St. Kitts and Nevis passport is a valuable investment and a prestigious one. Besides, it is one of the most affordable second citizenship programs in the world.

Our expert lawyers at Imperial & Legal have been helping clients in obtaining Caribbean citizenship by investment, in particular St. Kitts passport. We are practicing a comprehensive approach in all matters related to getting a second passport, from preparing documents and paperwork to shortlisting properties and finding personalised solutions. If you are interested in the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program, book a consultation with our immigration lawyers and learn more about how to get the ball rolling.

More questions about obtaining St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment

There are four other island states in the Caribbean where it is possible to obtain citizenship by investment. So why should I choose St. Kitts and Nevis?

A key advantage of this citizenship by investment program is its age. In over 35 years of existence, all the processes involved in obtaining citizenship by investment have been brought to perfection.

If you have a good reputation and enough money from a legal source for investment, a reliable law firm will help you to get a St Kitts and Nevis passport in minimum time.

In some aspects, St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment is one of the most advantageous offers among Caribbean countries. For example, the first passport of St. Kitts and Nevis is valid for 10 years; it means that it lasts twice as long as passports of Grenada, St. Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda. Foreign nationals can visit 156 countries around the world without a visa or under the simplified procedure of visa-on-arrival regime, which is also a record among Caribbean passport programmes.

That’s why rich and famous foreigners prefer these islands among others in the Caribbean region. And that’s why it is written in brochures that the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program sets the highest standards for a dozen similar programs around the world.


Whom can an investor put on an application for obtaining citizenship?

Under the current rules, a main applicant of the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program can include his/her immediate family on an application:

  • Spouse;
  • Minor children, including children from previous marriages of the main applicant or his/her spouse;
  • Children up to 30 years of age provided that they are unmarried and financially dependent on their parents;
  • Parents/grandparents of both spouses over 55 years old provided they are fully financially dependent on the main applicant;
  • Siblings under the age of 30 who are unmarried and financially dependent on the main applicant.

Remember that including dependents on your application will increase your investment (if you make a non-refundable donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund) and your additional payments to the state. For example, it will cost you $4,000 for a due diligence check for each additional adult.


How many days can citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis stay in Europe without a visa?

According to the signed visa waiver agreements, citizens of this island country can stay on the territory of the European Union for 90 days without any problem.

Few people know that although the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis became independent a long time ago, the Queen of England is still regarded as the formal head of state. A UK-appointed governor-general performs representative functions on the islands, while the country is part of the British Commonwealth.

On this basis, St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment allows you to stay in the UK unrestrictedly for up to 180 consecutive days, and your children have admission privileges to British educational institutions.


What tax optimisation opportunities are available to residents of St. Kitts and Nevis?

The island authorities do not impose income taxes within the state or abroad if foreign nationals are residents of the state. Moreover, St Kitts and Nevis has zero rates of capital gains, gift and inheritance taxes. However, keep in mind that all the benefits listed above are available to tax residents, i.e. investors who have spent enough time on these islands to be considered as a taxpayer.

The country offers an extremely favourable environment for new citizens who are not tax residents to run an international business. After all, St. Kitts and Nevis is known around the world as a convenient tax haven.


Can St. Kitts and Nevis be considered as a place to settle?

Fair to say, the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program is based on the idea that foreign investors obtain a passport, which is great for work and travel. They donate to the economic development in order to get it. The vast majority of economic citizens of St Kitts and Nevis get documents at their homeland and visit their second homeland when they want to relax on the ocean shore on the other side of the world.

On the other hand, the country has made a major breakthrough in economic development with the help of the citizenship program, and revenues from the tourism sector constitute a large part of its budget. New hotels, resorts, shops, cafes, roads, ports and marinas are being built on St. Kitts and Nevis.

You may consider islands as a resort, a Plan B in case of trouble in your home country, and a springboard for obtaining a British, European or American residence permit and citizenship.

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