Citizenship By Investment In St. Kitts and Nevis
Several countries, including St. Kitts and Nevis, have adopted programs which allow the acquisition of citizenship on the basis of an investment and/or a direct contribution to the state as a means of development of the country.
Background and Legal Considerations
The Citizenship Program of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) was established in 1984 and requires applicants to make an economic contribution to the country. In exchange, they and their families are granted full citizenship.
To qualify for citizenship, the applicant must make either an investment of at least USD 400,000 in one of the approved real-estate developments in addition to paying government fees, other fees and taxes, or alternatively making a contribution to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF, a public charity) starting from USD 250,000 (for a single applicant), which includes all government fees.
The regulations regarding citizenship-by-investment in St. Kitts and Nevis are contained in Part II, Section 3 (5) of the Citizenship Act, 1984. These provisions allow the government to operate a program under which citizenship is granted to persons who qualify under criteria set by cabinet decision.
Requirements and Procedures
To qualify for citizenship under the real estate option, the government requires applicants to make an investment in designated, officially approved real estate with a value of at least USD 400,000 plus the payment of government fees and other fees and taxes. As the application procedure under this option involves the purchase of real estate, this can lengthen the processing time depending on the chosen property. The real estate cannot be re-sold until 5 years after the purchase, but since introducing new regulations in 2012 the next buyer may also qualify for citizenship subject to diligence checking. A list of approved real-estate developments is published on the website of the Citizenship-by-Investment Unit of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Haskew Law, through its associates in St. Kitts, can provide comprehensive overview of the available properties depending on the client's individual situation and requirements.
Acquisition of citizenship under the SIDF option requires a contribution to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation. The SIDF option has been designed and implemented by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in 2006 and has since become a significant contributor to the economic and social development of the country. The contribution is in the form of a one-time payment, and there are four different categories:
A. Single applicants, who have to make a USD 250,000 non-refundable contribution, due diligence fee of USD 7,500
B. Applicants with up to three dependants (i.e. one spouse and two children below the age of 18): USD 300,000 contribution, plus due diligence fees
C. Applicant with up to five dependants (i.e. one spouse and four children): USD 350,000, plus due diligence fees
D. Applicant with up to seven dependants: USD 450,000, plus due diligence fees
E. Additional contribution for each dependant above seven: USD 50,000, due diligence fees of USD 4,000 per dependant aged 16 or older.
The documentation required for a SIDF application is the same as with the real-estate option and the application procedure is straightforward. The average processing time is currently 4 to 6 months. Haskew Law however working closely with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis not only to officially represent the Citizenship-by-Investment program internationally, but also to help improve the regulatory framework, processing time and efficiency of the program.
Fees and Costs
Haskew Law charges different fees depending on the case and the number of persons included in an application, and also depending on whether the real-estate or SIDF option is chosen. The full agreed fee (less any retainer paid initially) is paid into an escrow account in advance and is released when the application is submitted to the government.
Please enquire for further information on what fees would apply in your case.
Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis are allowed to hold dual citizenship, and the acquisition of citizenship is not reported to other countries.
When you acquire citizenship under the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship program, you and your family enjoy full citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations by descent.
As citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, you and your family are issued with passports which allow visa-free travel to more than 130 countries and territories worldwide, including all of the EU.
Of course you have the right to take up residence in St. Kitts and Nevis as well as in most of the CARICOM member countries at any time and for any length of time. You are not liable for taxation, even if you decide to reside in St. Kitts and Nevis, as there are no direct personal taxes whatsoever.
Great care has been taken to provide the best possible safeguards for persons entering any of the programs.
Haskew Law can handle applications under its Citizenship-by-Investment program. For the client's protection, a written agreement is signed between the applicant and Haskew Law prior to accepting any mandate to handle an application.
The granting of citizenship is of course at the sole discretion of the government of St. Kitts and Nevis. We cannot therefore guarantee that any applications will be approved. However, we check each applicant's individual situation prior to accepting a mandate and prepare each application carefully.
As we handle all applications ourselves and do not use any intermediaries, our clients can rely on us for utmost confidentiality and efficiency. Haskew Law is a leading firm in this field. Individuals as well as other consulting and law firms rely on us for specialist advice and assistance in this area where our expertise and experience are second to none.
St. Kitts and Nevis Real Estate Market and Values
St. Kitts and Nevis has only recently diversified from the sugar industry to high-end tourism, becoming one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious and popular destinations.
Once the current new developments under construction are completed, St. Kitts and Nevis will offer a range of properties, from exclusive 5-star cottages to lifestyle amenities on the super yacht marina.
Overall real estate prices in St. Kitts and Nevis remain low compared to other Caribbean islands, and provide substantial room for capital appreciation. Our due diligence has found that between 2009-2012, apartment values gained from between 5%-9% per annum, and select pre-construction resort investments increased betwen 7% - 12% per annum during the same time period. These figures are based on 238 transactions during this period.
The latest data indicates an acceleration in property appreciation when comparing it to recent Department of Inland Revenue statistics.
More about St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts is 23 miles long and 5 miles across at its widest, encompassing an area of 68 square miles. Nevis, the smaller island, lies to the south and is approximately 7 miles in diameter, covering a total of 36 square miles. The two islands support a population of about 45,000, of whom about 9,000 live on the island of Nevis. Like no other islands in the Caribbean except Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis embody a kind of lush tropical paradise usually associated with the South Pacific. The ambience here is a blend of sunlight, sea air and abundant vegetation. At the center of St. Kitts stands the spectacular, cloud-fringed peak of Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano covered by dense tropical forest.
Although tourism plays a smaller role than on other Caribbean islands, the twin-island Federation offers fine beaches and an outstandingly attractive mountainous landscape. The climate is tropical and close to perfect. Differences in altitude and corresponding differences in soil types make it a paradise for tropical plants. St. Kitts has a very well-designed championship golf course laid out between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, with a second golf course presently being constructed at Sandy Point some 10 miles from Basseterre, the capital. There is also a very attractive golf course on Nevis. The truly appropriate motto of the tourism authority is: Two islands - one paradise.
In St. Kitts and Nevis, tourism is the most important growth sector and also offers good investment opportunities. While tourist facilities are being expanded, opportunities exist for foreign investors to participate in this expansion.
There are very good opportunities for the labour-intensive manufacturing of goods for export to the United States and the European Community, both of which allow reductions in import duties on certain goods manufactured in St. Kitts and Nevis. The workforce is well-educated and honest. The government is very keen to promote new labour-intensive industries and substantial tax breaks are offered to new investors.
In agriculture, there is good potential for the introduction of new high-value crops which are suitable for small-scale farming in lush tropical conditions. These can include orchids, certain varieties of fruits or nuts, and other tropical plants for medicinal or perfumery purposes or for export as live plants.
The financial services industry of St. Kitts and Nevis is being developed on the foundations set by new legislation passed for the registration of companies, foundations, trusts, international insurance and trust service providers. It is expected that St. Kitts and Nevis will eventually take its place as a centre for offshore services which will contribute significantly to the local economy in the future. Our team is in the best position to assist you in all matters involving financial services in both jurisdictions.
How to proceed
Upon request and payment of a retainer fee (for applicants who are not already clients of the firm), a complete set of required forms as well as an application guide with detailed explanations regarding all forms and documents will be prepared and sent to you by courier. Your documents are always delivered by courier.
Our Services For St. Kitts and Nevis
Our team have been helping foreign nationals in acquiring citizenship through the Citizenship-by-Investment Program for nearly 20 years. The firm has unrivalled expertise and experience in relation to this program, having been mandated by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to reform the Citizenship-by-Investment program in 2006/2007 and to design the new contribution option at that time. The changes introduced by the Government in 2007, including the creation of a dedicated Citizenship-by-Investment Unit, the streamlining of processes, redesign of application forms and procedures, and the international careful promotion of the program, made the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship-by-Investment program one the most successful programs in the world until a few years ago.
We frequently assist other firms and their clients with the unique and specific details required by the acquisition of citizenship under the Citizenship-by-Investment program.
Individual clients as well as other consulting and law firms worldwide rely on us for professional advice and assistance in this delicate area where our expertise and experience are second to none.