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Saint Lucia’s economic citizenship: Program cost, benefits, application process

19 November 2018

Caribbean Basin countries have long been vying for the attention of prosperous foreigners interested in a second passport acquisition. Many nations of the region (Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, among others) are constantly adjusting their citizenship by investment programs to suit the potential investors’ needs. This virtually allows these nations to sustain themselves, overcome economic and financial hardships, and progress further. Not to say that applying for economic citizenship is quite easy – though the process is rather straightforward, – but the results are 100% worth it.

St Lucia vs the Caribbean

Saint Lucia, like her Caribbean siblings, is playing for high stakes – attracting foreign investment into the economy. In 2016, its CBI program was modified to appear even more convenient and beneficial for the applicants: it now allows to include in the application a spouse, financially dependent children up to 25 years of age, and financially dependent parents who are 65 years of age and over. This step by the St-Lucian authorities did not come out of the blue. The competition is harsh between the Caribbean programs, and it is only natural that every nation will continue going out of its way to please the investors.
The CBI program was launched for St Lucia in 2015. Understanding that the price range is the main reason behind investors’ decisions and wanting to instantly prove their competitiveness, the local authorities have announced the price of USD100,000 as a starting point for investors – lower than, say, in Grenada (an investment of minimum USD200,000 is required), or Saint Kitts and Nevis (temporarily available option of $150,000 donation to the Hurricane Relief Fund; usually, the program starts at $250,000), whose CBI programs have existed for a longer time. Antigua and Barbuda previously demanded for a $200k investment; however, after the hurricanes Irma and Maria mercilessly ravaged Barbuda, the authorities have decided to lower the bar to $100k.

Weighing the pros of becoming a citizen of Saint Lucia

The investors are often looking for ways to enhance their personal safety and that of their business, and to add more countries on their visa-free entrance list – all of this without losing their principal passport. St Lucia is the perfect choice, as it recognizes dual citizenship, does not disseminate any information on investors to third parties and does not impose any residence requirements. It facilitates visa-free travel (or guarantees visa on arrival) to over 121 countries, among them strategically important EU countries, the UK, Hong Kong. Long-term visas to Canada and the US are also easily obtainable for St Lucia passport holders.
The whole process of getting the second St Lucian passport, from filing the application to passport issuance, takes no longer than 3 or 4 months.
More bonus features are available for prospective St Lucian citizens. It is beneficial to open accounts in the local banks, there are healthy conditions for storage of funds. And, despite the fact that more and more countries are opening their borders and strike mutual agreements on information exchange, the authorities of St Lucia remain conservative in this regard, refusing to disclose any data on their residents or transactions, thus granting full anonymity and confidentiality to foreign investors.

What do I do to get my second passport of Saint Lucia?

There are four government-approved investment options to choose from. Below, you will find the cost of each alternative, complete with additional law-prescribed fees.
1) One-time, non-refundable donation to the National Economic Fund of Saint Lucia: $100,000 for a single applicant; $165,000 for an applicant with a spouse; $190,000 for a family of 4; $25,000 for each additional dependent. The NEF was established so that the country, upon receiving investments, could fund various government-sponsored projects.
2) Purchase of non-interest-bearing government bonds that must be retained for 5 years: US$500,000 for a single applicant; US$535,000 for the applicant and a spouse; US$550,000 for a family up to 4; US$25,000 for each additional dependent. In this case, a non-refundable administration fee applies of $50,000 per bond application.
3) Purchase of government-approved real estate projects: minimum investment of $300,000 for the main applicant. In this case, the following administration fees apply: $50,000 for the principal applicant; $35,000 for each dependent aged 18 and over; $25,000 for each dependent under 18 years of age.
There is a wide selection of approved realty. Mainly, there are two most notable categories of real estate to invest in: top-end branded resorts and hotels, and deluxe boutique property. The list of villas, cottages and apartments is being constantly expanded. By 2021, a new Black Bay Master Development will be completed in Saint Lucia, with the Ritz Carlton hotel, SPA facilities, restaurants, villas on its premises. These grand real estate projects have been designed specifically to cater to the tastes of the wealthy and business elite.
4) Investing in government-approved enterprise projects: the minimum investment amount for a sole applicant is $3,500,000; in case of a joint application, $6,000,000 investment, with each applicant contributing at least $1,000,000. Same administration fee rates apply as in real estate investment option.
The government is encouraging to invest into the following 7 categories of pre-approved business projects: restaurants, cruise ports & marinas, agro-processing plants, pharmaceuticals, construction of ports, bridges, roads and highways, research facilities, off-shore universities.
Finally, the following non-refundable application fees are imposed regardless of the choice: processing fee – $2,000 for the principal applicant; $1,000 for each dependent; due diligence fee entails a fee of US$7,500 for a single applicant, US$5,000 for each additional dependent over the age of 16.

What if I am interested in entrepreneurship in St Lucia?

It is not obligatory to submit to the local authorities any information on company owners or management. At the same time, the companies registered on the island can safely and calmly operate within the international legal framework. Add to this low tax rates and exemptions. St Lucia does not impose worldwide income, capital gains, or inheritance taxes.
Among the most promising investment areas are offshore business, tourism and hospitality sector, construction (housing, roads, infrastructure), medical sphere, and agriculture. Renewable energy is one trending investment sphere, too. It seems that St Lucia looks increasingly appealing to world energy companies that are building solar power plants en masse.
Recently, the St Lucia Electricity Services Limited has signed a contract with the Spain-based solar energy company GRUPOTEC to start the construction of a 3-megawatt solar farm. Judging by the determination of the local government to get rid of diesel-power generators and traditional energy sources on the whole, one may safely assume it is time to start investing in alternative, renewable energy projects.

Additional vital details of applying for St Lucian citizenship via investment

The applicant must be of excellent health and have a clean criminal record. A bank reference letter should also be provided. As is the case with other CBI programs all around the globe, not only is the applicant expected to submit proof of income and financial stability, but also to undergo the process of due diligence.
Note that the participants of the St-Lucian CBI program may lodge their applications with the CBI Unit only through registered authorised persons who will act on their behalf and handle the paperwork.
We have now covered all major peculiarities of the application procedure. Once the authorities are satisfied that all the demands are met, a passport is issued within 3 or 4 months. The passport is valid for 5 years and is then renewed for the same period. There are no residency requirements during the paperwork, nor it is necessary to come to the Caribbean (unless you are planning a holiday trip).
Still, since the terms and conditions of the CBI program of St Lucia are different from those of other Caribbean programs, the applicants should consider getting professional assistance. Experts will consult you on the total cost, more obscure details, and provide legal support at every stage of second citizenship acquisition.

We can help you weigh your options and choose what’s right

We urge our clients to compare conditions of the various CBI programs. This helps them make up their minds and opt for what suits them best. Speaking of Caribbean nations, we can name at least three reasons to strongly consider one of the countries in the region as your second home:

Have more questions? Want to know the total cost of obtaining the Antiguan citizenship through investment for the whole family? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and get a free consultation.

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