Saint Kitts and Nevis Changes its Citizenship by Investment Program

Saint Kitts and Nevis Changes its Citizenship by Investment Program

Anastasiia Zapevalova
28 December 2022

Caribbean citizenship programs are very popular with wealthy investors for several reasons. First, the cost of obtaining Caribbean citizenship is lower than any European citizenship or residency, and the process takes much less time. Second, no physical stay is required – you don’t need to live in the country. Also, Caribbean countries allow you to have dual citizenship without requiring you to renounce your current citizenship.

Saint Kitts & Nevis is already among the leaders of Caribbean citizenship by investment programs, and the reduced cost of the passport makes it even more attractive.

Michael Matin, the Unit Head of the country’s Citizenship by Investment program, says, "Today, our progressive government brings these much-awaited and significant changes to our much-loved Citizenship by Investment Program. Today also marks a new era for the investment immigration industry as we boldly declare a clear strategy to drive our Citizenship by Investment Program to benefit our people and investors who want to see our nation flourish."

But what are these changes exactly?

The route to the new citizenship becomes cheaper and faster

The quickest and easiest route to citizenship of Saint Kitts and Nevis is through its Sustainable Growth Fund, which is about to become even cheaper and faster with the announced limited-time offer. From January 1st to June 30th, 2023, the main applicant can make a minimum investment of $125,000 to the Fund and receive approval within 60 days of the application submission. This is $25,000 less than the minimum investment required before. It will already include the previously considered fast-track approval option of 60 days that came with an additional cost of $25,000, as the usual process took 3-4 months. In other words, the applicant will pay less and receive citizenship faster.

Minimum investment from January 1 through June 30, 2023:

  • Single applicant – $ 125,000
  • Main applicant and a spouse – $150,000
  • Main applicant, spouse, and two dependants – $170,000
  • Each additional dependant under 18 – $10,000
  • Each additional dependant over 18 – $25,000

*An additional applicant over the age of 18 who is not the spouse of the primary applicant must be financially dependent on the primary applicant. For example, this may include student children or elderly parents.

The prices will rise again from July 1st, 2023, and the application approval will take up to 90 days. Also, the option to get faster approval for an additional cost of $25,000 will remain.

The costs from July 2023 will be as follows:

  • Main applicant – $150,000
  • Main applicant and a spouse – $175,000
  • Main applicant, spouse, and two dependants – $195,000
  • Each additional dependant under 18 – $10,000
  • Each additional dependant over 18 – $25,000

Investment real estate projects will have to be approved anew

Suppose you consider investing not in the Sustainable Growth Fund but in real estate. In that case, you need to know that the Citizenship by Investment Program will now involve implementing an improved multi-faceted approved real estate application process, removing loopholes, and strict enforcement.

The government will approve real estate projects for development, and of these, a designated number of real estate units will be available to be sold to qualifying investors. Real estate projects will have to be constructed according to a pre-defined schedule, and an escrow drawdown process will also have to be implemented.

The most important part of this change for the real estate project stakeholders is that only approved real estate development projects will be eligible for the Citizenship by Investment program. The current "Approved Projects" register will lose this designation after the new rules come into force. It means developers of these projects will need to apply again to be on the list of approved projects, and some investors will have to change their applications and qualifying investment selection (if not already approved).

The minimum investment for an approved real estate project will remain at $200,000. However, new penalties will be in place for the circumvention of minimum investment:

  • Fines of up to $200,000 on summary conviction
  • The revocation or suspension of an approved development status
  • The removal of an authorized agent license
  • Being black-listed on the Citizenship by Investment website as a person or entity not authorized to submit an application

If you don’t want to invest in a development project

There is an option to apply for citizenship by purchasing a private house for a minimum investment of $400,000 for the main applicant. The applicant must buy the building as a single unit in this case. After purchasing the home, the proprietor cannot later convert it into apartments or condominiums. Using shares is also not an option.

Also, the property purchased through the Citizenship by Investment Program cannot be sold for five years after the state grants citizenship. Using the same purchased property to apply for another Citizenship by Investment is prohibited.

Application and background check processes should become easier

The Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Terrance Drew, recently said that the government decided to structure the Citizenship by Investment Program to allow for greater transparency and accountability. So to achieve this aim, the Board of Governors and the Technical Committee were created. The Board of Governors, among its other functions, will be responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures to make the application process as easy and fast as possible. The Technical Committee will ensure that all background checks are comprehensive and thoroughly review all applications for citizenship by investment.

What to do now if you are interested in obtaining new citizenship by investment

Summing up all the announced changes, it is safe to say that the first half of 2023 will be the best time to apply for St. Kitts & Nevis citizenship via the Sustainable Growth Fund. Although this contribution is non-refundable, it is still the easiest and cheapest way to become a citizen. If you have thought about obtaining a St. Kitts & Nevis citizenship through the Fund investment, do not put off the decision further and proceed to have dual citizenship in the upcoming year.

If you are more interested in investing in real estate or have already invested in a development project, make sure that your project is still on the approved list and request the help of professionals to submit a new application for approval.

Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship status has no expiration date. The state issues the passport for 10 years with a subsequent 10-year automatic renewal.

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