How to Obtain a St. Kitts Passport Through Investment
St. Kitts and Nevis is a small twin island nation that is located in the Caribbean Sea. On account of the country’s beautiful beaches, numerous golf resorts, clear skies, gorgeous coastline, and welcoming population have combined to make St. Kitts and Nevis one of the most popular places to visit every year. The country enjoys a warm climate all year and offers luxury villas, festivals, upscale shopping, and fairs that showcase local handmade goods, colonial art, cuisine, and culture.
Given everything that St. Kitts and Nevis has to offer, in addition to the millions of tourists who flock to the country, the nation is also attracting hundreds of thousands of foreign investors who want to take advantage of the country’s business-friendly policies and tax breaks and benefits. Foreign investors should be most interested in the St. Kitts and Nevis’s Citizenship by Investment program that gives a foreign investor a St. Kitts and Nevis passport in exchange for a substantial investment into the country.
St. Kitts and Nevis is so business-friendly and so interested in encouraging more foreign investment that the country has established multiple investment-based visa and citizenship programs. This pamphlet discusses the requirements and procedures for one of the options, specifically the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (the other options are discussed in detail in other pamphlets).
St. Kitts and Nevis’s Sugar Industry Diversification Fund
St. Kitts and Nevis’s citizenship by investment program was implemented in 1984 and has been very successful in injecting millions of dollars into the country while simultaneously granting citizenship to hundreds of foreign investors. As part of the program, the country created the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) to help the government in its transition away from sugar as its main industry to a more diversified and multi-faceted economy. To do so, the SIDF helps the nation’s immigration authorities research and finance the development and growth of other industries such as energy and residential real estate.
Due to its role in jumpstarting the St. Kitts and Nevis economy, the SIDF qualifies as an approved project for the purpose of the citizenship by investment program. As an approved project, if a foreign national can invest a minimum of $250,000USD into the SIDF, the national can then apply for the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship. (If the investor is bringing up to three dependents, the minimum amount increases to $300,000USD; if the investor is brining up the five dependents, the amount increases to $350,000USD; if the investor is bringing up to seven dependents, the amount increases to $450,000USD with an additional $50,000USD required per additional dependent above seven).
The SIDF Application
Because St. Kitts and Nevis’s citizenship by immigration program has a very low minimum investment amount, the country guards its borders against unwanted individuals by requiring a very extensive background and due diligence check as the main part of the SIDF application. However, even with the background and due diligence checks, the St. Kitts and Nevis law requires applications to be approved, denied, or further processed within ninety days, which is one of the shortest processing times for similar programs around the world.
After the immigration authorities review the applicant’s investment documents and confirm the needed investment has been made, the authorities run the applicant’s name against several of the international criminal databases such as the FBI, CIA, and Interpol.
Along with delving deeply into an applicant’s criminal background, St. Kitts and Nevis also investigates the person’s past immigration history. The country maintains several visa-free travel treaties with other nations and if the applicant has ever been denied a visa or entry to one of those nations (and has not subsequently been lawfully admitted into that nation), the applicant may not be approved for citizenship under the SIDF program.
Once the background and due diligence checks are completed, the SIDF may decide to interview the applicant in order to find out more information about the applicant or the investment. In the event of an interview, the review panel will consist of a representative from the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry responsible for Immigration, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Director of the Financial Services Department, and the Legal Advisor to the official Citizenship by Investment Unit.
Upon approval, the investor and family will be issued the St. Kitts and Nevis passports (and in the unfortunate event of a denial of the application, the investment shall be returned to the foreign national within ten days of the denial notification).
It is important to note that while the SIDF falls under St. Kitts and Nevis’s citizenship by investment program, the contributed money is legally a donation and will not generate direct returns for the foreign investor. Investors seeking to grow their portfolio are encouraged to look into the country’s real estate investment option which also qualifies for them citizenship and has the possibility of a satisfying rate of return.
Why Should Investors Choose St. Kitts and Nevis?
Obtaining St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship is advantageous to investors for several reasons. First, St. Kitts and Nevis passport holders are eligible to travel visa-free to more than 120 countries including Aruba, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Spain, Switzerland, Singapore, and Turks and Caicos. Second, St, Kitts and Nevis citizens do not pay income taxes on their income earned, gifts, wealth, capital gains, and inheritances. Third, the country does not require its new citizens to renounce their former nationality so foreign investors can enjoy the benefits of dual citizenship without issue from the St. Kitts and Nevis government.
Given these significant financial and personal benefits, it comes as no surprise that every year foreign investors from USA, Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates especially Dubai, Russia, Jordan, Yemen, Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, Egypt, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Ethiopia, Ukraine, France, Kuwait, Vietnam, India, Nigeria, and Lebanon choose St. Kitts and Nevis as their foreign investment destination of choice.