st kitts citizenship

St Kitts Citizenship by Investment Program [2024 Guide]

St. Kitts and Nevis, a twin-island nation located in the eastern Caribbean, operates one of the world’s longest running and most prestigious citizenship by investment programs. Since 1984, the program has allowed wealthy individuals and families to acquire Kittitian-Nevisian citizenship by making a substantial economic contribution to the country.

In return, investors receive visa-free access to more than 150 destinations, the right to live and work in the country, and a host of tax benefits. The program grants citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program, including its history, benefits, eligibility criteria, investment options, application process, fees, and recent changes. We’ll also look at frequently asked questions about obtaining a St. Kitts and Nevis passport.

History of the Citizenship Program of St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis, a former British colony, became an independent nation in 1983. The following year, it launched the pioneering Citizenship by Investment program. It was the first country to introduce the concept of citizenship by investment, which allows foreign nationals to obtain citizenship through real estate investment or other economic contribution.

Since its inception, the St. Kitts and Nevis program has facilitated citizenship for thousands of investors and their families. It continues to be considered the “platinum standard” among global citizenship programs. The program operates under well-defined laws and regulations. It provides a legitimate and secure path to second citizenship.

Over the decades, St. Kitts and Nevis has fine-tuned and enhanced the program by adjusting investment thresholds, introducing new due diligence steps and expanding marketing outreach. The program is administered by the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), which oversees application processing, background checks and approvals.

Benefits of St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship

Individuals who successfully obtain citizenship through investment in St. Kitts and Nevis enjoy the following benefits:

  • Visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to over 150 destinations worldwide, including key business and lifestyle countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas. This provides easy travel access to the EU Schengen Area, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Russia and many more.
  • The ability to legally reside, work and study in St. Kitts and Nevis, with the option to relocate and live in the country if desired. Citizens can also move freely within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
  • Attractive tax benefits, including no income, wealth, inheritance, gift or capital gains taxes in St. Kitts and Nevis.
  • Dual citizenship is permitted with no requirement to renounce existing citizenship.
  • Citizenship can include dependents such as spouses, children and parents to provide full family security. Citizenship is granted for life and is passed on to future generations.
  • No residency requirements before, during or after the application process. All investment and application can be done remotely.
  • High quality of life, beautiful natural landscapes and welcoming communities in a peaceful Caribbean nation.
  • Robust legal framework and rigorous due diligence make it a legitimate second citizenship option.
  • Lifelong citizenship provides a potential “Plan B” and greater stability in the event of political turmoil, economic instability or conflict in one’s home country.

In summary, the St. Kitts and Nevis program offers global mobility, family security, financial privacy and exclusive lifestyle prospects for wealthy investors from around the world.

6 Final Score

8/10Visa-Free Access

6/10Ease of obtaining

6/10Processing

4/10Cost of Citizenship

6/10Passport Reputation

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for citizenship of St. Kitts and Nevis through investment, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Have no criminal record and pass a rigorous background check.
  • Demonstrate a legitimate source of funds and financial stability.
  • Make a qualifying investment through one of the approved channels.
  • Pay all relevant fees associated with the citizenship application.
  • Provide biometric information such as fingerprints and submit to an interview, if required.

In addition, the principal applicant may include the following dependents in a citizenship application:

  • A spouse.
  • Children under the age of 18.
  • Children between the ages of 18 and 25 who are enrolled in full-time education.
  • Children over 18 who are physically or mentally disabled.
  • Parents over the age of 65 who are fully supported by the principal applicant.

All participating dependents must also pass the due diligence process established by the CIU. The primary applicant is responsible for the financial support of the dependents.

In particular, citizens of Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran and other very high risk countries may be excluded from applying due to international sanctions. The CIU will evaluate eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

Investment Opportunities

Applicants for St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment may choose from three investment routes:

1. Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF)

This option involves a one-time contribution to the government’s Sustainable Growth Fund. The non-refundable contributions start at:

  • $150,000 for a single applicant.
  • $195,000 for a family of four.

The SGF funds socio-economic initiatives such as education, tourism, infrastructure and healthcare. As of April 2022, the SGF will be closed to new applicants and will be replaced by a new fund expected to launch in mid-2022.

2. Real estate investment

Investing at least $200,000 in government-approved real estate is the second route. This can include shares in a resort development or a private home. The minimum investment amounts are:

  • $200,000 for hotel/resort shares.
  • 400,000 for a condominium unit.
  • $600,000 for a villa.

The property must be held for 7 years prior to resale. Upon acceptance of the application, payments are made into an approved escrow account until citizenship is granted.

3. Public Benefit Investment

A third option is to fund government-approved public benefit projects in infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, etc. This route requires a minimum investment of $200,000.

For all options, there are government, due diligence and application fees in addition to the base investment. The real estate route, in particular, results in lower total fees for families. This makes it a cost effective option.

Application Process

The application process for St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment can take as little as 60 days from submission to approval. Here are the main steps:

  1. Select an Authorized Agent. Only companies specifically appointed by the CIU can submit applications. The agent will advise you on the process.
  2. Select your investment option from the available routes.
  3. Fill in the application forms and submit the necessary documents such as birth certificates, passports, police certificates, medical reports, etc.
  4. The agent reviews the application and submits it to the CIU upon payment of due diligence fees.
  5. CIU evaluates the application, conducts background checks and may request an interview.
  6. If approved, the confirmation letter requests the balance of the investment funds within 60 days.
  7. Full investment is made into the escrow account, government fees are paid.
  8. Citizenship certificate is issued, followed by passport.
  9. Travel to St. Kitts and Nevis within 5 years to take the oath of allegiance.

The CIU aims to process applications within 60-90 days. Passports can then be issued within 45 days. The entire process is estimated to take 3-4 months from start to finish. Expedited processing may be available for an additional fee.

Costs and Fees

The total cost of St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment is based on the chosen investment amount plus fixed fees, as shown below for a single applicant:

1. Sustainable Growth Fund

  • SGF Contribution – $150,000
  • Government fees – $35,000
  • Due diligence fees – $7,500

Total: $192,500

2. Real Estate Investment

  • Minimum Real Estate Investment – $200,000
  • Government fees – $35,000
  • Due Diligence Fees – $7,500

Total: $242,500

Fees are higher for families because dependent children/parents also incur processing and due diligence fees. The SGF route has a lower total cost for families compared to real estate.

Recent Changes to the Program (2022 and Beyond)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Kitts and Nevis introduced several changes to the CBI program in mid-2022:

  • Beginning in April 2022, until the new fund is launched, the Sustainable Growth Fund will be temporarily closed.
  • Interviews will be mandatory for all applicants beginning in June 2022. These can be conducted online or in person.
  • From July 2022, the minimum real estate investment amounts will increase from $200,000 to $400,000 for shares in a resort and from $400,000 to $800,000 for a private home.
  • The minimum threshold for the Public Benefit Investment route increased from $150,000 to $250,000 in May 2022.
  • Dependents 16 years of age and older will now also be required to pay due diligence fees of $7,500. Previously, only dependents over the age of 18 were subject to fees.
  • The government has streamlined application forms and improved background checks and verification procedures.

These changes are intended to further strengthen the program’s due diligence and align fees with the rising costs of administration and services. The increase in the minimum investment for real estate is intended to increase contributions to the country. Overall, the CBI program continues its longstanding tradition of good governance and transparency.

Obtaining a St. Kitts and Nevis Passport

Once an applicant receives confirmation of citizenship, passports can be issued quickly in approximately 45 days. These allow for immediate visa-free travel to over 70 destinations.

The St Kitts and Nevis biometric passport is valid for 10 years and is issued to citizens over the age of 16. It can be renewed without having to reapply for citizenship.

New citizens have two options for obtaining their passport:

  1. The passport can be picked up in person at the Passport Office in St. Kitts and Nevis. This allows the mandatory oath of allegiance to be taken.
  2. Alternatively, the passport may be delivered by authorized courier to any overseas location. In this case, citizens must plan to return to St. Kitts and Nevis within 5 years to take the oath.

The St. Kitts and Nevis passport is discreet and does not indicate that citizenship was obtained through investment. With a strong passport ranking, it evokes minimal scrutiny and facilitates visa-free travel, making it a valuable second citizenship.

Conclusion

The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program is one of the world’s pioneering and most reputable routes to second citizenship. Despite recent increases in investment amounts, it remains an attractive option that combines visa-free travel, tax benefits, family security and lifestyle appeal. For high net worth individuals, the program offers convenience, asset diversification and global mobility. St. Kitts and Nevis continues to be a safe choice for investors seeking dual citizenship, with efficient processing and a stable environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program:

How do I qualify for citizenship of St. Kitts and Nevis through investment?

To qualify, the principal applicant must be over 18 years of age, have a clean criminal and health record, provide proof of funds, and make a minimum investment of either $150,000 in the Sustainable Growth Fund or $400,000 in real estate. Applicants must also pay government and due diligence fees. Dependents can be included by paying their processing fees.

How strong is a St. Kitts and Nevis passport?

The St. Kitts and Nevis passport is one of the world’s most highly regarded travel documents. It provides visa-free access to over 150 destinations, including the EU Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Singapore and others. It is a highly regarded passport that facilitates travel.

Can I live in Europe with a St. Kitts and Nevis passport?

A St Kitts and Nevis passport will allow you to visit Europe’s Schengen Area as well as the United Kingdom and Ireland for up to 90 days without a visa. However, it does not give the right to live or work permanently in Europe. For residency or employment, individual country visas would be required.

What is the cost of St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship for a family of four?

For a family of four, the total cost starts at approximately $195,000 under the Sustainable Growth Fund route. This includes a government fee of $15,000 per person and a due diligence fee of $7,500 per person over the age of 16, in addition to the minimum contribution of $195,000 for a family of four. Costs are higher if applying through the real estate investment route.

Does the St. Kitts and Nevis investment program allow dual citizenship?

Yes, St. Kitts and Nevis allows dual citizenship. Applicants are not required to renounce their current citizenship. They may retain their current citizenship and passport.

How much does it cost to buy property in St. Kitts and Nevis for citizenship?

The minimum real estate investment is currently $400,000 for shares in a resort development or $800,000 for a private home. Additional government, due diligence and application fees apply in addition to this base investment amount.

What are the benefits of investing in real estate for St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship?

Investing in real estate provides a tangible asset that can appreciate in value over time and can be sold after 5 years. It can also be used to generate rental income. The purchase price grants citizenship to the family. Compared to a simple donation, real estate has advantages as an active investment.

How fast can I get citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis?

It usually takes about 3-4 months from start to finish. Once the application is submitted and approved, which takes 60-90 days, passports can be issued within 45 days. Expedited processing in 30-60 days may be available for a higher fee.

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