St. Kitts and Nevis is a Caribbean island paradise that conjures up different images to different people: If you are young, wealthy and hail from the US, St. Kitts and Nevis is a playground for upmarket holidaymakers.
If you are a corporate investor from the EU or the US, St. Kitts and Nevis is as a banking and tax-shelter haven. However, if you are an ambitious but frustrated high net-worth individual from Asia or the Middle East, you will know St. Kitts and Nevis as the forefathers of Citizenship by Investment, a country that has helped improve the lives of thousands of business people over the decades. Passport Reviewer takes a look at their current CBI program.
St. Kitts and Nevis In A Nutshell
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is a two-island West Indian nation located in the Caribbean Sea. In terms of both area and population St. Kitts and Nevis is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas and Western Hemisphere. St. Kitts and Nevis were granted independence from the UK in 1983. While they have their own Governor General and Prime Minister, St. Kitts and Nevis remains a member of the British Commonwealth, and respects the reigning British monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) as its head of state.
St. Kitts and Nevis is an increasingly popular holiday and tourist destination, with close to 1 million visitors per year. The islands boast sumptuous beaches, perfect for all levels of water sports as well as rest and relaxation. The towns are authentic West Indian, and the nightlife is appropriately themed and hugely enjoyable. The rainforests are deep and dense, full of exotic birds and animals, and guaranteed to satisfy the most ardent of eco-tourists.
St. Kitts and Nevis has its own airport, and is well connected with flights from the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, resulting in a constant steam of wealthy investors coming to the islands for the purpose of purchasing property and using the island’s banks.
St. Kitts and Nevis Stats:
- Official Language: English
- Capital City: Basseterre
- Largest City: Basseterre (Pop; 13,000)
- Surface Area: 261 km2
- Religion: Christian
- Population: 55,000
- Government: Federal parliamentary, constitutional monarchy
- Legal system: Civil legal system based on Roman law
- Currency: East Caribbean dollar
- GDP per capita: $16,793
- Climate: Tropical, hot and humid all year round
St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program
The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment program was first initiated in 1984, one year after the country gained its independence, and was the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
St. Kitts and Nevis have taken steps to regularly update and augment their CBI program in order to keep it relevant and stay ahead of rival Caribbean programs offered by neighbors Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia and Grenada.
In 2016, following a highly successful promotional visit to the Middle East, St Kitts. and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris (pictured) announced these latest improvements to the CBI program:
- 24/7 Case Management System: The first of its kind anywhere in the world of CBI
- System Accessibility for Applicants: A system that can be accessed online by applicants, who can now check the progress of their citizenship at any hour of the day and any day of the week
- Citizenship Granted between 45 and 75 days: Making the St. Kitts and Nevis CBI program the fastest in the world
What Will Be Required From Applicants?
In order to be eligible to receive a St. Kitts and Nevis passport, applicants must choose one of two citizenship by investment options:
An applicant must make a nonrefundable charitable donation for the minimum amount of $250,000 to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF). The SIDF was set up by the St. Kitts and Nevis government in 2006, and its purpose is to grant financial aid to displaced sugar workers, and to raise funds for the country and stimulate its economic development.
A recoverable real estate purchase with a minimum value of $400,000. While the real estate option is a fully recoverable investment, it cannot be sold until 5 years after the date of purchase.
Benefits Of The St. Kitts and Nevis CBI Program
After more than 30 years in the citizenship by investment business, St. Kitts and Nevis have learned a thing or two about second citizenship, and that is reflected in the amount of benefits there are with their CBI program:
- St. Kitts and Nevis passport holders now have visa-free access to 132 countries worldwide, including Europe, the UK, Canada and Ireland
- St. Kitts and Nevis passport holders have the right to unlimited residency in all CARICOM (Caribbean Community) member states
- St. Kitts and Nevis citizens are also members of the British Commonwealth
- There is no residence requirements for applicants
- St. Kitts and Nevis passport holders are not charged income or wealth tax
- St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship also extends to family members (spouse and children) and is passed down to future generations
- No restrictions on Dual citizenship
- Choice of Real Estate investment
Pros and Cons of Living in St. Kitts and Nevis
With its beautiful, unspoiled golden beaches, its clear turquoise seas, dense tropical rainforests full of exotic wildlife, and pleasant towns full of warm, friendly people, there are few places on the planet that are more pleasurable to spend time in than St. Kitts and Nevis. There are five star hotels and top class restaurants, and If you can afford it, the property is well constructed and luxurious.
In addition, from a business and investment perspective, the banks on the islands are as well run and discreet as any found in St. Kitts and Nevis’ infamous Caribbean neighbors the Cayman Islands.
There is no getting away from the fact that St. Kitts and Nevis are a pair of small islands, so in time there is bound to be an element of claustrophobia for most people. In general, everything is expensive including food, drink and property, which is fine if money is no object, but not so great if it isn’t.
Passport Reviewer Ranking: A
If anyone thought that after 30 years in the CBI industry St. Kitts and Nevis would be out of touch or falling behind the times, think again. The updated St. Kitts and Nevis CBI program is undoubtedly the best value and fastest in the Caribbean, and stakes a strong claim to being the best investor program on the global market – period.